The residents of nursing homes have rights. One of those is the right to be free from abuse and neglect. Despite federal and state law requiring this right to be protected, residents of these facilities are abused all too often. In fact, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, one study in New York determined that 1 of 13 seniors in the state had been victims of abuse.
Resident abuse is most commonly perpetrated by the nursing home’s staff. Abuse can also happen on an institutional level when the facility’s administration creates working conditions that can harm the seniors in their care. Family members and other residents can also harm the residents of long-term care facilities.
Nursing home abuse can include physical and emotional abuse. Sexual abuse is also common in nursing homes. Another type of elder abuse that is less commonly seen in these facilities is financial abuse.
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Your Rights in a Nursing Home
Being free from abuse is an important right, but it is far from the only right the residents of nursing homes have. According to the law, the residents of homes that are Medicare and Medicaid certified (which is 95% of them) also have the following rights:
- The right to be free from discrimination
- The right to proper medical care
- The right to be treated with respect
- The right to spend time with their visitors
- The right to privacy and personal property
- The right to manage their own money
- The right to be free from restraints
- The right to participate in activities and form groups
- The right to complain
In addition to these rights, the residents of nursing homes who are United States citizens have the right to exercise any of their rights as such. They also have protections in place to prevent seniors from being involuntarily discharged from the facility.
Real Examples of Nursing Home Abuse Cases
To learn more about what nursing home abuse looks like, sadly, all one must do is take a look at the news. These cases appear on a regular basis. Here are a few more recent examples. These four cases were all in the news over the past few weeks.
In May, an online video showed a 20-year-old beating an elderly nursing home patient. The man pictured in the video delivering blows to an elderly man’s head was also a resident of the facility. This man never should have had unsupervised access to any of the other residents, who are helpless and unable to defend themselves.
Albany, New York
A male resident with dementia sexually abused two female residents by inappropriately touching them, exposing himself, and committing sexual acts in front of them. This took place in the common day room where the residents should never have been left alone for this to take place.
Staff members at a nursing home called 911 when they caught a member of the facility’s cleaning crew raping an elderly resident. Clearly the facility did not do a background check on him or they would have discovered he has done time for child abuse, assault and battery, and first-degree burglary. He also had warrants out for his arrest.
A care worker pulled a resident’s shirt over the handle of his wheelchair. Another worker in the same incident struck the man in the head, stepped on his foot, and shoved him into his wheelchair each time he tried to stand up. The workers laughed as they danced in front of the man and jumped back when he attempted to defend himself.
As shocking as these cases are, these are just the ones that were caught on film or reported. It is believed that the true incidences of nursing home abuse are much higher than what is known. If you believe your loved one has been abused in a facility and you aren’t sure what to do next, you can visit this website for more information.
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