Tempe Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys
Aggressive attorneys for nursing home residents who suffer physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse or careless neglect
According to the National Institutes of Health, “On any given day, approximately 1.6 million people live in approximately 17,000 licensed nursing homes, and another estimated 900,000 to 1 million live in an estimated 45,000 residential care facilities.” These residents and their families expect that nursing homes will take care of them during their later years in life. They shouldn’t have to worry that supervisors, staff, and any visitors to the premise may abuse them or take advantage of them because they’re older or in ill health.
At Plattner Verderame, P.C., our Tempe nursing home lawyers fight for anyone who is abused while a resident of a nursing home or any other long-term care facility. This includes holding the home and any individuals who work for the home accountable for neglect or abuse. We work with gerontologists and other health professionals who specialize in diagnosing and providing care for the older. We also use the court discovery process to determine what happened, why it happened, and why the abuse or neglect should not have occurred.
How do Tempe nursing homes rank?
Medicare.gov’s Nursing Home Compare website allows you to review nursing homes throughout the country. Based on their records, there are only two nursing home facilities in Tempe proper – Friendship Village of Tempe and Westchester Care Center – which have a 5-star and 4-star overall ranking, respectively.
The website offers another benefit, too; it has a symbol next to homes that have been cited for abuse. It is worth noting that some of the homes with citations also have 4-star rankings, so it is critical that you do your research when choosing a home for your loved one of your yourself. You should also remember that the Medicare.gov website will not include reviews of facilities which don’t take Medicare, and may also exclude assisted living facilities.
Types of nursing home abuse
There are four basic types of nursing home abuse:
- Physical abuse. This is generally the type of abuse that is easiest to verify.
- Emotional abuse. This type of abuse can be hard to detect. Often family members notice the abuse before the resident does.
- Sexual abuse. Sexual abuse includes any non-consensual touching of a patient in a private part of their body. It includes non-consensual intercourse or fondling. As a general rule, nobody who works for the nursing home should have sex with a resident.
- Financial abuse. Often staff workers try to take advantage of a resident’s dementia or old age by having the resident sign financial documents such as checks or powers of attorneys in favor of the staff member.
What constitutes negligence in a Tempe nursing home?
Nursing homes should understand that their residents will have mobility difficulties. Some will suffer from dementia. Nursing homes need to ensure that the homes are properly designed and that the staff is properly trained. The following concerns should be addressed to reduce the risk of resident injury:
- Slip and fall prevention. This includes guard-rails and the ability to get in and out of a bath. It includes hallways that have room for walkers. Floors should be regularly inspected for broken tiles, and furniture should be designed and placed to make access easier for residents.
- Bedsores. Residents should be moved or rotated regularly so they don’t suffer bedsores.
- Prompt medical care. Any bruises, cuts, wounds, or injuries should be attended to promptly, and changes in medication must be documented. Overuse of physical or chemical restraints can be a sign of neglect or a sign of abuse.
- Cleanliness. Nursing homes should ensure that residents’ hygiene is maintained, and that the facility itself is free of mold or debris.
- Nutritional defects. Malnutrition and dehydration can lead to severe, even life-threatening conditions. Patients on feeding tubes need even more attention, as a blockage can lead to infection or starving.
The Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights
Nursing home residents and families should understand that the residents do have rights. These rights are set forth in federal law - the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law. These rights include:
- Right to a Dignified Existence. This includes freedom from abuse and neglect; to be treated with respect, to a homelike environment where possible, to security of possession, and other rights.
- Right to Self-Determination. This right includes “a person-centered plan of care that incorporates personal and cultural preferences,” the right to request or refuse treatment, and other rights.
- Right to be Fully Informed of many things such as the risks and benefits of proposed treatments, written notice before a change in roommate, and notices in languages the resident understands
- Right to Raise Grievances without fear of retaliation, to prompt resolution of grievances, and to file a complaint “with the long-term care ombudsman program or the state survey agency.”
- Right to Access to visitors of the resident’s choosing (including refusing visitors), medical and personal records, participation in social, community and religious activities, and other rights
- Rights Regarding Financial Affairs including the right not to be charged for services covered by Medicare or Medicaid and the right manage his/her financial affairs
- Right to Privacy regarding medical, financial, and person matters – along with other related rights
- Rights During Discharge/Transfer such as appealing the proposed transfer, advance notice of a discharge or transfer, and “notice of the right to return to the facility after hospitalization or therapeutic leave.”
Nursing homes that obtain federal funding (most do through Medicaid or Medicare) are bound to comply with this federal law or risk losing their funding, civil claims, and statutory penalties.
Help for Tempe nursing home residents
If you believe your loved one is being abused or neglected in a long-term care facility, or if you believe that a nursing home is breaking the law in some way, you can contact the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP):
- Maricopa County Area Agency on Aging, Region One: 602-264-2255
- Navajo Area Agency on Aging: 602-542-6454 or 602-542-6432
- Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, 21 Tribal Nations: 602-258-4822
Residents who are abused or suffer harm through neglect may be unable to accurately describe what has happened to them, which means an investigation into the abuse is a critical component of your case. Our attorneys understand how to conduct such an investigation, and to gather the evidence needed. We work with professionals who can help the resident get the health care they need and who can help the resident explain what happened and why they’re hurting – especially if the resident has cognitive difficulties.
We also know how to deal with mandatory arbitration agreements, which are often part of nursing homes’ contracts. In some cases, the arbitration clause is unenforceable, which means you can still proceed with litigation. If arbitration cannot be avoided, we can handle that, too. Partner Richard Plattner has been recognized for his arbitration work, and can help you through the process.
Speak with an experienced Tempe Arizona nursing home lawyer today
Don’t let your loved one suffer in silence. Help your loved parent, sibling, relative or friend understand and assert their rights by reviewing their rights with a skilled Tempe nursing home lawyer. At Plattner Verderame, we’ve been fighting for injury victims since 1981. We’ll meet with your relative, investigate your claim, and help your loved one file the proper legal claims to stop the abuse and to seek compensation for any wrongs. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 602.266.2002 or contact us today.