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The Law Office of Reuven Epstein

The Five Types of Nursing Home Abuse in the Bronx

  • Published: October 5, 2019

The Five Types of Nursing Home Abuse in the BronxUnfortunately, our elderly population and those with disabilities that require long-term care often find themselves the victims of scams, fraud, neglect, and abuse here in the United States. According to the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys, one in ten senior citizens over the age of 60 have experienced some type of elder abuse.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home facility in the Bronx  and are concerned about their safety and wellbeing, it is a good idea to learn about the kinds of abuse and neglect that may occur in that kind of setting and what signs to look for if you suspect that the resident is a victim of abuse or neglect. Your knowledge and activism could make all the difference in a life-threatening situation.

There are five basic types of nursing home abuse and neglect:

  • physical abuse and violence
  • verbal and emotional abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • personal property/monetary abuse (exploitation)
  • neglect (physical and medical, including failure to provide for basic needs like hydration)

The more vulnerable a resident’s physical and mental health is, the higher the probability that some form of abuse may occur. Cognitive issues (like dementia and Alzheimer’s) on top of overmedication can also impact an individual’s ability to report what’s happening to them. Additionally, residents who have little or no contact with the outside world from visitors have a higher probability of being abused and neglected.

There are risk factors for abuse and neglect that have to do with the resident’s condition and the quality of the relationship between the resident and staff, other residents, family, and caregivers. Obviously, the facility itself plays a large role as well. Understaffing, hiring inexperienced staff, underpaying staff, and failing to properly supervise and manage staff can all attribute to a facility’s likeliness of fostering an unhealthy environment for residents. The Bronx was cited as having the largest number of nursing home deficiencies where residents were harmed or in immediate jeopardy of being harmed in New York City.

Aside from the severe consequences of abuse, neglect alone can lead to serious complications for the resident’s mental and physical health. In addition to bed sores, malnutrition, dehydration, and poor hygiene, victims of neglect might suffer infections, serious injuries, and even wrongful death.

Signs of abuse and neglect:

  • changes in personality, especially around nursing home staff (victims might become withdrawn, upset, noncommunicative, or easily agitated; they might also show signs of not wishing to be touched, even by loved ones)
  • rapid weight loss, gain, or symptoms of malnutrition, including dental issues, bruises, mouth sores, etc.
  • unexplained injuries
  • poor hygiene
  • frequent illness (oftentimes unreported to family members)

Systems in Place to Help Combat Elderly Abuse

Nursing home facilities are held accountable for the quality of life of their residents. Their performance is monitored by licensing and certification agencies. These agencies enforce state and federal laws governing nursing home licensing. Evaluators complete inspections and surveys periodically, investigate complaints and resident grievances, and issue citations and deficiencies if there is a violation of any regulation. Information is received from the nursing home survey report, licensing files, Medicaid fraud control, Medicare, police reports, nurses’ notes, residents’ records, medical reports, and data from the Nurse Aide Registry and Abuse Registry.

Furthermore, Adult Protective Services can review inspection reports and have access to Nursing Home Compare data online. The long-term care ombudsman program (LTC) investigates complaints made by or on behalf of abused or neglected nursing home residents and maintains a regular presence in the facility to monitor any issues or concerns.

New York’s Dedicated Elderly Abuse Attorney – Reuven Epstein

If you suspect that someone you love is a victim of nursing home abuse and neglect, call the experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at The Law Office of Reuven Epstein. Nursing home abuse attorney Reuven Epstein has decades of experience in handling nursing home abuse claims and fighting for the rights of victims.

Through his compassionate and professional legal representation, he can help you file a claim against the nursing home facility and their insurance company to secure compensation for the physical and mental implications of the abuse or neglect. He will ensure your loved one has all the needed resources to live in a healthy environment going forward.

Of equal importance, he can hold the nursing home and its staff accountable for their actions. These types of facilities should not receive funding if they violate the federal standard of care, and it often takes aggressive litigation to bring the public’s awareness to what’s happening to our most vulnerable population.

Don’t delay if you have concerns about your loved one here in Spring Valley, NY; their life may depend on us taking swift legal action. You can schedule your free consultation with our elder abuse lawyer to address your suspicions and have all of your questions answered before deciding whether or not to move forward with a case.

At The Law Office of Reuven Epstein, our compassion and professionalism are second to none when it comes to looking after victims of other people’s actions. Your loved one deserves justice.

Call us today at (845) 208-2444. You can also email us at reuven@rocklandinjurylaw.com.

What is the Nursing Home Reform Act, and How Does it Protect Elders from Abuse?

The Nursing Home Reform Act was a law that was passed in 1987, in response to the rising trend of residents in nursing homes being abused, neglected, and given inadequate care.

The main objective of the Nursing Home Reform Act is to ensure that nursing home residents get a regular level of care that facilitates their “highest practicable” physical, mental, emotional, and psychosocial wellbeing. This means that nursing home residents are entitled to a level of care that results in the best outcomes possible for them in terms of their physical, mental, emotional, and social health and wellness. These outcomes obviously must factor in the individual ages, medical diagnoses, and official prognoses of each patient, as well as their cultural and psychosocial backgrounds. However, considering all of these factors, they have a right to care that promotes their wellness rather than detracts from it.

In order to bridge the gap between the care that elder Americans have a right to and the care they often receive in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, the Nursing Home Reform Act poses several requirements. Specifically, it requires that all nursing homes that receive Medicaid and Medicare payments must be in compliance with:

  1. The Residents’ Bill of Rights
  2. The provision of certain services to all residents
  3. Survey and certification

What is the Residents’ Bill of Rights?

Put forth and codified in the Nursing Home Reform Act, the Residents’ Bill of Rights states that all residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities have the right to:

  • Freedom from abuse, mistreatment and neglect
  • Freedom from physical restraints
  • Privacy
  • Accommodation of medical, physical, psychological, and social needs
  • Participation in resident and family groups
  • Treatment with dignity
  • Exercise of self-determination
  • Free communication
  • Participation in the review of their care plan, and full information in advance about any changes in care, treatment, or change in status in the facility
  • Air and voice grievances without discrimination or reprisal

What services are residents entitled to?

The Nursing Home Reform Act establishes services residents are entitled to, as well as standards for those services. These include:

  • Periodic assessments for each resident
  • A comprehensive care plan for each resident
  • Nursing services
  • Social services
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Pharmaceutical services
  • Dietary services
  • A full-time social worker (for facilities with 120 or more beds)

How must long-term care facilities be surveyed and certified?

An addendum to the Nursing Home Reform Act put in place in 1995 established a certification process applicable in every state. It requires the state to conduct unannounced surveys of long-term care facilities, including resident interviews on quality of care, life and services, at least once every 15 months. It also requires more targeted surveys or complaint investigations in response to specific complaints.

If a survey reveals that a nursing home is out of compliance, an enforcement process contained in the Nursing Home Reform Act is triggered. The severity of the actions taken during the enforcement process depends on a few factors, including how severe the compliance lapse is, whether it puts any residents in immediate danger, and whether it is an isolated incident or part of a more widespread pattern.

If issues remain uncorrected, they may be “remedied” by the state, with any of the following:

  • Directed in-person staff re-training
  • Directed plans of correction (with enforced compliance)
  • State monitoring
  • Monetary penalties
  • Denial of payment for all Medicaid or Medicare patients
  • Temporary management takeover
  • Termination of the provider agreement

How does the Nursing Home Reform Act protect elders from abuse?

The Nursing Home Reform Act offers several measures of protection to elders in long-term care facilities. In codifying the rights of elders in these facilities, it helps provide a legal framework for what is and is not legally acceptable, and what can and cannot be pursued as a violation of an elder person’s rights. In setting up checks, balances, and potential penalties for out-of-compliance facilities, it also incentivizes facilities to maintain a high level of care, and allows the state or federal government to intervene if these violations become significant enough.

Are you or a loved one currently in residence at a long-term care facility? Do you believe your rights or the rights of your loved one, as put in place by the Nursing Home Reform Act, are being violated? Your best bet it to find a certified, experienced elder law attorney to help you evaluate your case and pursue the proper legal action. In Spring Valley, New York, that attorney is Reuven Epstein. Attorney Epstein believes strongly in elder rights, and will fight and advocate on your behalf until you receive the best possible outcome. Concerned for yourself or your loved one? Call (845) 208-2444 for a free consultation today.

Reuven Epstein, Esq.

Mr. Epstein’s motto is “compassion and knowledge”. He will
listen to you carefully and thoughtfully, and advise you
accordingly in the most compassionate way possible.

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