Staten Island Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Studies indicate that elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation increases an individual’s risk of death by 300 percent. Individuals—particularly women—who have been verbally abused show a greater decline in mental capacity. Overall, residents who have been abused have higher incidences of depression, psychological distress, and emotional issues than those who do not experience abuse.
If you or your loved one were the victim of nursing home neglect, contact our experienced Staten Island nursing home negligence lawyers today, and let us see what we can do to help you.
New York law entitles individuals to recover damages for injuries caused by a facility’s negligent actions. Victims may be entitled to seek damages for nursing home abuse, neglect, or exploitation through a personal injury lawsuit. The Staten Island personal injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, are standing by to help you if you or a loved one are suffering abuse or neglect at the hands of a caregiver.
“I had an amazing experience with Jacoby & Meyers, LLP. I would highly recommend them for anyone needing a law firm.” -Paul T.
Personal injury cases generally must be filed within three years of the injury. In cases that involve malpractice by a healthcare provider in a nursing home, you must usually file a lawsuit within two years.
The Rights of Nursing Home Residents
Nursing home residents have been afforded several rights by both federal and state laws. Some of those rights include:
- The right to be free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
- The right to be free from discrimination.
- The right to have their representative notified if they are sick, injured, or being transferred.
- The right to proper medical care, to choose their own medical provider, and to decline medical treatment.
- The right to be treated with respect and dignity.
- The right to be free from physical or chemical restraints.
- The protection against involuntary transfer or discharge.
- The right to participate in activities, as well as the right to decline participation.
- The right to form and participate in resident groups.
- The right to manage their own money.
- The right to get information about the services that the facility provides, and the fees associated with those services.
- The right to privacy and to have one’s own possessions at the facility whenever possible.
- The right to a home-like environment, and the assistance needed to live as independently as possible.
- The right to control their own schedules, including what time they get up, go to bed, or bathe.
- The right to complain about the facility or staff without fear of reprisal.
In New York, certain baseline services must be provided to residents. These services are included in the costs of living. A copy of the available services must be given to the resident upon entry into the facility.
These services include:
- A listing of the daily, weekly, or monthly rate for services.
- Board, including therapeutic or modified diets that have been prescribed by a doctor.
- Lodging that is clean, healthy, and properly outfitted to meet the resident’s needs.
- Dietary, pharmacy, and diagnostic services.
- 24 hour nursing care.
- The use of all equipment and medical supplies normally used in the care of nursing home residents, including catheters, hypodermic syringes and needles, dressings, pads, and other items.
- Fresh bed linens, changed at least twice weekly, with additional linens available for residents with incontinence issues.
- Laundry services for clothing, as well as the provision of pajamas or hospital gowns in accordance with the clinical condition of the resident.
- General household medicine cabinet supplies, such as over-the-counter medications, materials for routine skincare, dental hygiene products, and other items.
- Assistance with daily living tasks including toileting, bathing, eating, and assistance getting from place to place.
- Use of assistive equipment such as crutches, canes, and wheelchairs, and training on their use if necessary.
- An activities program that includes a schedule of planned activities and the necessary supplies to help make the resident’s life more meaningful.
- Social services when needed.
- The services of an optometrist or optician.
- Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology services, and audiology services.
- Dental services either provided by staff or on a fee-for-service basis, as prescribed by a doctor and supervised by a specialist in the field of the service offered.
Additional services and levels of care may be available in addition to the basic services described above. Some examples of the types of services that may be provided include adult daycare, services for residents with AIDS, behavioral intervention, clinical laboratory services, hospice, and dementia programs.
What Is Nursing Home Negligence?
Negligence is defined as the failure to behave with the level of care that would be exercised by an ordinarily prudent person in the same circumstances. This failure to provide a standard level of care can include actions as well as the failure to act in situations where there is a duty to act.
Close to 2 million individuals live in nursing homes. Approximately 7.6 percent of the nearly 200,000 complaints made against nursing homes in the U.S. each year involve abuse, gross neglect, or financial exploitation. Studies indicate that 70 percent of state health inspections of nursing facilities miss at least one deficiency. In addition, 15 percent of inspections fail to identify situations that involve actual harm to a resident or immediate risk of harm.
Some examples of nursing home negligence include:
- Failing to provide medical care for a resident, including medication, medical treatment, or prevention of medical issues. Medical issues may include bedsores, infections, or failing to adhere to policies regarding the prevention of infectious diseases. At a minimum, facilities should provide flu or pneumonia vaccinations, safe handling of food, and the provision of a clean environment.
- Failing to comply with a resident’s care plan.
- Ignoring the needs of a resident or leaving him or her unsupervised when supervision is designated in his or her care plan.
- Failing to provide social activities or failing to provide the senior with a choice of whether to participate in a scheduled activity.
- Refusing to allow a senior to have visitors when he or she wishes.
- Failing to inform the senior and his or her representative of a planned transfer to another facility, to home, or to a different room or unit within the facility.
- Failing to meet the resident’s basic needs, including the failure to provide adequate food or water or a safe and clean environment.
- Failing to protect the resident from abuse by other residents or staff.
Identifying Nursing Home Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation
Identifying nursing home abuse, neglect, or exploitation can require the experienced eye of a nursing home attorney. In some cases, victims suffer from cognitive impairments that leave them unable to accurately describe what is happening to them. A resident may be reluctant to notify others of instances of abuse because they fear retaliation or hesitate to cause trouble.
However, some red flags may indicate abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
- Nursing home abuse is defined as any type of harm experienced by a resident of a nursing home facility, including physical or emotional injuries, or sexual assault. Abuse can include physical harm, such as hitting, punching, or kicking a resident. More often, abuse involves emotional harm such as threatening, intimidating, or belittling a resident. The perpetrator of this abuse can be a facility staff member or another resident of the facility. Signs of abuse include unexplained injuries, such as cuts, burns, or broken bones. Bruises around the wrist or arm may indicate the use of physical restraints. Dislocated joints or sprains and hair or tooth loss may be signs of insufficient safety measures and inadequate grooming care. A resident’s refusal to be left alone with a certain staff member or resident or loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed can be signs of emotional abuse. A delay in receiving medical care for injuries and unusual changes in behavior including rocking, biting, or fear of being touched are also signs of physical and possibly sexual abuse. Other signs of sexual abuse include bruising or bleeding in the genital or anal area or the presence of sexually transmitted diseases.
- Nursing home neglect is the facility’s failure to provide necessary services, basic needs, or protection from harm. Some warning signs that could indicate nursing home neglect include malnutrition or dehydration or seemingly over- or under-medicated residents. Residents that appear to be dirty or are wearing soiled clothing are signs that the facility is failing to accommodate resident’s basic needs. Other signs of neglect include an infestation of rodents or bugs at the facility or an overall dirty environment. The development of new bed sores or the worsening of existing sores; repeated falls for high risk residents and elopement, wandering, or abandonment of the senior in a public place are also signs of neglect.
- Financial exploitation is a common problem among nursing home residents. Warning signs such as unexplained activity in the senior’s bank account; missing personal items; or lavish gifts given to nursing home staff may be possible signs of exploitation. Other signs include notification of a new person being added as a signatory on accounts or payments made to the facility for services that were not rendered.
Disease Control and Prevention
Recently, a Staten Island nursing home reported that one or more residents tested positive for COVID-19. The report was issued in March by the executive director at ArchCare at the Carmel Richmond HealthCare and Rehabilitation Center. The report failed to specify the total number of affected residents, and failed to state whether any residents had died after contracting the virus. The report stated that facility staff were actively monitoring and screening patients for symptoms and all visitation from non-residents had been suspended. The facility said it was working closely with local and state health departments to continually develop policies and guidelines.
Nursing homes should establish and follow policies that govern how staff should respond during emergencies. Policies should keep residents safe by identifying and containing infectious diseases before they spread through a facility. When a nursing home fails to follow its policies, the facility risks being penalized by state inspectors and losing their federal Medicare/Medicaid certification. They can also face civil liability due to actions or inactions that harm the people in their care.
For example, an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in a veterans’ home killed at least 14 people. State investigators cited the release of “1,600 gallons of bacteria-laden water into the home’s water system” as the culprit. A media investigation revealed that the facility waited six days before notifying residents about the outbreak. At least 14 lawsuits allege negligence on the part of the state, which operates the facility.
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse in New York
If you suspect that your loved one is experiencing abuse, neglect, or exploitation in a New York nursing home, you can file a report in one of two ways:
- Filing a nursing home complaint form with the state Department of Health and submitting it online or by mail or fax.
- Calling the 24 hour nursing home complaint hotline at 1-888-201-4563.
If your loved one is in immediate danger, you should contact law enforcement before filing a formal complaint with the state health department. All complaints submitted online, by mail or fax, or by calling the hotline are reviewed by the Centralized Complaint Intake Unit. The Centralized Complaint Intake Unit reviews the complaint and determines the appropriate action to be taken.
The Unit may require an investigation by department investigators or by the Complaint Resolution Unit. The investigation may include interviews, a review of medical records and other facility documentation, and analysis by clinical professionals. Investigations are conducted to determine whether the facility has violated federal or state regulations regarding the care of residents. If the investigation reveals that a facility is not in compliance with federal or state regulations, citations or penalties may be imposed. In addition, the Unit will prescribe follow up requirements that the facility must abide by to become compliant.
Call Our Staten Island Nursing Home Lawyers Now
If your loved one was injured due to nursing home negligence, consider seeking the guidance of our experienced Staten Island nursing home negligence attorneys.
The attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP are ready to answer your questions about nursing home negligence and abuse and help you understand your right to compensation.
Some of the damages that we have helped our clients recover in a nursing home negligence cases include:
- Medical expenses related to the resident’s injury or illness that was caused by the abuse. For example, hospitalization, diagnostic testing, emergency room services, hospitalization, medication, and rehabilitation.
- Expenses related to property damage, the replacement of stolen items, or the return of money that was exploited from the senior.
- Non-economic expenses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, scarring and disfigurement, loss of the enjoyment of life.
- Punitive damages in cases where the defendant’s behavior was particularly reprehensible.
Contact us today, call us at (877) 565-2993, or open a live chat for a free consultation and case evaluation, and see how we can help you.