Health care facilities do not share the same standard of care laws, and this can determine whether an elder has suffered neglect or elderly abuse under the law.
In order to understand whether a facility has breached a standard of care for yourself or a loved one, you or your lawyer will have to review the regulations governing these facilities. Here’s a legal overview:
Four Types of Health Care Facilities
Federally regulated standards of care depend on how an institution is classified. The federal government has four classifications of health care facilities:
- adult boarding facilities,
- residential care facilities
- intermediate care facilities
- skilled nursing facilities
These facilities are typically nursing homes and long-term care facilities that furnish shelter, prepare nutritious food, and provide nursing and daily care for sick, aged, or infirm persons. While these facilities are not strictly considered hospitals, in that they do not necessarily render medical treatment, they may be considered hospitals for certain purposes, depending on various laws that govern their operation.
National standards for nursing homes serving as “extended care facilities” are contained in the Federal Medicare Health Insurance Program for the Aged.
Standard of Care under Federal Elder Abuse Laws
A resident in a nursing facility that participates in the Medicare program has the right, under statute, to be free from:
- physical and mental abuse, and
- any physical or chemical restraint that is imposed for purposes of discipline or convenience, rather than to treat a medical condition.
Restraints may be used upon the written order of a physician who specifies the duration and circumstances under which the restraints are to be used, but only to insure the safety of the resident or other residents.
The Secretary of Health and Human Services has the authority to specify circumstances in which emergency use of restraints is permitted until such an order can reasonably be obtained.
Guidelines to Uphold Federal Elder Abuse Laws
Under federal elder abuse law guidelines, each nursing facility must develop and implement written policies and procedures prohibiting mistreatment, neglect, or abuse of residents.
Each facility must also insure that all alleged violations of the foregoing policies are immediately reported to the facility administrator or other officials, and must demonstrate that all alleged policy violations are thoroughly investigated. Additionally, they must prevent further potential abuse while an investigation is in progress, report investigation results to the administrator or other officials within five working days of the alleged incident and, if the alleged violation is verified, take appropriate corrective action.
A resident in such a nursing facility is entitled to receive verbal and written notice of the rights and services to which he or she is entitled during his/her stay in the facility. This notice must be given prior to or upon admission, and periodically throughout the resident’s stay, in a language the resident understands. The resident must acknowledge his or her receipt of such notice in writing.
Get Help & More Information
To report elderly abuse or neglect contact Adult Protective Services immediately and contact us for legal advice on protecting your loved one or recovering from loss.
You should also research the South Carolina NURSING HOME PATIENT BILL OF RIGHTS
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Contact the Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers at the Strom Law Firm LLC at 803-252-4800
Federal Nursing Home Regulations