/ Blog/ Must-Know Federal & Indiana Nursing Home Laws
As your family members get older, it is sometimes necessary that you move them into a nursing home. You can do all of the research that you want to decide on a good place. Unfortunately, there’s still the fear that something awful could happen. Elder abuse cases are very serious. Take them seriously. Stay informed to protect your loved ones.
Elder abuse and nursing home laws are put in place to prevent the exploitation, abuse, and neglect of elderly people by nursing home staff. They are meant to ensure that certain standards of care are maintained, such as mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
Each resident is expected to have an individualized plan of care upon admission. Faculty should outline the resident’s specific needs, and outline how the home plans to meet them. These plans should be updates as needed.
Residents have right to the following:
Nursing homes should be adequately staffed to offer the greatest level of care. There should be a Registered Nurse (RN) on duty for 8 consecutive hours each day, and emergency healthcare available 24 hours. Complaint investigations are usually followed up with an inspection of the nursing home. Nursing homes are expected to fulfil standard at all costs.
All of these requirements were put in place by a number of federal laws.
Enacted by Congress in 1987, the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) laid out special requirements and quality of care rules for long-term care nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. It is a federal law, but enforced in every state, including Indiana. NHRA outlines resident rights as well as staffing and operational requirements for nursing homes. Some of the most powerful requirements are as follows:
The Older Americans Act (OAA) is a federal initiative that was enacted in 1965 in response to concerns about elderly residents—specifically concerns about the lack of community-based social services available to residents. The OAA provides federal grants that can be used for enrichment of programs to the benefit the elderly, including:
The Long-term Care Ombudsman Program is a federal program that exists in every state. It’s enforced by state Ombudsmen who advocate for nursing home residents. They also investigate alleged cases of exploitation, neglect, and abuse. Ombudsmen work to resolve complaints and elder rights issues on behalf of individual residents and their families. An Indianapolis elder rights attorney can help explain the state Ombudsman Program and how it can help your family.
The federal government relies on states and individual municipalities to enforce elder rights laws. All states, including Indiana, have Adult Protective Services (APS) programs to protect the elderly from abuse, neglect, and to investigate alleged cases.
Nursing homes in Indiana are licensed under the Indiana State Department of Health, Long-Term Care Division. The department inspects every nursing home in the state annually, investigates complaints, and compiles the requests in a public survey report.
Indiana requires that nursing homes uphold their duty of care by cooperating with federal guidelines. Failure to do so could result in negligence.
Residents who are admitted to nursing homes retain all of their fundamental, civil, human, basic rights and liberties. These elder rights include:
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused, exploited, or neglected, there is help available. Get in touch with the state department of health, APS, Ombudsman’s office, and/or law enforcement where needed.
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