When we make the decision to put a loved one in a nursing home, we don’t expect that they will be subject to abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, elder abuse is all too common in our country – including in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and other types of care facilities. According to the National Council on Aging, approximately 5 million older Americans are subjected to physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and other forms of mistreatment each year.
If you believe that a nursing home resident is being abused, you can file a report with the New York Department of Health, Nursing Homes, and ICF/IID Surveillance. This agency is responsible for investigating complaints and other incidents involving nursing homes in New York. In addition, you may be able to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit with the help of an experienced attorney.
At the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, we are fierce advocates for our clients – including residents in nursing homes who have suffered abuse. We offer free initial consultations and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to talk to a nursing home abuse lawyer, give our law firm a call today.
What Agency Oversees Nursing Homes in New York?
The New York Department of Health, Nursing Homes, and ICF/IID Surveillance is responsible for investigating complaints and incidents that may be related to violations of state and/or federal regulations related to care facilities. A written complaint can be filed by a victim of nursing home abuse, a family member, or another concerned party.
The Department of Health makes its Nursing Home Complaint Form available online in a number of languages. You can fill out the form online, or print it out and mail, email, or fax it to the Department of Health. Alternatively, you can call the Nursing Home Complaint Hotline at 1-888-201-4563.
Investigations are conducted by the Centralized Complaint Intake Unit. An investigation may include interviewing nursing home staff and residents, conducting on-site inspections, reviewing medical records, and analyzing other evidence, such as facility records. The investigation aims to determine whether the nursing home has violated a federal and/or state regulation.
If the investigators determine that a facility has violated regulations in some way, the Department of Health will issue a citation to the home. The facility will then be required to submit a plan of correction to the Department and correct the deficient practice.
If your loved one is living in an adult home or assisted living facility, the process is slightly different. The Department of Health also oversees these facilities through a different program. To make a complaint about an adult care facility, you can call 1-866-893-6772 or fill out the long-term care (LTC) ombudsman complaint form.
Filing a complaint with the appropriate state agencies is an important step. However, it may not always be sufficient to truly help a nursing home resident achieve justice after they have suffered abuse and/or neglect. In this situation, you may also file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault facility or staff to get the financial compensation your loved one deserves for their losses.
How to Spot Potential Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse can take many forms, including:
- Physical abuse
- Financial exploitation
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional or psychological abuse
In many situations, it can be hard to spot the signs of nursing home abuse because seniors may experience medical and mental health issues that can make it difficult for them to report what happened to them. Nursing home staff or others may also explain away bruises or injuries as related to a medical condition.
This makes it all the more important for anyone with a family member in a care facility to know the signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect. Common signs of abuse and neglect include when a nursing home resident :
- Seems depressed, confused, or withdrawn;
- Is isolating themselves from friends and family;
- Has unexplained burns, cuts, bruises, or scars;
- Appears dirty, underfed, dehydrated, over- or under-medicated;
- Has bedsores or another preventable condition; and/or
- Has recent or unexplained changes in banking or spending patterns.
If you notice one or more of these signs, it may be an indication that your loved one is being abused or neglected. This could be due to purposeful conduct, like financial exploitation, or issues like inadequate staffing that lead to poor quality of care. If possible, talk to your loved one about what is happening and try to learn as much as you can about the situation.
Filing a report with the state is a good starting point if you believe that your family member is being abused or neglected at their care facility. Depending on the situation, you may also file a lawsuit against the nursing home, its administrators, staff, or others responsible for the abuse or neglect. Through this type of claim, you can recover financial compensation for your loved one’s injuries and related losses, such as the cost of medical treatment and moving to a new facility. An experienced New York nursing home abuse attorney can help you determine what your options are and can advocate for your loved one.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
We put a great deal of trust into caregivers for our family members. When that trust is violated, it can be hard to know how to respond. A good first step is filing a complaint with the New York Department of Health. You may also choose to file a lawsuit against the facility.
At the Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, we are fierce advocates for our clients, including residents of nursing homes who have been abused or neglected. We will take on the nursing home – and their insurance company – on your behalf to get justice for your loved one. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a New York nursing home abuse lawyer, give us a call at 914-220-1086 or fill out our online contact form.