Federal laws aimt to protect residents from nursing home neglect

Moving a loved one into a nursing home is rarely an easy decision, but time and financial limitations can make it difficult to provide needed care. Tennessee families usually hope that their loved ones will receive the best care possible, but unfortunately, this is not always the case. When families are uncertain if nursing home neglect or abuse has actually taken place, first considering what residents are legally entitled to can be helpful.

One of the fundamental rights for residents of nursing homes as mandated by federal law is that they not be neglected or abused. While some may think of abuse as a physical offense, residents can suffer other manners of abuse as well. It is not unheard of for vulnerable residents to fall victim to sexual, mental and/or verbal abuse at the hands of those who are supposed to be their caregivers.

Additionally, improper use of restraints can be considered abuse. Side rails may be helpful for patients who have a fall risk, but if used to force a patient to remain in bed as a sort of punishment, it can be extremely detrimental. A neglected patient may also be confined to bed by side rails for little reason other than convenience for caregivers.

Sudden changes in the attitude or behavior of a loved one in a nursing home may be a warning sign for Tennessee families. As some forms of abuse, such as sexual or verbal, leave little to no physical traces that a family would immediately recognize, any such change in behavior may need to be carefully evaluated. If a family realizes that nursing home neglect has indeed taken place, it can be heartbreaking for everyone involved. Many times a victim will need additional medical care that, although costly, can be taken care of through the successful litigation of claim against the nursing home and caregivers.