Countless families trust the care of their loved ones to nursing homes in New York State. And while most of these facilities treat elderly citizens with the care and respect they deserve, some subject their residents to abuse or neglect. If your loved one suffered injury at a New York nursing home, call a New York nursing home abuse or neglect lawyer for legal help today.
The attorneys at Buttafuoco & Associates have dedicated their careers to fighting for injured New York residents and would like to help your family in whatever way they can. Call to schedule a consultation today: 1-800-NOW-HURT.
What are my loved one’s rights in a nursing home?
The New York Department of Health (DOH) oversees the safe operation of nursing homes across the state. One of the regulations the DOH enforces is the provision of a list of rights residents can expect to receive while under the care of a nursing home. These rights include, but are not limited to:
- Making your own decisions
- Keeping your money and property safe
- Quality care in a comfortable living environment
When nursing home staff or administration violates these rights, the law considers this nursing home abuse or neglect. These violations are punishable by law as well as by civil suits for monetary damages.
What constitutes neglect or abuse in a nursing home?
Accusing a nursing home of abuse or neglect is not a simple task. You need to identify that the staff or administration has violated your loved one’s rights and caused him or her material harm. For example, consider the following:
If a resident refuses to eat the meals served at lunch and staff members force-feed her, the law may consider it abuse.
If a staff member keeps forgetting to administer a resident’s medication, the law will likely consider it neglect.
If a resident’s health declines rapidly and the facility informs the doctors and relatives immediately, it is not necessarily a sign of neglect if the doctor finds that the resident’s health is naturally failing due to age or unpreventable disease progression.
For situations when the resident suffers injury, a determination of abuse or neglect depends on the circumstances that brought about the injury. For example:
- If a resident fell even when staff members were following fall-prevention protocol, the law will likely not see it as neglect.
- If a resident’s fall-prevention protocol requires two staff members to move him, the facility may be negligent if only one staff member moved the injured resident.
Proving Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
A nursing home abuse or neglect claim must establish the following facts:
- The victim was a resident of the nursing home when the abuse or neglect took place.
- The abuse or neglect was avoidable or preventable.
- An employee or authority of the facility allowed the abuse or neglect to occur.
- The resident suffered physical, emotional, sexual, or financial damage due to the abuse or neglect.
To file your claim, you will need to obtain the resident’s medical and facility charts to review the documentation by the facility.
These records should note any changes in your loved one’s behavior and health as well as the steps the facility took to address the concerns. Daily records must note any refusals of medication or food, injuries, and other matters regarding care that are outside of normal daily activities.
The basis of a nursing home abuse or neglect case comes from these records, which may omit or ignore information regarding a neglectful or abusive care situation.
Another important record is the facility records which note previous complaints of misconduct and any corrective actions the facility took to improve the quality of care.
You may also need to review employee records for instances of past abuse or neglect, criminal history, or other reasons that person may be unfit for the job and the facility should not have hired that employee. If the facility hired a caretaker with a violent past, you can hold it liable for negligent hiring.
You may also consider speaking with other residents or coworkers to see if they saw anything.
Seeking Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Your family may be entitled to financial compensation for several types of damages:
- Physical injury
- Emotional suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Costs of moving to a new facility
- Punitive damages assessed against the facility/staff member
Buttafuoco & Associates will help your family navigate the legal case against a nursing home or staff member and obtain the damages to which you are entitled. Once you have ensured your loved one is safe, contact 1-800-NOW-HURT to schedule a free consultation today.