5 Important Things to Know About Nursing Home Abuse
Many people research nursing homes each year and may eventually place their family member in a nursing home that can provide the type and amount of care, supervision, and stability that your loved one needs.
We all hope that the nursing homes and facilities our family members reside in will be cautious, attentive, and compassionate. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Nursing home abuse occurs in approximately 1 out of 3 nursing homes. It is important that you are aware of the signs of abuse, what to do if your loved one is being abused, and understand your family’s legal rights.
1. How are nursing homes ranked or rated?
Nursing homes are typically rated on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being the lowest quality of care and 5 being the highest. The rankings are based on publicly reported data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) website.
The CMS website considers a number of factors, such as: Health inspections, quality measures (QMs), and staffing.
Visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Technical Users’ Guide for more detailed information about the quality ratings.
2. What factors should I consider when picking a nursing home?
When selecting a nursing home for yourself or a loved one, you should consider the cost, insurance coverage, location, staff to resident ratio, cleanliness, the community and environment, professionalism, the staff, and quality rankings.
Use all of your senses when evaluating a nursing home.
3. What are the warning signs of nursing home abuse?
The warning signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Sudden or drastic behavioral changes
- Unexplained bruising, scratches, or bleeding
- Development of bedsores, also known as decubitus ulcers
- Lethargy or listlessness
- Sudden or extreme weight loss
- Poor hygiene, including presence of fecal matter and urine
- Physical or emotional withdrawal
4. Are there laws against nursing home abuse?
There are specific laws that vary from state to state that protect the legal rights of elders. You should speak with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in the state that you live to determine the applicable state rights.
5. What should I do if I suspect abuse is taking place in the nursing home?
Protecting the safety of your loved ones is of the primary importance. If you suspect that nursing home abuse is taking place, you should contact your states Department of Aging and Disability Services, Adult Protective Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Quality Improvement Organizations, and State Survey Agencies. Next, you should speak with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney immediately in order to protect your family’s legal rights.