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How to Report a Nursing Home in New York
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Nursing home neglect or abuse is considered the mistreatment of elderly individuals that reside in nursing home facilities. Shockingly, it’s not a rare occurrence. A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that 66% of nursing home staff admitted to abusing residents in their care. Most cases of abuse are in the form of physical abuse. Thousands of families have to deal with this tragedy every year, and it’s become more common during the pandemic as lack of staff stretches resources and tempers grow amidst overworked nursing home aides.
Nursing home abuse comes in many forms other than physical abuse. It can include psychological abuse, gross neglect, sexual abuse, and even financial exploitation. Just as with any crime, not all victims are able or willing to reveal they have been preyed upon. This is especially true of victims with a cognitive impairment which is an all too common issue with the elderly.
In New York, currently, 101,326 people live in assisted care facilities or nursing homes. When taking the WHO’s study results into account, a significant number of those residents have probably experienced some form of abuse or another. Suppose you suspect someone has abused or neglected your elderly loved one. In that case, you are likely interested in learning how to report a nursing home in NY.
Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.
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What agency oversees nursing homes in New York?
The New York State Department of Health is responsible for investigating complaints about nursing home abuse which are related to State and Federal regulatory violations. While reporting a nursing home for abuse or neglect is of paramount importance, if you need guidance, our NY nursing home abuse lawyers can assist with the entire process. Furthermore, we can counsel you on how to move forward with a claim or lawsuit to gain compensation for medical bills and pain and suffering.
Anyone can file a complaint against a nursing home in NY, and complaints are confidential. It’s advisable that a close family member be the one who files a complaint because that person will be the one to receive correspondence concerning the claim. You’ll need to include all the facts of the complaint, including the names of all parties involved and the details of the neglect or abuse. If you’re unable to use the form, you can call the Nursing Home Complaint hotline at 1-888-201-4563. To file a complaint against an Adult Home or Assisted Living Facility in New York, you’ll need to call 1-866-893-6772.
Serious complaints require Health Department investigators to conduct interviews, analyze medical records and other facility documents. Furthermore, the investigator may need to conduct on-site inspections to make a judgment on the allegations. Suppose it’s found that the nursing home violated regulations. In that case, the nursing home will be issued a citation, and they must submit a plan of correction that is acceptable to the Department of Health.
Additionally, the New York State Office for the Aging (SOFA) has long-term care ombudsmen in each county who can be an advocate for your loved one. An ombudsman is an official who investigates complaints against businesses and public entities lodged by private citizens. They are impartial and independent, so they don’t take sides. They are available to assist you with a complaint against a nursing home. An ombudsman can be reached at 1-800-342-9871.
What are the signs of neglect in a New York nursing home?
An excellent new piece of legislation requires New York nursing homes to form clinical staffing committees to combat staffing shortages that lead to nursing home neglect. Additionally, nursing homes will be required to provide a minimum daily average of 3.5 hours of nursing care per resident. However, this law does not take into account the low wages these workers earn, so staffing shortages are certain to remain a problem in the future, particularly because of the pandemic.
Stories of neglect in New York nursing homes have made families fear for their loved ones, especially when so many residents and staff died from Covid-19 in the first wave of infection. State Health Department inspectors uncovered horrible conditions at the Buffalo Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing during a routine inspection last year. They found a resident lying in a bed with “a foul-smelling yellow-brown liquid substance from their head to their knees.” Another resident who had dementia had escaped and was found wandering around the home’s parking lot. And yet another resident with a history of sexually abusing other residents was found wandering the hallways and common areas with no supervision.
Inadequate staffing is just one reason why nursing home residents may experience neglect. Negligent hiring practices can become a source of neglect. Hiring people who have struggled with drug or alcohol addiction can increase the risk of neglect because statistically, these people are more likely to abuse others. Because nursing home employees are hard to recruit and retain, facilities may even resort to hiring individuals with a criminal history, which is risky because elderly people are very vulnerable.
Government studies have revealed that 92 percent of the facilities they investigated had at least one employee with a criminal conviction. Nearly half of the nursing homes had five or more individuals with criminal backgrounds that ranged from burglary and shoplifting to bad check writing. And, most disturbingly, they found employees that were registered sex offenders.
Poor training can also lead to neglect, and it’s a big problem that is tied to understaffing. New hires are rushed to fill vacancies, and the consequences can be dangerous or even deadly. While much of the nursing home staff will be certified nursing assistants, (CNAs) unlicensed employees will provide support. If they are not trained in policies and procedures, your loved one may be a victim of neglect.
Neglect can come in many forms, including:
Medical neglect - Failure to administer needed medications or inadequate care for residents with health problems can lead to disaster. Immobile residents need to be regularly moved to prevent bedsores. If signs of infection or illness go unreported to nurses or doctors, this is also medical neglect.
Emotional neglect - If a nursing home resident isn’t allowed to visit with friends, family, or other nursing home residents, this is a form of emotional neglect. Humans are inherently social animals. Isolation can have dire consequences for our emotional well-being. The elderly with physical or mental disabilities are at high risk for emotional neglect.
Neglect of personal hygiene - Nursing home residents often need help with laundry, bathing, and dental care. That’s why they are in a facility in the first place. If the elderly are left in soiled clothing or bedding, this can lead to illness or even death.
Neglect of basic needs - A nursing home should be a safe and comfortable environment where residents can enjoy life. When basic necessities like heat and air conditioning are insufficient, or food or water is being withheld, their environment is unsafe.
If your loved one has exhibited any of the following symptoms, they may be the victim of nursing home neglect:
- Bone fractures
- New or untreated medical issues
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Personality changes
- Unexplained injuries
It can be challenging to prove neglect unless there are witnesses. The most vulnerable may not even be able to provide statements because they suffer from illnesses like Alzheimer’s or dementia. If you’re concerned about nursing home neglect, you may be able to prove it with the legal counsel of our nursing home neglect lawyers.
What are the common signs of nursing home abuse?
We understand that you did your due diligence in researching the home where you placed your loved one. Now that you suspect nursing home abuse, you’re flooded with feelings that you failed your family member. Nursing home abuse is not your fault. Instead, it’s in the hands of those you trusted to fulfill their duty of care. We can make sure they are held accountable and can even recover damages for medical costs, therapy, and pain and suffering. Here are telltale signs of nursing home abuse:
- Bedsores By far the most common result of abuse is bedsores. These can be very painful and can escalate to a state that makes them very difficult to treat. In the worst-case scenario, bedsores can lead to death from systemic infection.
- Carelessness resulting in death
- Unauthorized medication
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Physical injuries
What is nursing home exploitation?
Not all nursing home abuse takes a physical form. Some unscrupulous staff may take advantage of your loved ones by manipulating, intimidating, threatening, and coercing them into signing documents or contracts that drain them of their savings or property. The misappropriation of property is another form of exploitation. It occurs when staff take residents’ belongings without their consent for their own use. Typical examples are stealing phones, jewelry, real estate, cash, and clothing.
What happens after reporting nursing home abuse?
Learning how to report a nursing home in NY is the first step towards justice. You and your loved one should be compensated for what occurred. That’s where our nursing home abuse lawyers can help. We understand that money may not be your top priority after such an ordeal. Still, compensation can help make sure your loved one gets the aftercare they need.
The average settlement for nursing home abuse cases is about $400,000, but we’ve seen cases that go into the multi-millions. Getting fair compensation isn’t just about the money. It’s about seeing justice served and sending a message that nursing home abuse will not be tolerated.
Some nursing homes facilities are chain businesses with powerful lawyers that work for them. These lawyers will fight hard to maintain the face of the business. Still, also, they will try to minimize the amount of compensation you get because they’re more concerned about profit than anything else. That’s not right. For decades, our law firm has been going up against corporations on behalf of family members. In fact, our motto is “For the People,” and we really believe in that. When you’re ready to fight back, we are here for you. Contact us today for your free and confidential case evaluation so we can share how we can help.
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