Alaska – February 22, 2021
Individuals who are living in a nursing facility, or assisted living home licensed by the state of Alaska have the same rights they would have as living in their own homes. In accordance with federal and state laws, Alaska Statute 47.33.300 protects the rights of people residing in Alaskan assisted living facilities and The Nursing Home Reform Act under Title IV: of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 mandates that residents of long term care and nursing home facilities have the right to receive:
- Medically-related social services,
- Proper health care and dental care,
- Accurate dispensing, receipt, and administration of medicines,
- Dietary services that meet daily nutritional needs,
- Services for mentally ill and special needs residents,
- Personal, material, and financial privacy when requested,
- Treatment that does not violate a resident’s personal dignity.
These regulations ensure that residents are receiving a proper level of care, and nursing home attorneys assist individuals and family members who suspect abuse and harm against loved ones living in long term skilled facilities. Alaska nursing home ombudsmen can act on behalf of residents when negligence, or abuse claims occur.
Common forms of abuse.
Visitors and family members should speak to elder law attorneys before placing loved ones in residential facilities. They should also familiarize themselves with common forms of abuse, or negligence reports against nursing home facilities in Alaska. Common signs of abuse may include bodily injury, neglect, emotional abuse, exploitation, and sexual abuse. If residents are victims of, or visitors suspect abuse, they should contact a nursing home abuse attorney to weigh legal options.
- Bodily Injury – Physical abuse may reveal itself through unexplained bruises, signs of restraint on wrists and ankles such as cuts and abrasions, malnutrition, dehydration, and sudden/severe weight loss; and hovering of staff for fear a resident may report abusive behavior.
- Neglect – Physical neglect is a type of abuse that may, or may not be intentional, perhaps as a result of not enough staff, or supplies at a nursing home reflected in a resident’s lack of cleanliness, nourished appearance, sanitary surroundings, and clothing.
- Emotional Abuse can present itself through resident agitation, nervousness, fear, or sadness. Acts of emotional abuse can be intentional, but they can also be unintentional when the abuser is overly stressed and unknowingly lashing out, or harming the elderly person.
- Exploitation Abuse occurs when someone improperly, or illegally uses or steals a resident’s funds, assets, or property.
- Sexual Abuse could reveal itself through sexually transmitted diseases (STDs); difficulty walking, sitting, or complaints of pelvic injury; bruises, irritation, bleeding or pain on inner thighs and genital areas; bloody, torn, or stained clothing items; agitation and withdrawal from socializing; PTSD symptoms and panic attacks; unusual sexual, or inappropriate behaviors toward abuse suspect; and attempts at suicide.
Personal injury liability.
A nursing home facility can be held liable for any personal injury, or neglect causing harm to a resident, or patient in their care. This negligence may have occurred by their part through negligent hiring, understaffing, insufficient employee training, or errors in treatment. A nursing home abuse attorney can give concerned individuals guidance on actions against abuse, or neglect.
When individuals believe a provider is allowing abuse, neglect, or exploitation of residents, it should be reported to the Alaska State Department of Family and Protective Services hotline. An ombudsman can be contacted at 907-334-4480, or 1-800-730-6393, email [email protected], or at the physical address of 3745 Community Park Loop, Suite 200, Anchorage Alaska 99508. If emergent response is needed, 911 and police should be called. Individuals should contact a nursing home lawyer to discuss options to assure resident safety.