Your loved ones are important to you. It’s why the decision to put them into a nursing home is such a heartbreaking one. You don’t want them to feel the discomfort of having to leave their home, but at the same time you struggle with the reality that you know you can’t give them the proper care and attention they require to keep them as healthy as possible.
So many families go through this dilemma, ultimately opting to locate a suitable nursing home where their elderly or vulnerable family member will be cared for. It can be a painstaking process to research and visit facilities to find one that makes you comfortable enough to entrust your loved one. It makes it that much more disturbing when you discover that nursing home neglect was occurring and your family member was harmed.
What rights do nursing home residents have in Atlanta?
Trampling on the dignity and safety of nursing home residents is not a new problem. It’s a violation of trust that families have had to fight to regain by pursuing legal protections allowing them to hold facilities and individuals responsible for harm caused. The end result has been to develop rules and regulations for the long-term care industry.
As of November 28, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services enacted § 483.10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) published in The Federal Register. This law addresses resident rights in long-term care facilities. Included is the right to:
- A dignified existence
- Self-determination, planning and implementing care
- Access to information
- Privacy and confidentiality.
Also created was the regulation guaranteeing freedom from abuse, neglect and exploitation as outlined under § 483.12 CFR. This regulation provides that facilities are required to:
- Investigate and report all allegations of abusive conduct
- Only employ individuals with no prior disciplinary action taken against their professional license by a state licensure body as a result of a finding of abuse, neglect, mistreatment of residents or misappropriation of their property
What is nursing home neglect?
Neglect can be a failure to provide a person with the care and services required to ensure they don’t come to any harm or experience pain, whether or not the action or inaction is intentional. It includes actions that result in the occurrence of abuse such as:
- Intentional infliction of injury or emotional distress
- Unreasonable confinement
- Intimidation tactics that instill anxiety, fear, or cooperation against the will of the resident
- Depriving a vulnerable adult of care or services resulting in mental or physical harm
There are many signs of abuse and neglect to be aware of, including:
- Unreasonable seclusion
- Physical or chemical restraint inconsistent with orders by an authorized physician
- Bed sores
- Worsening immobility
- Atypical confusion or disorientation
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Agitated state
- Emotional upset or withdrawn behavior
- Unexplained broken bones or bruises
- Instances of wandering off from the facility
- Rapid changes in weight or physical appearance
- Uneasy about speaking up in front of the abusive staff member
- Unexplained or unexpected death of your family member
- Unsanitary and disheveled conditions of clothing or room
- Missing personal belongings or money
When you see signs of nursing home neglect, reporting it to agencies such as a Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Adult Protective Services, and State Medicaid Unit is the first step you should take to begin protecting your loved one. These entities are advocates for the elderly and have experience with nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Your second step should be to contact a compassionate but tough nursing home neglect attorney at Harris Lowry Manton LLP. We understand the urgency you have in protecting your family member and we’re ready to pursue the answers and compensation that you deserve. To schedule your free case evaluation, we invite you to call our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847, or reach out to us through our contact page to tell us your story.