Nursing Home Abuse
Whether a caregiver neglects or actually physically or mentally abuses a resident, nursing home abuse is not uncommon in today's society. Recognition that elderly and dependent adults are subject to risks of abuse or neglect has increased in recent years. The abuse can be recurrent or a single event which produces injury, either physical or financial.
The Federal statute, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA), 42 USCA 1396 et seq. and 1395 et seq. spells out how nursing homes are responsible for the health, medical care, and well-being of their residents. A federal bureau known as the Health Care Financing Administration oversees compliance with these regulations. HCFA enforces guidelines for the evaluation, care, and treatment of residents, aimed at maximizing the quality of each resident's daily life and minimizing abuse and neglect. If substantial compliance is shown, certification of the home is continued and the home can continue to receive government funds such as Medicare/Medicaid. If not, the home may lose its ability to receive these benefits.
Before proceeding with litigation, medical records must be reviewed. All available family members, friends, and witnesses should be interviewed to determine if there is any additional information regarding the elder's treatment or documents which will assist in evaluation. This should include inquiries regarding complaints and/or third party investigations by governmental authorities. Important factors which may impact the amount of damages that may be recovered include the egregiousness of the nursing home's conduct, whether a pattern of neglect can be shown, and whether injuries from the nursing home's negligence can be distinguished from the resident's existing illness(es)