The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care (Consumer Voice) was founded in 1975, as a response to widespread concerns about nursing home care standards. Committed to honoring the dignity of seniors and disabled adults who live in long-term care facilities, Consumer Voice has designated October as Residents’ Rights Month to inform the public about appropriate nursing home care.
At Levinson Axelrod, P.A., our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys fully support the mission of Consumer Voice. There is no excuse for negligence and abuse at long-term care facilities – and yet, all too many residents are forced to endure substandard conditions at our nation’s nursing homes.
In honor of Residents’ Rights Month, we’ve provided some information below about the legal standard of care required at nursing homes. We will also discuss how you can take legal action against negligent nursing home staff.
What Is the Standard of Care at Nursing Homes?
For Residents’ Rights Month this year, Consumer Voice has adopted “Stand for Quality” as its core theme, to emphasize the importance of quality in all aspects of long-term care. This is also true for the legal “standard of care,” which is fundamentally about the quality of services that are provided to vulnerable senior citizens.
At the federal level, nursing home residents are protected by the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act. Under the NHRA, any nursing home facility dependent on Medicare and Medicaid for funding must meet strict criteria for the standard of care. Most states – like New Jersey – have also adopted their own versions of these laws and regulations.
Nursing homes that receive Medicare and Medicaid payments must offer the following services to residents:
- Comprehensive care plans that are tailored to each resident
- Rehabilitation services
- Skilled nursing services, at a proper staff-to-resident ratio
- Pharmaceutical services
- Regular health and safety assessments for residents
- A full-time social worker (if there are over 120 beds)
- Dietary and nutritional plans for residents
In addition to requiring these services, the NHRA includes a “Residents’ Bill of Rights,” which covers freedom from abuse, neglect, and mistreatment. Finally, participating nursing home facilities must submit to regular unannounced surveys and comply with any sanctions for violations of the NHRA.
How Can I Seek Legal Action Against a Nursing Home?
Whether your elderly loved one has suffered from intentional abuse or accidental neglect, the nursing home staff should be held accountable for failing to honor their basic rights. This means you may be entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the nursing home and seek compensation for your loved one’s injuries.
Of course, nursing home claims are a matter of fault liability, which means you must show that someone acted in a negligent manner. In order to prove that negligence occurred at a long-term care facility, you must demonstrate that the staff member(s) failed to meet the basic standard of care for your loved one.
Here are some of the most common nursing home neglect claims:
- Negligent supervision of residents
- Failure to keep the nursing home safe and hazard-free
- Inadequate or delayed medical treatment for life-threatening conditions
- Failure to maintain sanitary conditions for residents
- Negligent hiring or lack of sufficient training
At Levinson Axelrod, P.A., we have over 80 years of experience fighting on behalf of the injured, including seniors and disabled adults who live in nursing homes. We’ve won over $1 billion in recovery for our clients over the last 5 years, because we never give up in the face of challenging claims. First and foremost, we care about our clients – and that care translates into real results for the victims of nursing home abuse and neglect.
For more information about nursing home residents’ rights, call (732) 440-3089 and talk to one of our lawyers today.