NURSING HOME ABUSE - NURSING HOME MALPRACTICE - ELDER ABUSE
No matter what you call it, it is insidious yet it happens hundreds of times everyday across our country
Why choose Rispoli Law as your nursing home abuse attorney? Because every time I evaluate a potential case of nursing home abuse and neglect, I think of my grandmother. A number of years after the photo above was taken, she required long term care. Everything that happens to any of my clients can happen to her. Every action suggested below to stop nursing home abuse and neglect are actions I take myself. As your elderly abuse lawyer, I will never do anything less than my best for your case, because that would be failing her.
Arizona still has quite a bit of room for improvement in many areas, such as public education and behavioral health services. Long term care providers, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities and group homes, are no exception. One silver lining is that Arizona does have a relatively strong legal statutory scheme designed to protect the elderly (and other vulnerable adults). The state's Adult Protective Services Act (Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) Sections 46-451 through 46-459) governs most nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits, and seeks to ensure that no "person or enterprise that has been employed to provide care, that has assumed a legal duty to provide care or that has been appointed by a court to provide care" (A.R.S. 46-455) commits abuse or neglect (A.R.S. 46-451) against a vulnerable adult.
The high level of medical care required of Arizona institutions is also spelled out in the state's regulations, known as the Arizona Administrative Code (A.A.C.), specifically Title 9 (Health Services), Chapter 10--Health Care Institutions: Licensing. The A.A.C. further defines all the ways in which various facilities must provide quality of care to their patients and residents, including nursing homes (Article 4); assisted living facilities (Article 8); hospitals (Article 2); home health (Article 12); and hospices (Article 6).
For nursing homes, Arizona's regulations detail the resident's rights (A.A.C. R9-10-410); that nursing homes must provide sufficient staffing (A.A.C. R9-10-412(B)); that comprehensive assessments are routinely made to determine the appropriate plan of care (A.A.C. R9-10-414); that proper rehab is provided (A.A.C. R9-10-420); and that infection control procedures are maintained (A.A.C. R9-10-422).
In addition to these state protections, there are hundreds of federal regulations (called the Code of Federal Regulations or CFRs) that skilled nursing facilities are mandated to follow in order to be eligible for Medicare funding. Overall, these federal regulations are designed to require nursing homes to "provide the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychological well-being, in accordance with the comprehensive assessment and plan of care" (42 CFR 483.25). The federal regulations are very detailed and address the quality of care on several levels, including activities of daily living (such as bathing, toileting and mobility needs); the prevention of bed sores/pressure sores; mental functioning; protection from accidents, like falls; nutrition and hydration needs; and several other categories of care.
If you feel you are not receiving this level of service, or a loved one you know is not receiving this level of service, you may have a legal claim that requires a skilled nursing home abuse lawyer. Please call us at 1-866-972-3212 or email to set up a free consultation.
TYPES OF ABUSE
At Rispoli Law, we have litigated numerous nursing home and abuse and neglect cases over a wide rage of issues, including:
- Bed sores
- Pressure wounds
- Pressure sores
- Decubitus ulcers
- Failure to diagnose or properly treat infections including:
- Urinary tract infections
- Clostridium difficile
- Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
- Falls, including injuries caused by those falls such as:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Fractures (hip, shoulder, leg, arm)
- Physical, psychological, financial and sexual abuse
- Elopement / Wandering
- Mismanagement of medication administration
- Failure to abide by a physician's orders
- Negligent credentialing and hiring of staff
- Wrongful death caused by one or more of these issues listed above
A FACILITY IS REQUIRED BY LAW NOT TO ACCEPT A RESIDENT IF IT CANNOT PROVIDE APPROPRIATE HEALTHCARE SERVICES TO THAT PERSON
Sadly, often times the more significant care level a person requires corresponds to a higher reimbursement rate from the government or private insurance, and facilities attempt to gorge profits by enrolling such residents and then skimping out on the actual care provided. In fact, many large scale nursing home chains are being investigated by the federal government for submitting false billing claims to Medicare. There are also class action lawsuits alleging corporate practices of systemic understaffing of nursing and nursing assistant personnel.
HOW TO STOP NURSING HOME ABUSE AND NEGLECT
1. Evaluate The Rankings.
Check the facility's star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at the government's Nursing Home Compare site. The same data is organized in a more visual, user-friendly way (along with additional resources) at Nursing Home Inspect courtesy of ProPublica.
2. Check The Data.
Look at the available data on the facility compiled by your State's Department of Health Services. Here is the Search Form for the Arizona Department of Health Services Division of Licensing. For example, you can pull up the information on the last Arizona state inspection and see what types of citations the facility received.
3. Alert The Authorities
File a complaint against a facility using your State's adult protective services hotline or online complaint form. Here is the Online Complaint Submittal Form for the Arizona Department of Health Services. You can also file a complaint online through Arizona's Adult Protective Services page (part of the Arizona Department of Economic Security). You can even contact your local Long Term Care Ombudsman.
4. Ensure There Is An Advocate
Every resident needs an advocate. This could be a family member, friend, or anyone else that is willing to physically visit the resident on frequent--though random--occasions. Sadly (again), nursing home staff will pay better attention to a resident if they know the person has regular visitors who will not tolerate substandard care.
5. Management Knows You
There is often a gap between what is going on "on the ground" with nursing staff (RNs, LPNs, CNAs) and upper management (the Director of Nursing, the Executive Director). Introduce yourself to management and make it a point to find these people during every visit, even if only to say hello.
ALWAYS SAY 'NO' TO ARBITRATION
Should you find it necessary to enroll yourself or a loved one in a nursing home or other long term care facility, it is absolutely critical that you NEVER sign an arbitration agreement. These documents are not a pre-condition for admission, despite what any facility representative tells you, and are often lumped in with the stack of paperwork you are required to sign during the admission process. These types of arbitration agreements are designed to protect the facility from being held fully responsible for any negligence should it occur during the stay at the facility. More and more people are starting to wake up to the rampant abuse of forced arbitration in nursing homes and pressuring the government to end the practice. You can help, and learn more, by visiting Change.org here and signing the pledge to protect seniors' rights!
You Don't Want a Handout, You Want Justice. We Know and We Will Help. Call us at (602) 412-5575.
Our firm is more than willing to talk to you about a potential legal claim for nursing home abuse, or do our best to answer any other questions you have about long term care in general. lf you need an experienced elderly abuse attorney, please do not hesitate to call 602-412-5775 (toll free 866-972-3212) or email.