The regulation governing the care in nursing home facilities are complex and vary from state to state. The Federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 established minimum standards of care that a nursing home must meet. These include protections for patient's rights privacy and choice. If you believe that your loved one has been the victim of improper care, you should consult a nursing home litigation attorney who understands the law in your state.
Nursing home malpractice can either be classified as abuse or neglect. Abuse is inflicting harm on a patient through unacceptable behavior. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal abuse or misuse of patient's financial assets constitutes abuse.
Neglect is the failure to meet the needs of a patient. Providing inadequate food, water and medical care are examples of neglect. Neglect can take many other forms, including providing inadequate interaction with staff or failure to protect a patient from being abused by other patients.
Nursing home abuse can cause significant physical, psychological and financial harm to its victims. More than half of nursing home abuse lawsuits involve wrongful death. Many patients of nursing homes are terminally ill, suffer from dementia or don't fully understand their rights and are thus unable to represent themselves in legal cases. In some extreme cases victims have not reported abuse because they feared reprisal from the nursing home staff. Children or spouses of the victims are the most common plaintiffs in nursing home abuse cases.
There are many clues that indicate to look for if you fear that your loved one is the victim of nursing home malpractice. Physical signs of deteriorating health can be an indicator of inappropriate care. These include rapid weight loss, dehydration, bed sores and bruises or swelling. Changes in personality such as fearfulness or increased stress levels can also indicate abuse or neglect.
If you suspect that your loved one has suffered from abuse or neglect, you should first contact the facility's administrator. They are legally required to investigate any complaint of abuse or negligence. You should also report your complaint to the relevant regulatory authority in your jurisdiction.
Reporting the poor treatment may not be enough to ensure that your loved ones receive the care that they deserve. A nursing home litigation attorney will be able to navigate the confusing regulations which govern proper nursing home care. With legal help compensation can be awarded for a victim's suffering. More importantly nursing home litigation ensures that other people do not suffer the same abuse or neglect.
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