Staving off nursing home abuse in Esom Hill GA by choosing an appropriate facility that will support residents’ rights and maintain basic human dignity. 

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse - Infographic by the Nursing Home Abuse Center

Emotional decision.

As families come to hard realizations of limited home resources for aging family members, they must make decisions to have them move into a skilled nursing facility that is able to attend to long term care needs, including assistance with activities of daily living, medication and specialized procedures such as wound dressing changes, occupational therapy, memory care, and physical therapy, to address a few.  Because a family cannot monitor a loved one’s living situation 24 hours a day when they give up care in a home setting, screening a nursing home becomes a necessary emotional and time-consuming process.

Families often defer to professional agencies and government entities that can provide a broad assessment of a facility before they place a loved one, and are paramount to monitoring the delivery of the proposed scope of services provided to family members and loved ones. Families may want to seek input from friends, a family physician, or lawyer regarding any information they may have on the potential risks to residents for the short list of homes chosen in the selection process.

Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is charged with developing and enforcing safety and quality standards across the nation, and may be helpful in this necessary screening process, regarding concerns surrounding placement of a nursing home resident.  They are two big provider payors for elder care and have restrictions on payment when compliance is not met. Nursing homes that have been certified must take measures to stay in compliance with the guiding federal and state laws for residents. The joint agencies provide website information where families and individuals can compare nursing homes nationally, and within the state.

Last October, in addition to the Nursing Home Checklist, the agency’s Nursing Home Compare website added an icon that reveals nursing homes with reported violations. The new feature makes it much easier to find out about nursing home abuse citations in Esom Hill GA without waiting for negative health inspection reports. Families should be cautioned that even if a nursing home does not reveal an abuse icon, it does not necessarily mean that the facility has no problems with negative allegations of abuse.  In recent years widespread documentation reveals that health inspectors routinely miss problems and fail to cite violations.  When violations are not recorded, the lack of an abuse icon may be detrimental to a family’s successful screening process.

Nursing home compare.

The CMS Regional Office, or the State Survey Agency has no obligation to provide a residential facility the opportunity to correct its deficiencies prior to immediately imposing federal remedies. The Nursing Home Compare profile will be present when a facility has been cited for either, or both of the following deficiencies:

  1. A harm-level (scope and severity level G or higher) abuse citation on the most recent standard survey cycle, or complaint survey within the past 12 months, that could have resulted in:
  • Termination
  • Civil money penalties
  • Discretionary denial of payments of new admissions
  • Directed plan of correction
  • Directed in-service training
  • Termination of all payments
  1. An abuse citation where residents were found to be potentially harmed (scope and severity level D, or higher) on the most recent standard survey cycle, or complaint survey within the past 12 months and on the previous standard survey cycle, or complaint survey in the prior 12 months. In other words, when the same type of violation is repeated, an icon may be present to represent a lower level of care.

A violation must involve neglect, exploitation, theft, or abuse to warrant an icon.  Violations can result from negative actions of administration and staff, or by failing to prevent abuse, or exploitation by a patient’s family member, or other patients.

Forms of abuse in Esom Hill GA.

Nursing home abuse can occur during various daily living situations through methods of:

  1. Esom Hill GA Verbal abuse – The directed use of oral, written language, or improper gestures that include critical, offensive, and belittling terms to residents, or their families.
  2. Esom Hill GA Sexual abuse – sexual harassment, sexual coercion, or sexual assault.
  3. Esom Hill GA Physical abuse – affect control by the threat of corporal punishment, or hitting, pushing and painful restraint.
  4. Esom Hill GA Mental abuse – humiliation, harassment, punishment, or deprivation, and gas lighting.
  5. Esom Hill GA Involuntary seclusion – Separating a resident from other residents taking them from their personal space, or even confinement to his room (with/without roommates) against the resident’s will, or the will of the resident’s legal representative.
  6. Esom Hill GA Unintentional Abuse – warning signs may include developing bed sores, exacerbation of conditions like diabetes due to changes in medication, diet and exercise, frequent falls, or poor hygiene such as lack of bathing, or brushing teeth.

Consider personal factors.

Other personal factors to be considered in the reduction of abuse opportunities for a loved one include a family’s ability to be a regular part of the resident’s life.  Consider the: 1) distance from home to establish a regular visiting schedule; 2) costs associated with care that are within a family’s means; 3) the size of the facility with regard to abuse. A large one may have a list of services with more staff, but it could just increase exposure to more people who could be acting in a negative fashion; compared to intimate settings offering less services that may allow for abuse, due to the lack of constant oversight from administrators and other staff members; and 4) the comfort and safety of your loved one.

Narrow list.

Before settling on a residential nursing facility that covers the required needs of a family, investigate all clues that might reveal violations of a resident’s bill of rights  in accordance with The Nursing Home Reform Act under Title IV of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987.  Services should reflect:

  • Proper hygiene and presentation of residents with cheerful attitudes.
  • Nursing home interior and surrounding exterior are maintained.
  • The environment is free from filth and germs. Lighting and noise are calm and agreeable.
  • Staff provide caring, polite, and respectful interaction, and identification through name tags so residents can develop a comfort level.
  • Home-like atmosphere for resident is maintained.
  • Meals are nutritious, served fresh and offered frequently.
  • Facility is outfitted with adequate safety equipment in resident rooms (handrails, call lights, nonskid surfaces, smoke detectors, sprinklers).
  • Meaningful activities are provided to residents who wish to participate
  • Observe nursing home for abuse.

About 1.3 million Americans live in nursing homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and more than half are over the age of 75, increasing chances for dangerous circumstances, or pre-existing health conditions to cause them harm.   As more and more older adults move into nursing homes and assisted living facilities, neglect continues to be a widespread problem, partly due to the demand for residential skilled care placement and the diminished supply of trained caregivers.

Nursing home administration and staff.

It is imperative to interview, and request references and information about how a facility addresses background checks, and handles deviate behaviors, to get a sense of the people that will be taking care of a loved one, who may need the most personal services, rendering them vulnerable to the ethical and humane standards of the caregivers present at a residential facility.  A family should make certain they have access to nursing home administration and a resident’s physician, either on, or off-site as those individuals are held to certain professional standards in their role of health care providers.

Most importantly, the “hands-on caretakers” should be adequately educated and trained for the specialty practices involved in nursing home care for elders.  Nurses who are supervising aids and technicians, administering medication, working with physical therapy and occupational therapy departments are expected to perform with the designated standard levels of care for their profession.  When a certain level of care is not maintained and it leads to the harm of a resident, a nursing home abuse attorney in Esom Hill {state_abrv} can help sort out the damages.

Requirement to inform representative.

As part of residential rights under the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) of 1987 – a resident of a long-term skilled facility must have a representative notified when:

  1. a resident is involved in an accident and sustains injury,
  2. a resident’s physical, mental, or psychosocial status changes,
  3. a resident has a life threatening condition,
  4. a resident has medical complications,
  5. resident’s treatment must change significantly,
  6. the facility wants to transfer, or discharge resident from present home.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid are fluidly updating standards and laws to account for nursing home treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic by ordered reporting of cases for tracking and data purposes. As part of this specific relevant standard of care, representatives should have been notified at the outset of COVID-19-related sickness under the residential rights of the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, as they are supposed to be notified about any changes to health and illness in accordance with the list for reasonable notification to families and representatives. When deviations to standards of care cause harm to residents, it is best to contact a nursing home abuse attorney in Esom Hill {state_abrv} to guide actions.

Standard of care regulations in Esom Hill GA.

If a nursing home accepts Medicare payments, the nursing home must follow Federal Regulations which set forth the standard of care. One of these regulations is 42 CFR sec. 483.25 (h) which provides the facility ensure a resident’s environment remains as free of hazards as possible and adequate supervision is provided, along with a provision of adequate medical treatment in line with the current professional medical standard of care.  When sub-standard care results in harm to a resident, possible legal action may be taken against a nursing home and/or the treating medical professionals.  Nursing home abuse claims in Esom Hill {state_abrv} include acts of negligence that cause, or exacerbate existing health conditions, or place residents in danger and deviations from NHRA could place a resident at risk and may be considered acts of unintentional negligence.

Proving liability.

Circumstances surrounding a negative event in a resident’s care are not always clear to someone who was not directly involved.  A legal professional who specializes in nursing home laws may be able to assist in piecing pertinent information together to determine legal action for nursing home abuse cases in Esom Hill {state_abrv}.

Recent statistics compiled by the National Association of Nursing Home Attorneys (NANHA) show that about 5 million nursing home residents are abused each year, including nursing home negligence cases. It is important to remember that nursing home residents will be required to prove a breach in duty of care, such as the actions, inaction, or neglect of staff members, as well as actual harm resulting from the alleged negligence, for a lawsuit to be successful.  Professional liability insurance of a facility, and individual caregivers may offer liability protection against certain negligence claims, covering the expenses associated with legal defense of lawsuits.

National and state regulation is crucial to success of the industry and in abuse cases, penalties can result facilities losing their licensing, or ability to participate in CMS funded programs.  Nursing homes and long term care facilities must reduce, or eliminate the risks that may lead to an abuse claim and make certain that insurance policies are comprehensive enough to cover potential liability claims when residents are harmed. Adequate training and low employee turnover can reduce claims of nursing home abuse by ensuring proper medical care.

More recently dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic have increased harm to residents and put healthcare workers in situations where legal action may be initiated for wrongful death due to inaction regarding isolation practices, or delayed treatment.  These actions may be considered negligence through acts of unintentional harm, even though the negative health outcomes were not immediately foreseeable.

Call an attorney in Esom Hill GA.

If you have witnessed signs of nursing home abuse in during visitations, contact an attorney who is familiar with nursing home negligence in Esom Hill {state_abrv} so they can assist with legal actions against it.

 

Sources:

https://www.medicare.gov/sites/default/files/2019-10/NursingHomeChecklist.pdf

https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/SurveyCertificationGenInfo/Downloads/Survey-and-Cert-Letter-16-31.pdf

https://www.congress.gov/bill/100th-congress/house-bill/3545/titles

https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html

https://nanha.org/resources/facts-statistics/

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_03/sr03_43-508.pdf