If the nursing staff is medicating your loved one, keeping them isolated from interaction and/or leaving them in a stationary position for long periods of time, it is abusive and could be negatively affecting their cognitive ability.
Federal nursing home laws protect the residents of nursing homes to make certain they attain mental, physical and psychosocial well-being while living in a care facility, and address operational and staffing requirements to make certain residents have support they need while receiving adequate care. The Nursing Home Reform Act under Title IV: of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 created uniform guidelines for long-term care facilities receiving federal Medicaid and Medicare funding that grant all nursing home residents the rights to maintain and receive adequate nutrition, personal hygiene, mental and emotional support, and social involvement. Those who are incapable of daily living activities such as grooming and using the restroom are entitled to personalized care from nursing home staff.
Nursing home abuse.
Nursing home abuse covers acts that inflict injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or punishment with the result of physical harm or pain or mental anguish, or deprivation by an individual, including a caretaker, of goods or services that are necessary to attain or maintain physical, mental and psychosocial well-being as well as acts of negligence that cause or exacerbate existing health conditions.
Common types of abuse:
- Verbal abuse – The directed use of oral, written language or improper gestures that include critical, offensive and belittling terms to residents or their families, or where they can be heard even when a resident cannot comprehend such abuse including: 1) threats of harm or scaring them through fabricated stories.
- Sexual abuse – sexual harassment, sexual coercion or sexual assault.
- Physical abuse – to hit, slap, pinch or kick or affect control by the threat of corporal punishment.
- Mental abuse – humiliation, harassment, threatening punishment or deprivation, and gas lighting.
- 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.
- Unintentional Abuse – warning signs may include developing bed sores due to failure to change the victim’s sheets and/or regularly reposition the resident to improve circulation, exacerbation of conditions like diabetes due to changes in medication, diet and exercise, frequent falls, or poor hygiene such as bathing or brushing teeth.
Violation of resident rights could lead to punitive damages.
Nursing homes may be liable for negligence in care, negligence in hiring/firing staff, and/or negligence in training staff on policies/procedures such as reporting accidents and injuries. Residents or families can sue for monetary compensation for an injury resulting from abuse, neglect, or accidents such as a fall from a bed accident and receive punitive damages for intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
Report nursing home or elder abuse in Iowa.
Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals by calling 1-877-686-0027 or in writing to:
Health Facilities Division/Complaint Unit
Lucas State Office Building
321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0083
Call an attorney.
If you have personally experienced nursing home abuse, or are a family member of someone who has, you should contact a lawyer in Iowa who will hold the nursing home and care facilities responsible for the damages that come from abuse or neglect.