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Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing homes have a solemn duty to safeguard and care for the sick, vulnerable, infirm and elderly who are entrusted to their care. When that trust is breached, whether intentionally or negligently, the residential health care facility may be answerable to pay compensatory damages suffered as a result of such deprivation.

New York State has promulgated specific laws which codify the rights of patients in residential health care facilities such as a nursing home. A “private right” of action is created under Public Health Law Section 2801-d for deprivation of any right or benefit listed in Public Health Law 2803-c and facilities may be found liable for injuries suffered as a result of such deprivation of rights.

The list of rights are expansive. They include the following basic rights:

  • The right to civil and religious liberties.
  • The right to receive courteous, fair, and respectful care and treatment.
  • The right to be free from mental and physical abuse and physical and chemical restraints except those restraints authorized in writing by a physician for a specified and limited period of time or are necessitated by an emergency in which case the restraint may only be applied by a qualified licensed nurse who shall set forth in writing the circumstances requiring the use of restraint and in the case of use of a chemical restraint a physician shall be consulted within twenty four hours.
  • The right to have private communications and consultations with a physician, attorney and any other person.
  • The right to present grievances on behalf of himself or others, and to join with other patients or individuals within or outside the facility to work for improvements, without fear of reprisals.
  • The right to manage his or her own financial affairs and to receive a quarterly accounting of any personal transactions undertaken in his or her behalf by the facility during the period of time the patient has delegated such responsibilities to the facility.
  • The right to receive adequate and appropriate medical care.
  • The right to be fully informed of his or her medical condition.
  • The right to be fully informed of any proposed treatment unless medically contraindicated and the right to refuse medication and treatment after being fully informed of and understanding the consequences of such action.
  • The right of privacy in treatment and in caring for personal needs.
  • The right to receive kosher food products.
  • The right to receive halal food products.

Unfortunately many residential health care facilities violate the rights of residents. The law affords the residents and patients protection in the form of the right to bring suit for damages both under the New York State statutes and other relevant laws.

Drug Abuse – Chemical Restraints

Abuse and maltreatment may come in many forms. Sometimes the abuse or neglect is obvious. But there may be many other forms of abuse which are more insidious but no less pervasive. Abuse can take the form of the use of chemical restraint through the over medication of residents with anti-psychotic drugs. This results in reducing the patient to prolonged period of sleep and lethargy

Pressure Sores

Abuse and neglect can also take the form of inattention which results in the development of pressure sores. These sores are painful and dangerous to the life of the patient.

Falls And Other Accidents Caused By Neglect

Of course, neglect and inattention can result in patient falls which can be devastating in the elderly and infirm.
The vulnerable require protection. The law can help level the playing field. It can serve as an important vehicle to protect and remediate the effects of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and other residential care facilities.

 

 

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