Frequently Asked Elderly Abuse Questions

nursing home faq PKSD Law Firm

Listed below are some frequently asked questions that are commonly asked by our clients:

You should immediately report your concerns to the nursing home administrator, director of nursing and social worker. You should write down what happened, when and why you feel that it is abusive or neglectful for your own personal record/file. If you think the law has been broken, you should call the police. You can also report your concerns to the Ombudsman (resident advocate) for the nursing home. Finally, you should report the neglect or abuse to the Division of Quality Assurance to investigate. It is very important to report and document the neglect or abuse. Be persistent and patient.

If a resident does not like the nursing home he or she resides at, he or she can request assistance with transferring to another nursing home. The nursing home social worker will assist with a request for transfer. Unfortunately, there has to be an open bed at another facility to be able to complete the transfer request. If a bed isn’t open at the desired nursing home, you can request to be put on the waiting list.

Yes. The federal regulations clearly state that the resident or his or her legal representative has the right upon oral or written request to access all records pertaining to the resident within 24 hours. The resident or representative may purchase copies of the records upon request and 2 working days advance notice to the facility. § 483.10(b)(2).

No. There is no benefit to signing an arbitration agreement. Arbitration is a waiver of a jury trial. It is drafted by the nursing home and advantageous to the nursing home. It is harder to hold a nursing home accountable via arbitration. Arbitration doesn’t include a jury of your peers or members of your local community. The arbitration agreement may limit the types of claims that can be brought, exclude a claim for punitive damages and waives the right to a jury trial. The nursing home cannot make admission contingent upon the signing of an arbitration agreement. Just say no to arbitration.

A claim may result in reimbursement for medical expenses, funeral expenses, out of pocket expenses, future medical expenses, pain and suffering and disability, the loss of the relationship with your loved one and will hold the nursing home accountable for its choices and poor quality care. It may not take the pain away or bring your loved one back, but it may prevent harm to another resident and improve quality and safety for all residents at the nursing home. Claims and lawsuits can bring about changes in the quality and quantity of staff, policies and procedures and the management and operation of the nursing home. It does improve the quality of care.

There is no cost to retain Pitman, Kalkhoff, Sicula & Dentice, S.C. We work for a contingent fee. The amount of the fee is contingent upon the amount of money recovered. We pay costs related to the claim/case, but are reimbursed those costs at the end of the claim/case in addition to the fee. If we dont recover any money, there is no fee owed. There is no financial risk to you to retain Pitman, Kalkhoff, Sicula & Dentice, S.C..

This is one of the first questions we often hear from clients. There is no simple answer. But, we will determine a range of value based upon our years of skill, experience and expertise in handling thousands of personal injury claims. However, that evaluation can only be made after we know the full extent of your injuries, we know the total medical bills incurred, the amount of wages lost and if a permanent injury is involved. We would be pleased to discuss these factors with you. Our skill, experience and expertise will help maximize the value of your case.

You need to find out:

  • Does the resident recall the fall
  • Was the fall witnessed
  • What happened
  • When did the fall occur
  • Did an object or equipment cause the fall
  • What fall prevention safety measures were implemented before
  • Any injury resulting from the fall
  • What fall prevention safety measures will be implemented
  • Request a copy of any incident report completed by the nursing home.

You have the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, and involuntary seclusion by anyone. This includes, but is not limited to nursing home staff, other residents, consultants, volunteers, staff from other agencies, family members or legal guardians, friends, or other individuals. If you feel you have been abused or neglected (your needs not met), report this to the nursing home, your family, your local Long-Term Care Ombudsman, or State Survey Agency (see pages 55-57). It may be appropriate to report the incident of abuse to local law enforcement or the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (their telephone number should be posted in the nursing home).

Nursing homes do not have to accept all applicants, but they must comply with Civil Rights laws that do not allow discrimination based on race, color, national origin, disability, age, or religion under certain conditions. If you believe you have been discriminated against, call the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights at 1-800-368-1019. TTY users should call 1-800-587-7697.

Physical restraints are any manual method or physical or mechanical device, material, or equipment attached to or near your body so that you cant remove the restraint easily. They prevent freedom of movement or normal access to ones own body. A chemical restraint is a drug used to limit freedom of movement and is not needed to treat your medical symptoms.

It is against the law for a nursing home to use physical or chemical restraints, unless it is necessary to treat your medical symptoms. Restraints may not be used to punish nor for the convenience of the nursing home staff. You have the right to refuse restraint use except if you are at risk of harming yourself or others.

You must be informed in writing about services and fees before you move into the nursing home. The nursing home cannot require a minimum entrance fee as a condition of resistance.

Living in a nursing home is your choice. You can choose to move to another place. However, the nursing home may have a policy that requires you to tell them before you plan to leave. If you dont, you may have to pay them an extra fee. If you are going to another nursing home, make sure that there is a bed available for you. If your health allows and your doctor agrees, you can spend time away from the nursing home visiting friends or family during the day or overnight.

Talk to the nursing home staff a few days ahead of time if you want to do this so medication and care instructions can be prepared.Caution: If your nursing home care is covered by certain health insurance, you may not be able to leave for visits without losing your coverage.

You have the right to be informed about your medical condition, medications, and to see your own doctor. You also have the right to refuse medications and treatments (but this could be harmful to your health). You have the right to take part in developing your care plan. You have the right to look at your medical records and reports when you ask.

You have the right to manage your own money or to choose someone you trust to do this for you. If you ask the nursing home to manage your personal funds, you must sign a written statement that allows the nursing home to do this for you.

However, the nursing home must allow you access to your bank accounts, cash, and other financial records. The nursing home must protect your funds from any loss by buying a bond or providing other similar protections.

You have the right to privacy, and to keep and use your personal belongings and property as long as they dont interfere with the rights, health, or safety of others. Nursing home staff should never open your mail unless you allow it.

You have the right to use a telephone and talk privately. The nursing home must protect your property from theft. This may include a safe in the facility or cabinets with locked doors in resident rooms. If you and your spouse live in the same nursing home, you are entitled to share a room (if you both agree to do so).

You cannot be sent to another nursing home, or made to leave the nursing home unless:

  • It is necessary for the welfare, health, or safety of you or others
  • Your health has declined to the point that the nursing home can not meet your care needs
  • Your health has improved to the point that nursing home care is no longer necessary
  • The nursing home has not been paid for services you received
  • The nursing home closes

Except in emergencies, nursing homes must give a 30-day written notice of their plan to discharge or transfer you. You have the right to appeal a transfer to another facility.

A nursing home cannot make you leave if you are waiting to get Medicaid The nursing home should work with other state agencies to get payment if a family member or other individual is holding your money.

The nursing home must provide you with any needed social services, including counseling, help solving problems with other residents, help in contacting legal and financial professionals, and discharge planning.

You have the right to spend private time with visitors at any reasonable hour. The nursing home must permit your family to visit you at any time, as long as you wish to see them. You dont have to see any visitor you dont wish to see.

Any person who gives you help with your health or legal services may see you at any reasonable time. This includes your doctor, representative from the health department, and your Long-Term Care Ombudsman, among others.

Family members and legal guardians may meet with the families of other residents and may participate in family councils. By law, nursing homes must develop a plan of care (care plan) for each resident.

You have the right to take part in this process, and family members can help with your care plan with your permission.

If your relative is your legal guardian, he or she has the right to look at all medical records about you and has the right to make important decisions on your behalf.

Family and friends can help make sure you get good quality care. They can visit and get to know the staff and the nursing homes rules.

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