Nursing home patients are unique because they need almost constant attention, physically and mentally. Though this is what our loved ones deserve, it is often not the treatment they receive. Studies have shown that between one and two million Americans over the age of 65 have been victims of nursing home abuse or neglect.
These abuses are generally split into the categories of physical, emotional, sexual, and financial. Even more problematic, it is often difficult for a nursing home resident to communicate that they are being abused. Studies show that only 1 in 14 incidents are brought to the attention of authorities. As a result, many nursing home abuse victims never receive relief from their abuse or justice for their suffering.
Has someone you love been mistreated in a nursing home? If so, a skilled attorney can work to seek compensation for any abuse that may have occurred, while simultaneously ensuring that your loved one receives the quality treatment they deserve. Fill out the no-obligation form on the right for a free case review from one of Morgan & Morgan’s dedicated Memphis nursing home lawyers.
Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi Nursing Homes
In a report released by AARP, The Commonwealth Fund and The SCAN Foundation, southern states are shown to lag far behind in providing reasonably priced, high-quality long-term care support services for the elderly. The State Long-Term Services and Supports Scorecard (LTSS) shows that Tennessee’s nursing homes rank 45th in the country for long-term care of the elderly. Further, roughly half of the states surrounding Tennessee fall into the bottom quartile of states in providing quality care for the elderly.
In the report, Arkansas comes in at 37th and Mississippi comes in an alarming 51st (the list includes Washington DC).This dreadful state of affairs leaves open the possibility of serious violations of aging adults in our region.
Memphis Nursing Home Laws
As nursing home abuse becomes more prevalent, states have moved to curtail its reach by passing laws and statutes concerning elderly care facilities. Tennessee has its own rules and regulations codified under the Tennessee Adult Protection Act. In Tennessee, abuse means “the infliction of physical pain, injury, or mental anguish, or the deprivation of services by a caretaker which are necessary to maintain the health and welfare of an adult, or a situation in which an adult is unable to provide or obtain the services which are necessary to maintain that person’s health or welfare.”
In Tennessee and in many other states, any person (including physicians, social workers, nurses, etc.) having reasonable cause to suspect that an adult has suffered abuse, neglect, or exploitation, must report any such findings to their supervisor or to the relevant law enforcement agency. Upon receipt of this information, supervisors must initiate a formal investigation that may result in action against the perpetrator of abuse, the calling of protective services, or one of various other options.
Criminal and Civil Penalties
Tennessee law takes nursing home abuse very seriously, and has made it possible for violators to be held criminally and civilly liable. Physical abuse or gross neglect of an impaired adult resulting in serious mental or physical harm is punishable as an aggravated assault. This abuse can include neglect that leads to bedsores, burns, bruises from hitting, UTIs, force-feeding, the use of chemical restraints, and many other commonly reported infractions. In addition to other remedies provided by law, an elderly person or someone acting on their behalf is granted the right of recovery in a civil action for compensatory damages for abuse or neglect, sexual abuse or exploitation, or theft of such person’s money or property whether by fraud, deceit, coercion or otherwise.
How an Attorney Can Help You
Each state has nursing home abuse resources including hotlines, help lines, information, explanations of the law, and links to relevant organizations. In order to receive the greatest possible outcome though, quality legal representation is very important. If you have a loved one that you believe may be the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you may be able to pursue justice through a nursing home lawsuit.
As elder care facilities have powerful attorneys and engage in complex litigation, it is necessary to have an experienced attorney on your side to help you navigate the process. Fill out our free case evaluation form to see if your loved one may be eligible to receive compensation for their pain and suffering and to ensure that they receive the best quality future care possible.