Injuries that occur in a nursing home require immediate intervention from an Elder law attorney who knows how to protect your rights, or the rights of your loved one, and negotiate the best possible result according to the facts and applicable law. Don't delay. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation with a nursing home abuse attorney.
Thank you for contacting Dollar, Burns & Becker, L.C. Your message has been sent.
Call us now
or use the form below.
Frequently Asked Questions about Nursing Home Injuries
Q: If a resident of a nursing home has no contract with the home, can he or she still sue the home for improper care?
A: Yes, nursing home residents (or their survivors) who are harmed due to improper care by a nursing home may recover damages under several different legal theories, even in the absence of a contract. A resident might have a cause of action that arises out of negligent personal supervision and care, negligent hiring and retention of employees, negligent maintenance of the premises, or negligent selection or maintenance of equipment. In addition, a nursing home resident who has been abused can pursue damages for assault and battery.
Q: What rights do residents of nursing homes have?
A: The Medicare program requires nursing homes receiving funding to be free from verbal, sexual, physical and mental abuse, and any physical or chemical restraint that is imposed for purposes of discipline or convenience, rather than to treat a medical condition. Restraints may be used upon the written order of a physician who specifies the duration and circumstances under which the restraints are to be used, but only to insure the safety of the resident or other residents. If a nursing home is not regulated by federal statute, its residents will still have rights under state laws, which vary from state to state.
Nursing Home Injuries - An Overview
Individuals reside at nursing homes or long-term care facilities to ensure that they are well cared for. Patients may be any age, however, most are elderly persons who need assistance with basic care. Nursing homes provide basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothing and medical care. Along with basic necessities, we expect residents to be treated with dignity and respect. Dignity and respect include the right to privacy, communication with loved ones, visitors, control over medical records/decisions and a good quality of life. However, sometimes nursing home residents do not have a good quality of life and are mistreated while in the care of a long-term facility. Mistreatment may be in the form of abuse, neglect or exploitation by a staff member or other individual in the care facility. If your loved one is a patient who has been harmed in a nursing home, contact an experienced and compassionate nursing home attorney at Dollar, Burns & Becker, L.C. in Kansas City, MO to learn about your legal options.
Over the past decades, the public has been made aware of this growing problem within our society. This has lead to the federal and state legislatures enacting laws to protect nursing home residents. Statutes protect against mental and physical abuse, neglect and exploitation. There are legal options for a victim of nursing home abuse, or loved one of an abused resident. Legal options include civil actions, breach of contract claims and criminal liability for those guilty of abuse. The types of proceedings have different objectives. A civil action is a claim for monetary damages and breach of contract may also include redress damages. Alternatively, criminal prosecution does not compensate the victim of abuse, but punishes the person or persons guilty of committing the harmful conduct. If a care facility is found liable of abuse or knowledge of abuse, there may be sanctions available as well. Sanctions may include stripping the care facility of its license to operate, loss of federal and state Medicaid revenues, preventing a health care provider from participating in the Medicaid program and fines for violations of state and federal protection regulations.
Negligence in the Nursing Home Setting
A nursing home is generally a facility that provides shelter, food and care for the sick, elderly or infirm. Different terms are used in case law to describe a nursing home facility, such as: rest home, hold age home, convalescent home, special care facility, assisted living facility or retirement facility. Nursing homes are often thought of as facilities for the elderly, generally, an elder is someone 65 years of age or older. While it is true that a majority of residents in nursing homes are elderly, residents may be a person of any age who is dependent either mentally or physically for care. Although these care facilities provide health care by trained professionals, they are not hospitals and may have different requirements according to state and federal law. A common state or federal requirement is that nursing homes must provide a general standard of care based on what similar caregivers and facilities provide in the community. Facilities that do not meet this general standard of care may be liable for violation of state and federal negligence laws. If you or a loved one has been harmed while a nursing home resident, contact an attorney for advice about protecting your legal rights and seeking recompense for injury.
What Your Rights Are as a Resident of a Nursing Home
The federal 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law guarantees rights to residents of nursing homes. If nursing facilities wish to benefit from federal funding, such as Medicaid or Medicare, they must abide by the statutory requirements for resident rights in their facility. Rights focus on quality of life, dignity, respect and the ability to make their own choices. Both state and federal laws contain a Resident's Bill of Rights. Those include the rights of all United States citizens and/or resident aliens and focus on patient dignity and quality of life. If you or a loved one's rights have been violated by a nursing home, contact an experienced elder law attorney to discuss your legal options.
Special Considerations in Proving Damages in Nursing Home Abuse
If a resident has been injured in the care of a nursing home facility or at the hands of a nursing home employee, action must be taken. There are special legal considerations involved when proving injuries of a loved one. Some damages may be mental suffering, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment in life, shortened life expectancy or malicious and reckless conduct by the nursing home staff. The injured individual may bring a claim for injuries suffered or if they are unable to bring a claim, a loved one may bring a claim for damages on their behalf. If you are a nursing home resident who has been harmed in the nursing home setting or if you care about such an individual, you should contact an experienced elder law attorney about the legal rights of nursing home patients.
Statutory Protection of Nursing Home Residents
The abuse of nursing home residents has come to the attention of the public in the past few decades. The frequency of abuse was shocking not only to the public, but to lawmakers as well. Some of the abuse brought to light included: physical abuse, deprivation of food, water or medical care and residents being taken advantage of financially. When the widespread nature of this abuse and neglect became known, state and federal legislatures enacted laws to protect elderly persons and other nursing home residents.
Nursing Home Injuries Resource Links
Administration on Aging
Contains information on the Older American's Act, State Ombudsman Programs and an expansive directory of websites on aging.
The Alzheimer's Association's official website.
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people 50 and over.
Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly
Non-profit organization, based in Philadelphia, dedicated to improving the quality of life for vulnerable older people.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMC)
The federal agency that administers Medicare and Medicaid.