New York Nursing Home Attorney
New York Nursing Home Attorney
The decision to place an aging loved one in a long-term care facility is usually a difficult one. They may need to live in a nursing home because they can’t function independently, or when their current caregivers can no longer provide the daily level of care they need. Families, though, are far from alone when they choose to go this route. There are around 1.5 million Americans living in nursing homes. That number is expected to rise due to a large aging population. As many as one-quarter of residents may experience physical abuse while in a nursing home.
If you’ve made the difficult decision to move a loved one to a nursing home, you did it with their best interests in mind. After all, a nursing home has a full staff dedicated to caring for the needs of its residents. They are professionally trained to provide a safe and healthy environment. But something doesn’t quite seem right. During visits, you’ve noticed signs of abuse or neglect. You want to report it, but wonder if you can trust the nursing home. Where can you turn to for help?
Nursing home abuse and neglect are shockingly common. Underreporting makes the true number of incidents difficult to determine, but as many as one-quarter of residents may experience physical abuse while in a nursing home. Perhaps even more common is neglect, or the failure by nursing homes to provide residents with proper care. Many nursing homes are understaffed, which can lead to higher incidence or resident mistreatment. Whatever the “reason” for nursing home abuse or neglect, it is unacceptable. But investigating nursing home negligence can be difficult. You will need the help of experts to prove that abuse or neglect occurred.
Large, For-Profit Nursing Homes a Trouble Spot
Evidence suggests that certain New York nursing homes are more likely to mistreat their residents than others. The quality of a nursing home, the experience of their staff, and how well the nursing home is operated and managed are strong predictors of how well nursing home residents are treated. A University of California study concluded that large, for-profit nursing homes typically deliver the worst care and harm the most patients because they tend to have fewer nurses than non-profit and government-owned nursing homes.
New York Nursing Home Negligence Laws
You may be able to sue a nursing home or long-term care facility if your loved one has been harmed, whether by intentional abuse or accidentally. The injury may have been by fault of the employee or based on facility policies or ongoing practices.
Accidents or facility negligence often occur in cases where:
- Staff has been improperly trained
- Hiring protocols fail to perform adequate background checks
- Staff is not monitored properly
- Security is inadequate
- Equipment malfunctions, such as a gurney or wheelchair
- Improper maintenance of equipment has occurred
- Medication has been improperly dispensed
There are federal regulations that any nursing home accepting Medicare must follow as well. One such regulation is 42 CFR sec. 483.25 (h) which states:
- The resident environment remains as free of accident hazards as possible; and
- Each resident receives adequate supervision and assistance devices to prevent accidents.
It is a fundamental responsibility of any facility to keep residents safe and secure, with federal regulations providing “the facility must ensure that he resident environment remains as free of accident hazards as possible; and each resident receives adequate supervision and assistance device to prevent accidents.”
New York nursing home residents are also protected by a state law that allows them to sue a nursing home that causes harm by depriving them of a “right or benefit.” Section 2801-D of the New York Public Health Law states that, if a patient has been deprived of a right or benefit and has been injured as a result, “compensatory damages shall be assessed in an amount sufficient to compensate such patient for such injury, but in no event less than twenty-five percent of the daily per-patient rate of payment established for the residential health care facility.”
Whether an injury occurs due to intentional abuse, neglect, or by accident, the consequence to an elderly loved one can be life-changing. There might be chronic pain, a decline in cognitive ability, early or wrongful death, harm to psychological health, financial loss, and more.
Legal action can’t undo the damage that has been done, but it can provide compensation that could be used to pay for better care. A lawsuit against nursing home staff and/or the nursing home can also discourage negligence or abuse from happening again. Punitive damages are often awarded in these cases, reflecting the egregious nature of elder abuse.
Don’t Pay Unless You Win
Don't Delay Contacting a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Suspicions that a nursing home resident has suffered harm should not be shrugged off. It is crucial that you seek legal counsel immediately to prove that mistreatment occurred. Keep in mind that you may have a short window of time to take legal action. Failure to file suit within the statute of limitation can bar you or your loved one from ever obtaining justice or securing compensation.
The New York nursing home abuse lawyers at The Sanders Law Firm represent injury victims in New York State and New York City on a contingency fee basis, so we only collect a fee if we reach a favorable outcome in your case. Call or contact us today to schedule a free consultation at our Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, or Brooklyn offices.
Talk to Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Free of Charge
Patients who go into nursing homes are among the most vulnerable in our society. Families trust nursing homes to take care of those who can no longer take care of themselves. Patients who are the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect need more help than usual. Afraid or unable to speak out, it may be up to family members to act on their behalf.
If you find yourself needing to advocate for a nursing home resident, you may be unsure of the best way to proceed. In addition to contacting state authorities, you might want to talk to an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. During a free consultation with The Sanders Law Firm, we can discuss your observations and the signs of abuse or neglect that you encountered.
To speak with a New York nursing home abuse lawyer, call 1-833-SANDERS or Contact Us.
Nursing Home Care in Crisis
The nursing home industry brought in nearly $130 billion in 2020. The overall U.S. long term care market is expected to be worth $752 billion by 2027. An aging Baby Boomer population, as well as the rising incidence of chronic health problems, has driven increased demand for nursing home services. The growing percentage of nursing home residents with dementia, Alzheimer’s, heart disorders, respiratory diseases, and mental disorders is expected to increase the burden on long term care settings over the coming years.
New York nursing homes are reaching a crisis point due to understaffing, inexperienced and underpaid staff, and other factors.
New York nursing homes, already short-staffed, are reaching a crisis point in the wake of COVID-19. But as the New England Journal of Medicine explains, “long-term care in the United States has been marginalized for decades, leaving aging adults who can no longer care for themselves at home reliant on poorly funded and insufficiently monitored institutions.”
Why Nursing Home Negligence Occurs
When nursing homes are understaffed, nurses and aides have a more difficult time providing care to nursing home residents. Essential tasks such as repositioning a patient to avoid pressure ulcers and delivering medicine can be overlooked when workers are overburdened, sometimes leading to hospitalizations. Overworked and overstressed staff are also more likely to abuse residents.
According to a 2014 study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, understaffing is one of the most common causes of nursing home neglect, poor care, and adverse events. Other reasons for nursing home abuse and neglect are inexperienced staff, underpaid staff, poorly supervised and managed staff, resource shortages, and issues with individual caregivers.
Signs of Abuse in Nursing Homes
The responsibility of detecting nursing facility abuse primarily falls on residents’ family members. It is important that families learn to recognize signs of abuse and make sure their loved ones are protected. Many cases of nursing home abuse and neglect go unreported. The nursing home and nursing home staff are unlikely to report behavior that implicates them in wrongdoing. A victim of nursing home abuse may be reluctant or unable to discuss mistreatment due to fear of retaliation, not wanting to get their caretaker in trouble, or cognitive decline.
As many as 80% of nursing home abuse cases may go unreported.
There are many signs of elder abuse that encompass general neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse. If you have a family member in a nursing home, long-term care facility, or any type of elder care program, it is important to know the warning signs of mistreatment. They include:
- Neglect: Malnutrition, dehydration, poor hygiene, unsanitary or unsafe living conditions, weight loss, and medication errors.
- Physical Abuse: Bruises, cuts, or scars visible on the body. Broken bones, strains or bed sores. Signs of physical restraint may include rope marks on the ankles or wrists. Broken eyeglasses may indicate an incident of physical abuse or restraint. Dental problems.
- Emotional Abuse: A change in behavior or general mood. Sometimes rocking back and forth, mumbling, or behavior that mimics dementia. Unusual depression, emotional outbursts, or reclusiveness. Refusal to eat or take medication.
- Sexual Abuse: Inexplicable infections or bleeding. Visible signs on the body, particularly around the breasts or genitals. Torn underclothing.
- Financial Abuse: Withdrawals from accounts, missing cash or belongings, unpaid bills, unnecessary purchases.
Signs of Abuse by a Caregiver
Not only should you be aware of signs of abuse exhibited by family members, but also take note of the caregiver’s behavior.
Caregivers with a history of mental illness/instability or substance abuse issues may have a higher risk of committing elder abuse. Some behavior to watch for may include the caregiver not allowing your loved one to have visitors or speak to family or friends, a general lack of affection or indifference towards the elderly, or an unwillingness to leave the elder adult alone with others.
Always remember that elder abuse can be difficult to detect, and is sometimes subtle. Take any suspicions seriously and act immediately. Nursing home abuse claims must be accompanied by evidence and proof. You should consider engaging a nursing home abuse lawyer early in the process.
How to Protect Your Loved One When Choosing a Care Facility
Selecting among nursing homes and assisted living facilities is a complicated process. Choosing the right care facility isn’t easy, especially when physical distance and cost constraints must be considered.
The State of New York has many good facilities—and many bad ones. Families For Better Care gave New York a “C” grade in 2019 for its overall nursing home care. That’s a big improvement from a couple of years ago, but it still leaves much to be desired. In particular, New York scored very poor marks for direct care staffing and professional nurse staffing. It also received a large number of verified ombudsman complaints, indicating widespread concern from residents about their overall quality of care.
Some things you can do to help prevent elder abuse of your loved one include:
- Talk to residents and their families about their experience with the nursing facility. Observe current residents’ behavior and general well-being.
- Talk to staff members such as doctors, nurses, social workers, and administrators. Note the relationships between each other for politeness and general respect as well. Make sure the facility does not hire staff with any history of abuse or neglect.
- Visit your family member frequently and at varied times.
- Observe living spaces for odors, cleanliness, appropriate temperature and lighting, noise levels, and quality of furnishings. Look for exits to be clearly marked, visiting areas, smoke detectors and sprinklers, wheelchair appropriateness, handrails, etc.
- Offerings of meal choices and snacks such as favorites, special dietary needs, and assistance with eating and drinking if needed.
- Activities for residents unable to leave their rooms, outdoor spaces, and volunteer programs.
- Emergency evacuation plans and frequency of fire drills.
- Avoid restricted access facilities.
- Read contracts carefully before signing, paying particular attention to binding arbitration clauses.
- Compare facilities by looking up reports
At The Sanders Law Firm, Success Is A Tradition
Founded in 1967, The Sanders Law Firm has flourished into one of New York’s most successful personal injury practices, with an accomplished team of attorneys, paralegals, health care consultants, and support staff. Our trial attorneys take new cases on a contingency basis, which means there is no cost to the client unless we secure monetary damages on your behalf.
Our personal injury law firm continues to make its industry-leading legal services even better, and hire attorneys and staff that enable us to serve a more diverse population.
At The Sanders Firm, there is never any charge to evaluate your case. We have helped thousands of injured clients throughout New York City, Long Island, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island, and we’re prepared to help you too. In just the last five years we have procured over $100 million dollars on behalf of our clients, thanks to our vast resources and experienced attorneys. Our personal injury law firm continues to make its industry-leading legal services even better, and hire attorneys and staff that enable us to serve a more diverse population.
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The Sanders Law Firm is a New York personal injury practice with offices in Long Island, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.