When someone checks into a nursing home, they expect to receive adequate care and attention to meet their living needs. Generally, residents can expect to receive meals, medical care, bathing care and other services that they require to live a quality life. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes live up to their end of the bargain in this regard, and there are many cases in which nursing homes neglect their patients to such a degree that they are in violation of the law.
One of the most important laws that governs the activities of nursing homes is the Nursing Home Reform Act, which became law in 1987. This act details the kinds of services nursing homes have to provide their residents. It also creates a standard level for these services.
Nursing home services required under the NHRA
Some of the services that the NHRA requires include:
- Nursing services
- Rehab services
- Social services
- Medication services
- Food and meal services
- A full-time social worker for larger nursing facilities
- Periodic reassessment of each resident's care needs
A plan for monitoring compliance with nursing home requirements
In addition to establishing the above requirements, the NHRA also establishes a plan for monitoring whether nursing facilities are complying with the law. States must conduct regular and unannounced surveys of all nursing facilities.
Nursing home surveys include interviewing the residents at least one time within a 15-month period. The surveys look closely to ensure that the facilities are respecting the legal rights of residents and providing quality care. The surveys also look to ensure that the residents are enjoying a high quality of life and benefiting from all required services. In addition to the above, nursing home inspectors also carry out investigations of complaints by individual residents.
When nursing homes fail to comply with the NHRA
When nursing homes fail to comply with the NHRA, they face the threat of penalties and sanctions such as:
- A directed plan of correction
- A directed training of staff members
- Continued monitoring by the state
- Civil penalties of a monetary nature
- Denials of payment for new Medicaid and Medicare admissions
- Denials of payment for existing Medicare and Medicaid patients.
- Cancellation of the nursing home's provider agreement
- Temporary management of the nursing home
Was your loved one victimized by nursing home neglect?
Nursing home residents who have suffered from neglect may have the option to pursue damage claims in court. If you or a loved one has suffered from any kind of nursing home neglect or abuse, make sure you learn about your legal rights and options.