Nursing Home Abuse, What You Can Do to Protect Your Elderly Loved One

Nursing home abuse is a widespread and alarming problem all across the country. The elderly are among the most vulnerable members of society and often require more care than any family can afford to give on its own. While a family that is made aware of nursing home abuse should hire a personal injury attorney as soon as possible so that evidence can be preserved, it is important to advocate on behalf of your loved one from day-one to avoid nursing home abuse.

New Rules for Nursing Homes

In the last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) released its first comprehensive revision of the federal standards for nursing homes since 1991. These rules address nursing home abuse, as well as proper training, and person-centered care focused on a well implemented care plan.

Having a Plan of Care Right Away

Under the new regulations, nursing homes must develop and implement a plan of care within forty-eight hours of admission. The planning process must involve input from the resident and must include the certified nursing assistant responsible for the resident, as well as a member of the nutrition staff.

Protections Against Nursing Home Abuse

The new rules place much-needed attention on nursing home abuse. First, potential employees, even those that are licensed, cannot be hired if they have a disciplinary action on the record with CMS; second, it is now a requirement that any suspicion of a crime must be reported to law enforcement. When a resident alleges nursing home abuse, or any other grievance, the new rules require that the nursing home have a policy in place for the grievance to be heard and require a written decision that includes the steps taken to investigate and a summary of the findings. This is very important, as reports of nursing home abuse are often not investigated, and attributed to the resident’s mental infirmity.

Staff Must be Properly Trained

The new rules require all staff, including volunteers, to be trained in nursing home abuse, communication, resident rights, neglect and exploitation prevention. Staff must also be trained in managing dementia.

Be an Advocate to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse

Like any rules, the CMS regulations for nursing homes are only as good as the facilities that follow them. That is why it is important that you know these rules and stay on top of the facilities responsible for your family member’s care. It is equally important that you continually communicate with your loved ones about the care they are receiving. If you discover they have been subject to nursing home abuse, contact a personal injury attorney right away to ensure the facility is held accountable.

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