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Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

When a loved one is no longer able to care for themselves or to be cared for at home, then we usually look to a nursing home to provide care in their later years. We entrust the care of those loved ones to people we view as professionals who will offer care and compassion to those they look after.

In the vast majority of cases, those standards of care are professional and our loved ones are very well looked after. But the sad fact is that many elders suffer abuse or neglect while in the care of nursing homes.

Should I Hire a Nursing Home Neglect Attorney?

If you suspect that abuse or neglect has occurred, then the best way forward is to hire an attorney with relevant experience. In many cases, nursing homes operate as large businesses. In those cases, they want to protect their business and will almost always have their own attorneys to protect their interests. In cases of physical or psychological abuse, you need professional help to pursue any claim.

What Can a Nursing Home Neglect Attorney Do?

The first thing nursing home abuse lawyers will do is to meet with the victim or the person who legally represents the victim. This allows your attorney to gather information such as capacity levels and abilities of the victim as well as details of the psychological or physical abuse.

Your attorney will then look at the relevant laws to see where they apply and if the case has validity in court. They will also want to ensure that a legal contract between the victim and the nursing home exists which commits the provider to a certain standard of care. They need to know that proper care has not been provided which has led to the abuse. This can be as a result of intentional acts, the omission of care, or just negligence.

When the attorney is satisfied that just cause exists for any legal action, then your attorney will start their investigation and collection of evidence.

When Is a Nursing Home Liable for Elder Abuse and Neglect?

In the majority of cases where elder abuse or neglect has happened, then the responsibility primarily lies with the nursing home. Generally speaking, the nursing home is liable in the following circumstances:

  • Where training of staff can be proven to be inadequate
  • Poor hiring practices, for example, where no background checks have been carried out
  • Inadequate supervision and oversight of staff
  • Lack of adequate security
  • Low provision of basic needs such as food and water
  • Medical negligence, such as not providing medication or other healthcare services
  • The nursing home failing to protect patients from health and safety risks
  • Use of restraints which could be defined as unreasonable and unneeded
  • Staff members at any level deliberately physically or psychologically abusing people in their care

Nursing Home Abuse Cases Under Investigation

If you know that a loved one is not receiving proper care in a long term care facility, then you can report that nursing home to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. The department will then send a team to investigate any accusations and produce a detailed report. You and your attorney are entitled to a copy of this report and it can be a major part of the evidence in any suit filed against a nursing home or other parties.

Nursing Home Abuse Warning Signs

If you have a family member or loved one in a long term care facility, there are several signs which may indicate that elder abuse or neglect is occurring. If you notice any of these signs and do not receive satisfactory answers, then it is time to talk to the authorities and an attorney.

How Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Can Help

Depending on the severity of the abuse or neglect, our experienced attorneys will seek to mediate with the nursing home owners or management to see if the issue can be resolved. If that step fails, or if the level of incidents is too severe, then your attorney will take steps to file a lawsuit.

Expert Knowledge of Nursing Home Abuse Law

Our attorneys have in-depth knowledge and experience of nursing home abuse law in Michigan, nursing homes are regulated at both federal and state level, and these regulations cover everything from certification to compliance and complaints.

How To Work With a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

To establish a successful relationship with your attorney, there are certain things they expect from you:

  • Honesty and transparency, even if some information could have a negative influence on the case
  • Reporting the abuse as soon as you are aware it is happening
  • Providing all evidence you have of the abuse, including a timeline and any witnesses
  • Committing to working with your attorney until the case is concluded
  • Accepting that these cases can often take a long time to finish

Signs and Indicators of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

The fact that abuse or neglect is happening in a long term care facility is not always obvious. Sometimes the signs can be subtle, especially when any abuse is deliberate. Acquaint yourself with the common signs of abuse then take appropriate action if you spot any,

The Nursing Home Reform Act

The NHRA is a federal law that all facilities seeking Medicare or Medicaid funding must comply with. Individual states are responsible for ensuring such facilities do comply. Michigan has incorporated many of the NHRA’s requirements into state laws which means the NHRA regulations cover all nursing homes in the state.

Final Thoughts

It is thought that 1 in 10 people over the age of 60 have been abused. And one study showed that just under 25% of nursing home residents had experienced physical abuse at least once.

These are depressing statistics for a demographic group that we, as a nation, should be caring for. What may be more depressing is how underreported these cases might be. One New York study estimated only 1 in 25 cases were reported.

If you suspect your loved one or family member is experiencing any form of abuse in a long term care facility, you should take immediate action.

We offer a free initial appointment to discuss your case in confidence. You can call us toll-free at any time, day or night at 1-866-MICH-LAW to arrange an appointment or to make an inquiry.

Our law firm never charges a fee unless we win your case.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Steve is a former criminal justice worker. With degrees in psychology and social work, he spent most of his life helping those with addiction issues before switching to criminal justice. He was responsible for writing court reports and advising judges on sentencing. He also supervised offenders, including sex offenders, in the community and carried out risk assessments and probation appraisals. He now lives in SE Asia and is working on his 5th novel.



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