Some Facts about Nursing Homes
The Nursing Home Reform Act was passed into law by the U.S. Congress in 1987. This Act states that nursing homes participating in Medicare and Medicaid, or receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds, should “provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care.” (http://www.nursinghomealert.com/federal-nursing-home-regulations-and-state-laws)
The Federal Nursing Home law is another decree which says that a “resident has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion.” (http://www.nursinghomealert.com/signs-of-nursing-home-abuse)
These laws were passed to ensure the safety and to protect the interests of the more than 1.5 million residents in at least 15,000 nursing home facilities in the United States. Nursing home residents include elders, individuals in need of rehabilitative therapy and those who are physically or mentally incapacitated – people who are in need either of short term care as they recover from an illness, or long term care and supervision due to their medical problems.
Though designed like a hospital, a nursing home facility only provides hospital-like care for people who need not be in one but who also cannot be cared for at home. However, due to the medical needs of some residents, most facilities, therefore, employ skilled nurses and nursing aides on hand 24 hours daily.
A nursing home facility should be registered and licensed by the state and, to ensure that it complies with the standards for care and services required by the state, a once a year inspection of the facility is made by a state inspector.
The laws, the inspection and the facility’s promise of quality care, medical assistance and assistance in daily living activities (which include eating, bathing, toileting and dressing) seem to have effect only up to the front doors of some facilities because as soon as these doors close behind a resident, it is often a different kind of experience.
Contrary to the assurance of full care and attention, and compliance with state standards, so many nursing homes have rather become a den for abusive and disrespectful aides and some employees.
Though news of abuse and neglect committed against nursing home residents have been more frequent recently, thousands more are believed to be unreported, especially the more sensitive and humiliating cases, namely, sexual abuse.
Though infuriating, the fact is, hundreds of thousands of nursing home residents, mostly elders (who is a parent, a brother or a sister to someone) are rendered as defenseless victims to different acts of abuses, including physical, emotional, financial and sexual abuse. The many forms of ill-treatment are mostly committed by the employees themselves in facilities where there is a lack of qualified and properly trained staff (some abuses, though, are committed by co-residents or by visiting kins). Due to the not enough number of employees, staff members air a common complaint: they are overworked due either to the very demanding needs of residents or because some residents are just too demanding.
Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers explain that families have every reason to believe that their loved ones will only be treated with dignity and compassion throughout the duration of their stay in a nursing home facility. If this trust is breached, however, not only do they have reason to be angry, but they also have the right to take a decisive legal action against the responsible party – to punish the abuser, to bring to the attention of the facility owner the acts of abuses committed in his/her facility, and to pursue compensation for their loved one’s sufferings.