Nursing Home Negligence FAQs

Answers to frequently asked questions about nursing home abuse and neglect

If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse and neglect, our Rockland County nursing home lawyer can help. Read our answers to commonly asked questions about nursing home abuse and neglect below, and contact our firm for a free consultation.

Are residents of nursing homes/assisted living facilities entitled to legal protection?

Facilities that participate in Medicare may not be verbally, sexually, physically or mentally abused residents. Facilities that do not participate in Medicare generally must provide the same or similar protections and rights to residents under that State’s statutes. In taking certain permissible actions, such as restraints, a facility must follow procedures and protocols.
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What does “neglect” mean?

Neglect is generally considered a failure to provide a resident with that level of service or care that is essential to maintain someone’s health and well-being. Another definition is the ‘failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental, anguish or mental illness”. Some examples are failure to provide proper food, clothing, medication, medical care, lodging and supervision.
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What is the meaning of “abuse?”

Abuse occurs when policies and procedures designed to provide for the care, treatment, or well-being are not followed. Another way to state it is a “willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish”.
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What is “exploitation”?

Exploitation is the misuse of a resident’s resources. This may be any asset or property. Another type is the wrongful taking or misuse of a resident’s resources for profit or gain. Generally, the victim is not aware and certainly would not consent. Look for undue influence, duress, or false pretenses.
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Do neglect and abuse frequently occur?

Regrettably, yes. Among the more common reasons why is staff not qualified, poorly trained, not supervised, or not enough aides. Profit ahead of people, regrettably, does occur. Residents are often vulnerable, scared to speak out or unable to express themselves.
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Are there other types of nursing home/assisted living injuries?

Yes. Falls, wandering (or elopement), transportation accidents, and bed sores (or pressure ulcers) are common causes. These types of incidents occur. The facility may be responsible.
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How should I act if I suspect a problem?

Cases are fact specific. A meeting with the appropriate staff member may resolve the issue. Always create a record. Being forearmed is prudent. Video, recordings and statements are often not that difficult to obtain. Sometimes the authorities should be brought into the situation. If you suspect something – act.
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Will something “bad” happen to me if i speak out?

All states have a way to report a complaint about abuse, neglect or exploitation. The state agency may interview the resident, family members, facility staff and management. A facility may face a fine, penalty and/or changes made to prevent recurrence. When appropriate, an attorney should be introduced into the process as soon as possible.
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How does a lawsuit progress?

An attorney should conduct a thorough investigation as soon as possible. Interviewing witness(es), gathering records, having an expert(s) review are all critical. A lawsuit needs to be meticulously strategized and processed. Your attorney can and should give a detailed analysis.
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Who may be responsible?

The facility that caused the harm is responsible. The injured person, or a guardian, has the right to pursue a claim for damages. Any money recovered belongs to the injured person or their estate.
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Do visitors who are injured have rights?

Yes, even visitors have legal protections. Negligence is a failure of care. Someone who falls, for example, or is otherwise injured, has the legal right to pursue a claim for their harms and losses.
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What are the different forms of abuse that take place in a nursing home?

The different forms of nursing home abuse include:

Physical abuse:

This includes the infliction of physical harm on a nursing home resident, such as slapping, punching, kicking, and use of excessive restraint. It can also include the with holding of prescribed medications, or the administration of prohibited medications.

Emotional abuse:

This is defined as any deliberate causing of anxiety, anguish, fear or other undesirable mental states. Any spoken communication that intentionally causes an elder unreasonable emotional stress can also be considered abuse.

Financial abuse:

This happens when the assets or the property of an elder are illegally or improperly used. Financial abuse may include forging an elder’s signature, taking cash from an elder, signing the elder’s checks, coercing him/her to sign a document, stealing his/her possessions or money, etc.

Sexual abuse:

This refers to having non-consensual sex with an elder. Any sexual contact with a person who is not able to provide consent can also be termed as sexual abuse. Unwanted touching, sexual assault, coerced nudity, and so do my are all forms of sexual abuse.

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