A nursing home is a facility that provides organized, structured nursing care and services to its residents. Nursing homes located in Texas cannot operate without a license.  Agencies must apply for and be granted licensure with the Texas Health and Human Services Department in order than they can be monitored with regard to compliance regarding levels of care, safety, and maintenance of the nursing facilities where residents will live.  Regulation insures Texans are receiving a proper level of care after being admitted to a nursing home.

Resident abuse and neglect must be reported and that data impacts nursing home ratings information in Houston, Texas, as a valuable tool for loved ones when they screen facilities for placement in a skilled care facility.

Abuse that may be more evident.

Nursing home abuse can be verbal, emotional, sexual, financial, physical and unintentional, or intentional negligence.  The two that may be most readily noticed include:

  • Bodily Injury – Physical abuse may reveal itself through: 1) unexplained bruises or injuries, or recurrence of injury, or abrasions; 2) signs of restraint on wrists and ankles, cuts, or abrasions, using restraints for long periods of time can cause patients to suffer from lower muscle tone, reduced bone mass, and muscle disorders; 3) malnutrition, dehydration and sudden or severe weight loss; and 4) when staff will not leave family alone with resident for fear they may tell of abuse. Bodily injury is sometimes tied to sexual abuse and around 70% of elder sexual abuse cases occur within nursing homes.
  • 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. Resident’s cleanliness, availability of food, clothing and surrounding sanitary environment that diminish human dignity are signs to look for and overlap with physical abuse of malnutrition and dehydration.

Negligence and abuse liability.

 The 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 1) negligent hiring, 2) understaffing, 3) breach of regulatory obligations to guidelines, 4) insufficient employee training, or 5) errors in treatment or medication dispensing.  Liability is the state of being responsible for something, especially by law, vicariously liability is a legal doctrine assigning liability for the injury to a person even if they did not cause the injury directly but had a legal relationship with the negligent person who caused the injury. A nursing home attorney can provide guidance to victims and families.

 Report abuse.

Call 1-800-458-9858 if you suspect any form of abuse, or neglect in a nursing home or contact www.txabusehotline.org.  Seek out legal counsel if you believe a loved one has been harmed by abuse or neglect to discuss the possibilities of legal action toward damages to remedy any physical harm, or pain and suffering caused at the nursing home.

Sources:

https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.TacPage?sl=R&app=9&p_dir=&p_rloc=&p_tloc=&p_ploc=&pg=1&p_tac=&ti=40&pt=1&ch=19&rl=2322

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/CP/htm/CP.81.htm

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