It’s not enough to be convinced of a problem when it comes to the law. You also need to be able to provide proof. Some matters face tougher challenges on this front than others, few are as difficult to untangle as nursing home negligence.
A nursing home exists as both a residential institution and a medical one. These overlapping needs create a lot of paperwork. On top of that, elders placed in an assisted living situation already have issues regarding injury and awareness.
It’s difficult –and painful for the resident and family—to address whether deteriorating is a result of poor care of natural progression. All these elements combine to make proving negligence a trying experience.
The first step to providing proof is to file a report. This establishes a claim of conditions and issues regarding your loved one and their care. Without a report, there is nothing to compile evidence for or against.
The reporting procedures for elder abuse and nursing home neglect help you get started. Reports to agencies like the national Center on Elder Abuse are anonymous and treated with care to avoid revealing specifics that can focus reprisal.
They also provide guidelines and recommendations on if moving a resident is needed and will provide information on contacting local law enforcement for intervention.
Know that reporting issues is unlikely to see a direct resolution. Research shows that almost 85% of facilities have had a report made against them in the last year.
Many times, these reports result in an internal investigation and an assertion of policy.
While these can be sufficient if there is one bad actor or negligence stemming from poor job performance, it does little for widespread or systemic issues.
As a care facility is a business, they have a vested interest to take care of issues quietly with a minimum financial burden. It’s far easier for them to fire someone than address the underlying issue.
Even that can be seen as an admission of guilt. Businesses avoid taking responsibility so that they don’t open themselves up to further investigations or other lawsuits.
If pushed, they will respond with their own legal teams.
Collecting evidence of abuse and neglect is not an easy task. You may not contractually have the ability to install recording devices in your resident’s room. You may also be restricted from the premises if the staff feels you’re a threat.
There’s also the issue of privacy and that residents feeling they are being watched can lead to decline.
What information you are allowed to access and what avenues of redress you are allowed to bring up may be limited. Contractually, the facility may have stipulations to protect them from being watched carefully.
Many of these clauses work for protecting your loved ones from intrusion, but they can also be used to keep you from finding needed information.
Removing a resident to a different location during the period of an investigation may also be a hinderance. To pay for upkeep, medications, and care the facility may have a series of automatic payments in place. Getting these cancelled isn’t easy.
The financial burden sometimes yokes a resident to a facility that is causing them issues.
Compiling sufficient proof of nursing home negligence is no easy task. Situations dealing with the elderly are always problematic and need to be handled delicately. Residents often get caught in the middle of fights between policy and business interests.
Look for experienced legal help from Ingerman & Horwitz to fight for you and your loved one. Contact us for assistance and learn how we can help you.