Nursing Home Laws Help Protect Our Elders

The laws that govern nursing homes are to protect the residents in these facilities from abuse, neglect and substandard care. Whether it is health mandates on hand washing or laws governing the use of unnecessary drugs, these are all put in place to prevent nursing homes from harming the patients. When these laws are violated, even when they seem “minor”, it can lead to patients being injured or even killed. Although laws may differ from state to state, there is a general consistency in the types of regulations. These facilities need to follow health procedures for preparing foods, adhere to medical standards and care for patients in a way that allows them as much independence and dignity as possible. Patients and their families should be able to obtain certain documents pertaining to these laws from the facility.

  • Residents and their families should receive a list of patient’s rights from the facility. These include the services and fees they are entitled to as well as provisions for expected treatment.
  • Reports from health and fire inspections must be made available from recent state or Federal inspections to residents and their families.

How Violations Of Nursing Home Regulations Translate To Patient Injuries

It is the responsibility of the nursing home staff and administration to protect and care for their patients. When nursing homes ignore or blatantly break the regulations set for them, it puts the patients at these facilities in danger.

  • Security regulations. Many states will have rules pertaining to the protection of residents from themselves and others through security measures. This means protecting them for violent or sexual criminals both in the staff and other residents. It may also include security cameras and alarms to inhibit patients with dementia from wandering out of the facility. Violations of security laws have led to assaults and even deaths of patients.
  • Proper equipment. Having the proper equipment to care for a patient is often regulated under the law. If a patient’s needs special cushioning to prevent pressure sores or needs a walker to prevent falls, the facility must make sure it is provided. When a patient does not have the equipment needed, they may be injured or have a risk to their health.
  • Patient care plans. Adherence to a patient’s care plan is vital to making sure they are receiving the proper treatment. Patient care plans should list all the special needs of a patient, from care, medications and allergies. When these care plans are ignored, the patients can be at risk for not getting the care they need and may even receive dangerous medications.

It is important to make sure that you know the laws and regulations that are in place for nursing homes in your state. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, keep up to date on all inspections within the facility and how they perform. Violations to these laws can be a sign that the facility is not doing all it can to protect your loved one from injury and other harm. For more information about laws and regulations applicable to each state, you can review Nursing Home Injury Laws, a national compilation of state ordinances and agencies. Thank you to the Chicago nursing home attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers for their input on this article.

— Guest post from: Jonathan Rosenfeld Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers 33 North Dearborn Street Suite 1930 Chicago, IL 60602 (847) 835-8895 Fax: (847) 572-1331 Toll Free: (888) 424-5757

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Paul d’Oliveira

Attorney Paul d’Oliveira has been practicing personal injury and disability law for over 30 years. He started his personal injury law practice in 1989 with two offices in Fall River, MA and East Providence, RI. Today his firm has 16 offices in RI and Southeastern, MA.

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