Nursing homes and assisted-living facilities often include clauses in residential contracts that prevent patients and their families from suing them for neglect, either outright or by forcing arbitration.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services introduced a new rule in 2016 that allows residents and their representatives to sue for neglect.

What does this mean for victims of nursing home neglect?

Residents and their families can take nursing homes to court for past and present cases of neglect. It is often advisable to have a lawyer represent patients’ interests and help gather evidence to build a potential case.

What steps can we take to prevent neglect?

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommends that people do not rush to select a nursing home due to a hospital discharge or other immediate cause for care. It is better to do some research, ask questions that allow patients to feel comfortable and then make a decision based on facts and perceptions of these homes.

How can we research nursing homes before choosing one?

Visits and getting opinions from current and former residents is often a good idea. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services also maintains a website that offers star ratings of facilities based on aggregated reviews.

What is the best thing to do if we suspect abuse or neglect?

Abuse and neglect in nursing homes is serious and may even have fatal consequences. Watch out for sudden changes in behavior among residents, and always listen if a resident has a complaint. Contacting a lawyer at this stage is recommended as well.

Source: Fox Business, “Signs of Nursing Home Neglect, Abuse,” Casey Dowd, accessed Jan. 10, 2018