NURSING HOME NEGLECT & ABUSEYou can remember every time your loved one held your hand through a difficult time. You can remember the moments when your loved one showed great strength and resilience. You can remember the moment you had to decide that it was time to find a nursing home. Few decisions are more difficult. You did everything you could to research the facilities. You took great pains to pick a facility that looked safe, that smelled better than the others, that seemed to have friendly staff. You wanted your loved one to be safe. You wanted them to preserve their dignity. You wanted them to be cared for the way they always cared for you.
We live in an area with some of the most expensive facilities in New York State. The majority of nursing homes in New York State are privately owned. As a result, the desire to make sure profits are outpacing expenses drives care decisions, staffing decisions and facility upkeep decisions and the day-to-day operations on all levels. No matter how often you and your family are at the nursing home, you cannot watch over every staff member and make sure all of your loved one's care needs are met. Unfortunately, most times there are not enough hands-on- deck to care for all of the residents in the nursing home. Staff turns over repeatedly. Too many residents have high levels of needs. Supervisors aren't ensuring that treatments and medications are being administered correctly. Your loved one's care plan is not met. It only takes one mistake to shatter your fragile loved one's quality of life for the rest of their life. It only takes one mistake to take a life.
Nursing homes are required to make proper and timely assessments of your loved one's condition. Nursing homes are required to create and implement a Care Plan that addresses all of your loved one's care and emotional and social needs. Nursing homes are required to make sure that the Care Plan is updated when your loved one's condition changes.
YOUR NURSING HOME'S TRACK RECORDDid you know you can access the profile of your nursing home? You can find out how many beds the facility has, any violations of New York State Public Health law identified at the facility and find ownership information. The profiles can be found here. Nursing homes in New York must undergo an annual inspection by the New York State Department of Health. The inspection results in a report detailing any deficiencies found. When deficiencies are identified, the nursing home must submit a plan of correction to the Department of Health for approval. The nursing home will then be re-inspected to make sure that the plan of correction is being implemented and deficiencies are corrected. The annual reports for your nursing home are available for your review along with the nursing home profile.
ADVOCATING FOR YOUR LOVED ONEYou have the right as your loved one's health care proxy, power of attorney or guardian to request a meeting with the nursing home to address any concerns you have. You can bring an advocate with you to these meetings. You can request reasonable and necessary changes to your loved one's care plan. HOLDING THE NURSING HOMES ACCOUNTABLE You can hold the nursing home accountable for a nursing home resident's injuries or death in more than one way. The path you choose will largely be driven by your goals as a family. No family comes in and indicates that they are pursuing a nursing home claim for the money. Families explain they want to provide for their loved one in better ways and that they don't want another family to suffer.
The New York State Department of Health has a Nursing Home Complaint hotline. You can report concerns about nursing home care directly to the Department of Health. This will not result in any monetary compensation for your loved one, or their Estate, but it will result in an investigation of the facility's delivery of care. A report detailing the findings will be issued. Where there are violations, a plan of correction will be required. The New York State Public Health Law provides a resident or the Estate of a resident with the right to bring a private lawsuit against a nursing home for compensation for the resident's injuries or death. The statute also allows for recovery of attorneys' fees incurred in prosecuting the case. The statute also provides for the assessment of punitive damages meant to punish the nursing home for egregious failures to care for a resident. If your loved one has been injured or died as the result of poor nursing home care, you need answers and accountability. Let's determine the best path forward.
Please call with any of the following concerns with nursing home care.