For many adults, it is inevitable that they will have to make decisions about a relative’s long-term care needs. Most people lack the availability, resources, and/or training to provide round-the-clock care for an elderly relative, whose needs are often significant, but they want to ensure that their loved ones receive quality care and attention when they are most in need.
Under the circumstances, a nursing home may be the safest choice. Choosing the right facility is a difficult choice that is often made after a considerable amount of research, and based on proximity to loved ones.
If you suspect that your loved one has been or is the victim of abuse in a Cumberland County nursing facility, contact a Cumberland nursing home abuse lawyer who can help you uncover the truth. A qualified abuse attorney can pursue justice for you.
Signs of Abuse
Elder abuse is not limited to physical injuries; it includes physical, emotional, and mental abuse caused by acts or omissions of the nursing home staff. While physical abuse may be more easily discoverable than emotional abuse, either can be difficult to discover when the victim and/or the abuser attempts to hide the occurrence.
It is important that loved ones be aware of the warning signs of abuse, which include, but are not limited to:
- Unexplained injuries
- Unexplained sudden death
- Unsanitary conditions
- Agitation or reluctance to speak in the presence in some nursing home staff
- Sudden and/or abnormal behavioral and personality changes
- Frequent unreported illnesses
- Sedation or heavy medicated state
Bill of Rights
New Jersey has incorporated a Bill of Rights for nursing home residents into law to protect and promote their safety, security, and dignity, without interference or discrimination. Under the Nursing Home Bill of Rights, residents have the right remain in the facility unless there is a valid reason for not doing so, to transfer, or to discharge.
It also protects residents’ self-determination, including the right to self-administer medication, to refuse treatment, and to manage their own finances. The residents’ Bill of Rights further protect residents’ access to information, their possessions, and to participate in events and activities. Nursing home residents are guaranteed the right to privacy.
Privacy includes confidentiality of medical treatment, the right to visit without supervision, and other forms of personal privacy, including sending and receiving correspondence. Finally, the Nursing Home Bill of Rights protects against retaliation or punishment for voicing complaints. A Cumberland nursing home abuse lawyer can attempt to hold nursing homes accountable for violating these rights.
Nursing facilities in New Jersey are regulated by federal and state law. It is the responsibility of state agencies and a few private entities to ensure that nursing homes are in compliance with those laws by providing oversight to licensed facilities.
The New Jersey Department of Health inspects facilities annually, reports elder abuse, and determines whether nursing homes meet the minimum standards to receive Medicaid and Medicare payments. Not meeting those standards could result in a loss of funding, which is likely to impact the facility’s ability to remain in business.
Non-compliance with regulations may result in penalties, fines, and more oversight. Continued non-compliance with applicable laws can result in a nursing facility losing funding and/or licensure, which would result in the facility closing down. Individual staff members could also face criminal charges or a civil lawsuit.
Talk to a Cumberland County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
After the significant stress of deciding to place a loved in a nursing home and choosing a facility, it is understandably overwhelming to suspect or discover that a loved one is or may be the victim of nursing home abuse.
If this is the case, do not hesitate to talk to a Cumberland nursing home abuse lawyer who can examine your case, advise you of all your legal options, and discuss next possible steps with you.