The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is never easy, especially when the conflicting emotions you feel may be compounded by the fear of nursing home negligence.
Most nursing homes and assisted living facilities provide excellent, compassionate care. However, it’s estimated that an appalling 30% of Idaho nursing homes engage in some type of abuse or neglect – and Kootenai County is no exception. That figure may even be underestimated, as these vulnerable victims are often unable or afraid to speak up.
Nursing Homes Subject to Federal and State Regulations
All nursing homes are subject to federally mandated annual inspection, and in 2008, federal inspectors cited 94% of these facilities were in violation of health and safety standards.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has rigorous regulations for licensing by the state for all skilled nursing and intermediate care facilities. Some of these requirements include infection control, food and environmental sanitation and requirements for criminal histories and background checks on employees and contractors who have direct access to residents.
Forms of Nursing Home Abuse
At the Bendell Law Firm, we’ve seen cases of abuse or neglect appear in nursing home residents as:
- Physical abuse – bruises, wounds, burns, broken bones, unexplained injuries or sudden inexplicable weight loss.
- Mental abuse – depression and withdrawal, disorientation or confusion, fear, or sudden or unusual behavior changes.
- Neglect – bed sores, an untreated medical condition, poor personal hygiene or unsanitary surroundings with unpleasant odors.
- Financial abuse or exploitation – missing or stolen property or money, abrupt or unexplained will changes.
These types of abuse may be intensified by rude, derogatory or humiliating comments by the nursing home staff.
Take Action if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
Attorney James Bendell, personal injury attorney in Coeur D’Alene, wants to protect the rights of your loved one and recommends taking the following steps immediately to stop the negligence from worsening:
- Bring the problem to the attention of the facility manager and ensure that he or she acts promptly to investigate.
- Contact the appropriate state agency if you aren’t satisfied with the response or if the situation doesn’t improve. Contact the National Council on Aging at 1-800-677-1116 or the Idaho Adult Protective Services and Elder Abuse Hotline.
- Reach out to an attorney experienced in nursing home abuse cases to explore possible legal steps.
Call us at 208-215-2255 or visit our website to talk about your options. It takes courage to report suspected nursing home negligence or abuse and Attorney Bendell is expert in bringing justice to a facility that is at fault.