FAQ – Nursing Home Neglect/Abuse
Are nursing homes required to keep records of the care provided?
Yes. Legislation on both the federal and state levels requires documentation of assessments, plans of care, and the care provided. Further, the documentation must be complete and accurate.
What are some common signs of nursing home abuse or neglect?
- Bedsores on the buttocks, sacrum (low back), and heels
- Bruising and lacerations
- Excessive weight loss
- Fecal/urine odors
What are some things that constitute nursing home abuse?
Nursing home residents can be subject to a variety of abuse, including, but not limited to, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and medication restraints (over sedation).
What is an assessment and care plan?
Under the Nursing Home Reform Act, each facility must make an initial assessment of a resident’s interests, strengths, and needs within 14 days of the resident’s admission to the nursing home (7 days for Medicare residents). This is the “blueprint” that outlines the care and services that a resident is supposed to receive. Assessment reviews should be held annually or when a resident’s condition changes and requires attention. A plan of care, which sets out what will be done, who will perform the tasks, and when the tasks will be completed, is established based upon this assessment. The initial plan should be completed within 7 days after the assessment is finalized.
Will the Nursing Home Reform Act apply in my state?
The Nursing Home Reform Act is a federal law and applies to all states. Most states have adopted their own laws regarding nursing home reform, which in many cases mirror the federal OBRA statute.
Do nursing home residents have rights?
Yes, the Nursing Home Reform Act discussed above also established the following rights for nursing home residents:
- The right to freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect.
- The right to freedom from physical restraints.
- The right to privacy.
- The right to accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs.
- The right to participate in resident and family groups.
- The right to be treated with dignity.
- The right to exercise self determination.
- The right to communicate freely.
- The right to participate in the review of one’s care plan and to be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or change of status in the facility.
- The right to voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal.
The extent to which the Nursing Home Reform Act succeeds in actually improving nursing homes depends upon the effectiveness of its enforcement. At Brown Chiari, our lawyers are dedicated to the enforcement of each and every right of the nursing home resident.
What is the Nursing Home Reform Act?
In general, the Nursing Home Reform Act was established to ensure that residents of nursing homes receive quality care and was part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1987. The basic objective of the Nursing Home Reform Act was to ensure that residents of nursing homes received quality care that will result in their achieving or maintaining their highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial wellbeing.
Nursing homes will receive Medicaid and Medicare payments for long-term care of residents only if they are certified by the State to be in substantial compliance with the Nursing Home Reform Act.
Under the Act, it is required that residents receive periodic assessments, a comprehensive care plan, nursing services, social services, rehabilitation services, pharmaceutical services, dietary services, and, if the facility has more than 120 beds, the services of a full-time social worker.
What should be done if nursing home abuse or neglect is suspected?
You should contact the Department of Health in your particular state. In New York State, you should call 1-888-201-4563. In addition, you should seek legal counsel from an attorney who has experience in investigating and litigating nursing home abuse and negligence cases.
What are some of the common injuries sustained from nursing home abuse or neglect?
- Weight loss
Why does nursing home neglect and abuse occur?
Most situations develop due to the facility’s inability to attract and keep quality, skilled staff, as well as inadequate training and understaffing.
What is nursing home neglect?
Nursing home neglect can take many forms, from failure to provide medical care for both physical and mental health needs, to simply protecting the resident from health and safety hazards. A resident has the right to attain or maintain the highest practical physical, mental, and psychosocial wellbeing. When this standard is not met, more often than not there is a case of negligence.