Nursing homes provide care to people who can no longer care for themselves. The individuals in these homes may need around-the-clock medical attention or assistance with their basic daily living activities.
Many nursing homes in Albany, Syracuse and throughout New York provide care that meets or exceeds the expectations of residents and their families.
However, too many other nursing homes fall well below industry standards. Residents in these homes may suffer serious harm due to neglect and, in the worst cases, due to outright abuse.
As The Washington Post reports, new federal regulations seek to improve the quality of care which nursing home residents receive as well as to empower residents and their families.
As a law firm with a long record of helping nursing home neglect and abuse victims, we hope these rules achieve the government’s goals. Of course, we also believe that taking legal action against negligent nursing homes plays an important role as well.
Highlights of the New Regulations
The new regulations apply to facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid payments. An estimated 1.4 million people live in such long-term care facilities in the United States.
The regulations are multi-faceted. They address many different areas of nursing home living. You can go here to read an excellent summary of the rules from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The highlights include:
- Prohibition on binding arbitration agreements. This is a controversial new provision. The rule prohibits nursing homes from forcing residents to sign documents in which they agree to resolve disputes through a private arbitration system rather than the courts system. As we explain in more detail below, we don’t believe that taking away nursing home residents’ civil rights is any kind of solution.
- Better training. The regulations require special training for nursing home staff members who are responsible for caring for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
- Changes to the discharge process. For residents who face a discharge, the new regulations state that the discharge cannot be executed while it is being appealed or while the resident is waiting for a payment decision from Medicaid or another health insurance provider.
- Enhanced resident comfort. This change will directly impact residents’ quality of life. It gives nursing home residents greater authority to make decisions about their food, meal times, roommates and more. For example, the new rules protect same-sex couples’ right to live together.
Other changes include updating the long-term infection prevention and control program, allowing more say from dieticians and providers of therapy and improving the system which residents use to file grievances about their care.
Holding Nursing Homes Accountable
In addition to these new regulations, another way to ensure that nursing home residents get the care they need is to make sure that negligent and abusive nursing homes are held accountable.
Many types of nursing home practices may warrant a civil action, including:
- Nursing home abuse of any type, including sexual, physical and emotional abuse or financial exploitation
- Neglect, including the failure to supervise a patient, provide a patient with psychological care and comfort or attend to a resident’s health needs
- Dangerous premises, including hazardous walking surfaces that lead to slip and falls
- Medical errors, including treatment and medication errors.
A nursing home abuse lawsuit, if successful, can lead to the recovery of compensation for a nursing home resident’s economic and non-economic damages, including medical expenses and pain and suffering.
If you take legal action against a nursing home that has harmed you or a loved one, it can also lead to many positive changes that protect others from future harm.
For example, as the result of a lawsuit, a nursing home may terminate the abusive or negligent staff member and/or revise its policies and procedures.
How an Attorney Can Help You to Pursue a Nursing Home Abuse Claim
Nursing home abuse and neglect are serious issues in New York and other states. If you or a loved one is a victim of mistreatment in a nursing home, you need to understand your legal options.
At Powers & Santola, LLP, our lawyers can provide the guidance and representation you need.
We begin by providing you with a free consultation. During the consultation, we will ask you about the facts of your case. You can also ask questions about our services and the process your case may follow.
Once we take on your case, we will open a thorough investigation into the suspected abuse or neglect. We may work with experts to analyze your case and the nature and extent of injuries that are involved.
In addition to seeking financial compensation for you and/or your loved one, we will also advocate for policy changes to protect future residents.
If your case does not resolve in a settlement, our skilled and experienced lawyers will be well-prepared to present your case in court.
We believe it is crucial to have a professional and compassionate advocate on your side when you are facing the harsh reality of nursing home abuse and neglect. Contact us today and let us go to work for you and your family.