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Your Options

Be careful when choosing a nursing home and take advantage of available resources listed here on this website and other online sites listed in our resource page. Careful monitoring of your loved ones who have limited communication ability can help identifying potential abuse. Monitor your loved one’s treatment on a regular basis Immediately voice your concerns if you suspect any type of abuse, neglect or denial of your loved one’s rights. Studies have shown  family or friends involvement decreases the chance of abuse and neglect.

Evaluate nursing homes and assisted living facilities and compare with other facilities by reviewing each nursing home’s survey report here: www.medicare.gov/nhcompare

  • Get to know state and federal laws and regulations involving nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
  • Speak with residents of the nursing home. Examine their physical well-being and behavior. Speak with residents’ families and learn if they have experienced any problems with the facility.
  • Avoid if possible facilities that have restricted access.
  • Speak with key nursing home personnel, i.e. doctors, nurses, aides, social workers, and adminstrators.
  • Frequently visit your loved one. Change your visits to different times of the day and evening to gain knowledge of the care provided during different times of the day, night, weekends, and holidays.
  • Trust your senses and your sight, hearing, smell and touch. Pay close attention to other residents if they appear clean, well-fed and free of bruises or other wounds. Also notice if the nursing home’s environment is hectic and may indicate it is a unsafe and disrespectful quality of life.
  • Always document (in writing) the details regarding any concerns or problems you may notice.

Confronting the Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility

Any one can make a complaint against a nursing home to the licensing and certification branch of the state health department and can request the nursing home to be inspected to affirm the complaint. The complaint may be made in writing or by word of mouth. Once a complaint is received, the state agency assigns an inspector to make a preliminary review of the complaint. The complainant is normally notified of the inspector’s name and proposed course of action. An onsite visit to the nursing home to investigate the complaint can take place as early as ten working days following receipt of the complaint. The nursing home should not be notified in advance of the investigation, by law.

The inspector will collect and evaluate all available evidence based on what he sees, statements of witnesses and a review of facility records; when investigating the complaint. After the investigation, results of the inspector may determine if the complaint is substantiated or unsubstantiated. A citation may be issued against the nursing home,  if the complaint is substantiated. The person(s) who made the complaint against the nursing home is notified of the determination in writing after the investigation is completed.

If the complainant is not agreeable with the determination of the investigation results, they may request an informal hearing with the state agency. A hearing may include a representative of the nursing home. If the complainant is not satisfied with the results of that hearing, they may appeal to a higher level for a further review. This review process is usually performed by an appeals unit, and the complainant is notified of the results in writing.

Pursue Legal Action Against the Nursing Home

Civil litigation: If your loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, you have the choice to take civil legal action against the nursing home. Each state has limitations of time for which legal action must be taken. You should consider consulting a nursing home abuse lawyer who can determine the time limitations and request guidance regarding how you can proceed with civil legal action on behalf of your loved one. If you have questions about your legal rights, you may contact us by filling out the form on the right. We will have someone contact you right away for a free initial consultation of your rights and your loved one’s rights. A specialized nursing home abuse and neglect attorney will contact you for further details.