Anyone who makes the difficult decision to place a family member in the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility should expect their loved one to receive the best care and consideration from every employee of that facility. Unfortunately, abuse and neglect occur in nursing homes all too often across New York, often resulting in severe and potentially life-altering harm.
When you experience mistreatment in a nursing home or suspect your family member may be a victim of neglect, including pressure sores, you have a right to take legal action against the responsible party. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you seek the financial compensation your family deserves.
What are the Legal Rights of Rochester Nursing Home Residents?
Under federal and state law, nursing home residents in Rochester and across New York have multiple rights, including:
- The right to a complete and accurate medical record
- The right to a comprehensive admission assessment
- The right to a comprehensive care plan prepared to meet each resident’s medical, nursing and mental psychosocial needs that are identified in the comprehensive assessment
- The right to services in accordance with each resident’s written plan of care
- The right to receive adequate and appropriate medical care
- The right to receive the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being, in accordance with the comprehensive assessment and plan of care
- The right to be ensured that the resident’s abilities in activities of daily living do not diminish unless circumstances of the individual’s clinical condition demonstrate that diminution was unavoidable
- The right to the appropriate treatment and services to maintain or improve his abilities in activities of daily living, including transfer and ambulate
- The right to remain free from pressure sores unless the individual’s clinical condition demonstrates that they were unavoidable despite every reasonable effort to prevent them
- The right to receive necessary treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection and prevent new sores from developing
- The right to have their attending physician notified of a significant decline in their condition or when there is a need to alter treatment significantly
- The right to self-determination in treatment and care for personal needs
- The right to independent personal decisions and knowledge of available choices
- The right to choose . . . health care consistent with his or her interests, assessments and plans of care
- The right to be fully informed by a physician of their total health status including medical conditions, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan
- The right to be fully informed in advance about care and treatment and of any changes in that care or treatment that may affect the resident’s well-being
- The right to participate in planning care and treatment or changes in care and treatment
- The right to sufficient preparation and orientation to ensure a safe and orderly transfer or discharge from the facility in the form of a discharge plan which addresses the medical needs of the resident and how these will be met after discharge
- The right to a discharge summary that includes (1) a recapitulation of the resident’s stay, (2) a final summary of the resident’s status, and (3) a post-discharge plan of care developed to assure that needed medical care and support service have been arranged
- The right to a dignified existence
- The right to be fully informed of one’s medical condition
- The right to inspect all records including clinical records, pertaining to himself or herself within 24 hours after oral or written request
- The right to have clinical records preserved for six years from the date of discharge
- The right to have the facility safeguard clinical record information against loss, destruction, or unauthorized use
Any nursing home facility that violates any of these rights may be liable for any losses the affected resident experiences. New York’s Public Health Law permits claims to be brought by the resident against the offending nursing home for compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney fees. A capable Rochester lawyer can discuss in detail during a private consultation whether suspected nursing home neglect justifies a civil claim.
Who Might be Liable for Nursing Home Mistreatment?
Nursing home abuse can occur in numerous ways and stem from negligent, reckless or intentional misconduct by employees of a nursing home, including nurses, aides, doctors and administrators. Since employers in New York may be held “vicariously liable” for employee misconduct, it is prudent to name facility operators as defendants in these suits—even when only a single staff member abused or neglected a resident. Doing so can ensure the plaintiff receives the maximum compensation possible.
In some cases, partial or primary fault may lie with a third party who is not directly employed or supervised by a nursing home. For example, a healthcare provider may contract with an outside vendor that engages in malpractice to provide services to residents. A knowledgeable attorney in Rochester can clarify who might be at fault for nursing home or assisted living abuse and what damages may be recoverable to the resident or their family.
Discuss Legal Options with a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Rochester
Mistreatment of nursing home residents is never acceptable, regardless of whether it stems from inadvertent neglect or intentional abuse. However, getting a fair result from a lawsuit of this nature can be far from a simple process, especially if you try to pursue your case alone.
Guidance from a knowledgeable Rochester nursing home abuse lawyer can make a tremendous difference in the success of your family’s case. Contact John Wells at Lacy Katzen LLP today for a free consultation.