October 20, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Options to Enforce Nursing Home Standards Keep Operators Honest
Nursing home residents in California have a set of rights and when violated those rights should be enforced. A common violation among nursing homes is the failure to meet nurse-staffing standards, and the failure of nursing homes to meet staff requirements can lead to inadequate care, injury or even death. Fortunately, a California appeals court recently ruled that nursing home residents have multiple ways to enforce their rights regarding this violation.
Appellate Ruling Allows Nursing Home Residents to Directly Sue
A group of nursing home residents sued the owner of 16 nursing homes in Alameda County for failing to enforce nurse-staffing standards at least 35 percent of the time over a four-year time period. A Superior Court judge initially dismissed the case in favor of the nursing home operator, arguing only state regulators can enforce nursing home staffing requirements. But, the nursing home residents appealed and a state appeals court reinstated the case, allowing the residents to enforce their rights without indirectly enforcing them through state regulators. The ruling may assist another group of nursing home residents who also sued their nursing home for inadequate staffing and an unsafe living environment.
Allegations of Second Nursing Home Lawsuit
The five nursing home residents claim that the nursing home staff failed to answer resident call buttons in a timely manner by not responding for 30 to 60 minutes. The residents also claim that care takers left residents in soiled undergarments for hours, that residents are not regularly bathed and developed preventable pressure sores. The lawsuit also alleges that residents injured themselves from preventable falls, that staff stole the residents' food, and that residents are over-medicated.
How to Report Violations of Nursing Home Standards
The ability of residents to enforce nursing home standards without the help of state regulators further incentivizes nursing homes to prevent future oversights and violations. Nursing home residents and family members are not the only people who can take action if nursing home abuse or violations are spotted. Any person can file a complaint about a nursing home with the Licensing and Certification Division of the California Department of Public Health.
Complaints can be made anonymously and can be made over the phone or in writing. If the complaint is made over phone, it's helpful to file a written complaint to create a record. When writing a complaint, the complainant should focus on the facts and avoid stating generalities. According to the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a complaint should contain the following information:
-Name and address of the facility
-Your name, address, phone number, and relation to the resident
-Name of the resident on whose behalf the complaint is made
-Date and time of the incident
-Names of witnesses, such as care providers
-Names of staff
-Records that should be examined
The DPH must start the investigation within a certain time limit and within 24 hours of the filing of the complaint if the complaint involves imminent danger. A complainant has certain rights including the right to receive the findings made by DPH and to respond to its findings.
When coupled with the services of experienced nursing home abuse attorneys, the complaint process can help keep a watchful eye over nursing homes and care-givers. If you or a family member suspect nursing home abuse or nursing home violations, contact an experienced elder abuse attorney who can help enforce a resident's legal rights.
Article provided by The Law Office of Kevin P. Kane, Esq.
Visit us at http://www.kevinpkane.com---
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