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People who cannot live on their own due to medical reasons, but do not need to stay in a hospital, usually opt to stay in nursing homes. These facilities are home to mostly elderly residents, with those aged 85 to 94 being the largest share, in need of long-term care. Some of the common medical concerns among nursing home residents are depression, bladder and bowel incontinence, weight loss, pressure sores, and severe cognitive impairment.

In 2014, there were more than 15,000 nursing homes in the United States; 11,000 of which are for profit. In 2015, the state of California had the highest number of nursing homes in all of the US with more than 1,200 facilities.

The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is an important decision to make – as you are entrusting the health, safety, and welfare of your family member to the hands of people you do not know; which is why it is important to know the laws and regulations that surround nursing homes.

Under the Nursing Home Act of 1987, nursing homes must provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care. All residents must be given a comprehensive plan of care created with the patient in mind and with input from the patient or their loved ones, as well as physicians and other experts.

  • Patients have basic rights, which include maintaining a mental and psychosocial state, maintaining quality of life, and maintaining their own finances and personal properties.
  • Residents have the right to take an active role in deciding their comprehensive care plan – their medical and living needs. They also have the right to not be restrained.
  • Nursing homes are required to meet all nutritional needs of the patient, and give them proper medication when needed, and provide a safe and clean space to live.

The Nursing Home Act also requires facilities to have sufficient nursing staff and use its resources effectively and efficiently. They must also maintain accurate, complete, and easily accessible clinical records on every resident.

Nursing Home Abuse

It is unfortunate that abuse happens in nursing homes, so it is important to always watch for signs of abuse in your loved one whenever you visit them. Here are some of signs you can watch out for:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Bruises and bleeding wounds
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Unexplained infections or diseases
  • Sudden and unexplained changes to their last will and testament
  • Sudden and unexplained changes to power of attorney
  • Financial problems

Upon seeing signs of abuse and neglect, doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals in the nursing home are required to report them as soon as possible.

The National Center on Elder Abuse provides a guide on how to report abuse on their website. If you suspect that your loved one is in immediate, life-threatening danger, call 911.

Once the abuse has been reported, it is best to hire a lawyer who has experience in nursing home abuse cases.

Contact us at Hogan Injury for expert legal advice.

None of the content on is legal advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified lawyer. Please consult a legal professional for further information.

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