Who Monitors Nursing Homes for Abuse?

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It is sad, but true that roughly four million elderly people suffer some sort of psychological or physical neglect or abuse in nursing homes each year, either due to accidents or the intentional negligence of employees or some third party.

The tricky question is who is responsible when an elderly citizen is injured in a nursing home?  Nursing homes owe a strict duty of care to elderly residents, especially due to the important and broad nature of the services that are provided to a resident of the nursing home: medical care, food, shelter, and hygiene. Therefore, staff members at a nursing home have a responsibility to provide medication and prepare and deliver food to these elderly members on time. They also assist with physical activities, therapy, hygiene, and assist in various other settings or activities that a senior may need.

Nursing homes can be held responsible if they offer negligent training to staff or if they negligently hire staff by failing to perform adequate background checks. If they fail to properly monitor staff or they fail to provide appropriate and adequate security, they are also accountable.  When they fail to provide necessities of living such as water and food or failed to address medical needs and provide medication, they are guilty of abuse. If they fail to protect members from health and safety hazards, make use of dangerous physical restraints, or allow any staff member to intentionally abuse an elderly person, they can be sued. If any of the above instances can be proven, then the nursing home will be held legally liable for all resulting damages.

There are exceptions where the nursing home staff or the nursing home itself may not be responsible for the senior’s injuries. If a medical device or equipment malfunctioned and caused the injury of the elderly resident, that party, the contractors or equipment manufacturer, is responsible for those injuries.

Nursing homes can be regulated by a combination of state and federal authorities. All assets of the nursing home such as residential care, policies and procedures, staffing and medical equipment are monitored by each agency, each of which has its own regulations. Nursing homes have a legal obligation to comply with state and federal regulations and be cooperative when inspections of the facility are conducted and assure compliance with the regulations.

These inspections are usually referred to as surveys and are usually unannounced and done at least once per year. However, if the nursing home has a prior history of violations or complaints, these surveys may be conducted more frequently. If you know of someone who is likely being abused at a nursing home and you’d like to know more about what can be done for them, you should consider hiring a nursing home abuse lawyer in Detroit.