Updated September 6, 2019
As your family members get older, it is sometimes necessary to 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. 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 how the home plans to meet them. These plans should be updated as needed.
Residents have a 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 eight consecutive hours each day and emergency healthcare available twenty-four hours daily. Complaint investigations are usually followed up with an inspection of the nursing home.
These requirements were put in place by a number of federal laws.
Enacted by Congress in 1987, the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) covered special requirements and quality-of-care rules for long-term care nursing homes that participate in Medicare and Medicaid. It is a federal law that is enforced in every state, including Indiana. NHRA outlined 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. The attorneys at WKW 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 and 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 and basic rights and liberties. These elder rights include:
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused, exploited, or neglected at their nursing home, contact the Indianapolis Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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