Caregiver burnout is considered to be the primary cause of nursing home abuse and negligence. Greater risk is present in nursing homes with:
- No abuse prevention policy in place
- Inadequate staffing levels
- Inadequate staff training
- Insufficient employee background checks
- High staff turnover rate
- A history of complaints
Some theories also suggest that certain patients are at greater risk of abuse than others. Elderly patients, those with dementia or disruptive behaviors, highly dependent patients or those with significant need for assistance, and those who are more socially isolated may be at higher risk for abuse.
Elder Abuse Is Illegal
No matter what the causes are for the abuse, elder abuse is illegal. In 1987, the U.S. Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA), which includes the Nursing Home Residents' Bill of Rights. It is the foundation of elder law, the legal practice area dedicated to protecting seniors. This law was intended to protect the quality of life for residents of nursing homes and improve the quality of care provided by their caregivers. The following are some of the rights and freedoms specified in the Residents’ Bill of Rights, one of the primary features of the NHRA:
- The right to freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect
- The right to be treated with dignity
- The right to freedom from physical restraints
- The right to privacy
- The right to access personal medical records
- The right to accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs
- The right to refuse treatment
- The right to communicate freely with persons inside and outside the facility
- The right to participate in the review of one’s care plan
- The right to be fully informed in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or facility’s status
- The right to voice grievances and exercise rights without interference, coercion, discrimination or reprisal
How We Can Help
A nursing home abuse attorney can help you recognize the warning signs of abuse and neglect, and get the justice and compensation that your loved one deserves.
As a national nursing home abuse law firm, Sokolove Law has more than 40 years of experience helping people whose loved ones have suffered from nursing home abuse.