If you placed a loved one in a nursing home before November of 2016, you may not be aware of what could be in the contract you signed. Prior to this date, nursing homes were allowed to include arbitration agreements in the fine print that prevented patients from suing in the case of abuse or neglect, as reported by Consumerist.
After the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services instigated a major overhaul of existing policies, the Department of Health and Human Services decided to prevent nursing facilities from requiring arbitration from residents. This rule applies only to those properties that accept patients who have Medicaid or Medicare. People who have already signed contracts with these stipulations will still be held to the terms mentioned therein.
Types of abuse
When it comes to the elderly, there are several different types of abuse that can occur. The National Council on Aging states that physical, emotional and sexual are some of the most common. Abuse can also occur in the form of neglect or deprivation. Here are a few examples of each type:
- Deprivation: Any time a medical provider denies a patient something, whether tangible or not, it can be considered abuse. Some more obvious items include food, drink or medicine, but certain types of medical care and assistance that should be offered and are not can fall into the category of deprivation.
- Emotional: One of the most common types of abuse is emotional. As caregivers become frustrated, they can slip into the habit of using threats, intimidation and harassment to force patients to bend to their will.
- Physical: Any time injury or pain is inflicted, it may be a form of physical abuse. This can be evident to family members who notice bruising, cuts or broken bones.
- Neglect: Failing to give proper care to patients can result in neglect. Some nursing homes are understaffed and basic needs get overlooked. This can lead to infectious bedsores from not being moved or insufficient monitoring to catch diseases before they become dangerous.
- Sexual: The fact that some conditions, like Alzheimer's, reduce an elder's ability to understand what is happening makes the aged population a target for sexual abuse.
There are other types of misconduct that can occur behind the closed doors of a nursing home, making it vital that family members watch for any warning signs of abuse.
If you have noticed any signs or suspect abuse is happening to a loved one in a long-term care facility, it is vital that you act quickly by contacting an experienced attorney. ignoring the problem can not only lead to severe psychological trauma, but often physical harm and death.