New York City Nursing Home Abuse & Negligence Attorneys
As our society ages, more people may require long-term care in a nursing home or assisted living facility. While most facilities provide quality care to their patients, incidents of abuse and neglect are not uncommon. Elder abuse often involves physical and emotional abuse, while patients who are neglected are at a high risk of being injured in falls and other accidents. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home negligence, it is important to know your rights.
Scaffidi & Associates is a premier personal injury law firm serving clients throughout the greater New York area. We are dedicated to holding negligent nursing homes accountable for negligence, and protecting the most vulnerable members our society. We have a well-deserved reputation for providing our clients with aggressive legal representation and helping them obtain justice.
What is nursing home abuse?
In a nursing home setting, abuse can include both physical and emotional abuse.
- Physical abuse — Involves assault, battery, sexual assault, unreasonable physical constraints, prolonged deprivation of food and water, or the unauthorized use of physical or chemical restraints as a means of punishment.
- Emotional abuse — Patients may be subjected to verbal abuse, or be intentionally ignored or isolated, which can lead to pain and suffering that diminishes their well-being.
While physical abuse can be more easily detected by bruises, scrapes, or other injuries on the patient, emotional abuse is more difficult to identify; however, warning signs include changes in the victim’s behavior or personality.
What is nursing home neglect?
Nursing home neglect is more subtle than abuse, and typically occurs when patients are not properly supervised, often as a result of inexperienced or poorly trained staff. Neglected nursing home patients can sustain injuries or illnesses such as:
- Falls — Wet floors, beds that are too high, and poorly fitted wheelchairs are common causes of nursing home falls. Nursing homes are required to design a care plan when a resident enters a facility, to determine the amount of assistance a patient will need to move around the facility safely. In addition, nursing homes have a duty to ensure there is adequate personnel on hand to help patients walk and to prevent injuries.
- Pressure Sores — Nursing home patients who are not properly attended to are at risk of developing pressure sores or bed sores, which can be extremely painful and may cause life-threatening complications. Bedridden patients must be regularly turned, kept clean and dry, and receive proper hydration and nourishment. Pressure sores can also be prevented through the use of technologically advanced mattresses and cushions.
- Wandering or Elopement — Patients suffering from mental impairments or memory loss resulting from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease require special care and supervision so that they do not wander away from the facility (referred to as elopement), which can put themselves and other patients at great risk of bodily harm and death.
- Malnutrition or Dehydration — Nursing home residents must be properly hydrated and nourished. Neglected patients often suffer from malnutrition or dehydration that can lead to undue pain and suffering and even death.
Why are patients injured in nursing homes?
Nursing home injuries frequently happen in facilities that put profits ahead of patient care, or try to cut costs by hiring workers who lack proper training or not hiring adequate staff. When a patient receives inadequate medical treatment or is poorly supervised, however, catastrophic injuries and illnesses can occur, sometimes resulting in death.
These tragedies are compounded by the fact that nursing homes often seek to avoid liability through the use of arbitration clauses in admissions contracts. Such clauses require patients to agree to waive their right to pursue a lawsuit and resolve disputes through arbitration. Thus, incidents of abuse and neglect are withheld from the public. This leaves many families unaware of a nursing home’s history when they are choosing a facility for their loved one. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the Department of Health and Human Services now prohibits the use of arbitration clauses by nursing homes that receive federal reimbursements through the Medicaid program, which applies to many assisted living facilities.
How to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
If you are considering entering or placing a loved one in a nursing home, it is crucial to obtain as much information as possible. Patients and their families should visit the facility, meet with the doctors and staff, and make sure that the environment is safe and clean, adequately staffed, and that patients are well cared for. Additionally, various state and federal agencies rank nursing homes on factors such as the patients’ quality of life, staffing levels, and training, and annual health inspections and such rankings are available to the public. Finally, obtaining referrals from a treating physician or close friends and relatives, can also be helpful in choosing a nursing home.
We Fight for the Rights of Nursing Home Patients
At Scaffidi and Associates, our legal team is dedicated to rooting out nursing home abuse and neglect, and helping our clients obtain justice. Knowing that many nursing homes are owned and operated by large corporations that often deny any liability for nursing home injuries, we leverage of skills and resources to level the playing field. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home negligence, don’t suffer in silence. We know how to help you obtain just compensation, and will make sure you receive the care that you deserve. Call our office today or complete the online contact form to set up a consultation.