New York City Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

consoling an elderly person

The decision to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home is not an easy one. When seniors can no longer live independently and need round-the-clock care, a long-term care facility is often the best option. When you entrust your loved one to the care of a long-term nursing facility, you expect your loved one will receive quality care and be treated with dignity and respect.  It can be a devastating experience when this does not occur.

Nursing homes, hospices, assisted living facilities, and other elder care providers have a legal responsibility to provide a sufficient level of care to those in their charge. The same applies to home healthcare aides. When a loved one suffers neglect or abuse as a result of their care, you may have a right to pursue legal action. If you suspect neglect or abuse, contact a New York City nursing home injury attorney immediately.

Rights of Nursing Home Residents

Americans are enjoying longer lives and many will eventually require some type of long-term care. In New York, there are 3.4 million people age 60 and older, according to the New York State Department of Aging. With the large number of aging Baby Boomers in New York and across the nation, more people are entering nursing homes for the full-time care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.4 million Americans are living in nursing homes, in 15,700 facilities.

In New York, residents of nursing homes have a Bill of Rights. They include the right to:

  • Treatment with dignity and respect;
  • Quality of care and treatment without discrimination;
  • Self-determination in making decisions;
  • Safe keeping of money and property;
  • Privacy in communication;
  • Freedom to participate in activities of their choice;
  • A responsive complaint procedure; and
  • Freedom to voice grievances without reprisal or discrimination.

According to Medicare, residents also have the right to:

  • Be informed in writing about services and fees before entering a nursing home;
  • Manage their own money or choose someone else to do it for them;
  • Keep their personal belongings, provided it does not interfere with the health, safety, or rights of others;
  • See their own doctors;
  • Refuse medications and treatments;
  • Have a choice over their own schedules, activities, and other preferences; and
  • An environment that maximizes residents’ comfort and assists them to be as independent as possible.

Ways an Elderly Person Can Be Abused

Nursing home abuse may occur in many forms, including malnutrition and dehydration, over-medication, use of unnecessary restraints or confinement, or physical, sexual or financial abuse. Failure to follow procedure or provide attentive care can result in dangerous health conditions such as bedsores, lack of personal hygiene, untreated medical conditions or harmful falls. These are all grounds to file an injury claim.

Elderly people who suffer abuse in long-term facilities are often unable to protect themselves. They are physically and mentally fragile or have cognitive disabilities, and may be too intimidated or incapable of speaking up or reporting any abuse and neglect. It is up to their loved ones to stay in touch, observe the resident carefully, and watch out for signs of neglect or abuse.

Common examples of nursing home abuse and neglect include the following:

  • Isolating residents for control or punishment
  • Withholding fluids or nutrition
  • Verbal insults
  • Threats made with words, gestures, or other methods of intimidation
  • Degrading, demeaning or emotionally manipulating residents
  • Destroying a resident’s self-esteem
  • Slapping, hitting, kicking, choking, etc.
  • Any type of sexual contact
  • Neglect of personal hygiene
  • Rough handling
  • Neglect of medical problems
  • Failing to provide a clean and safe environment
  • Allowing residents to wander and sustain injuries
  • Physical restraint
  • Chemical restraint

Although our elderly loved ones deserve the best of care, they do not always receive it in nursing homes. Some facilities may make a positive first impression, but may lower the quality of care after a change in management or ownership. Facilities may be underfunded or poorly run, and some staff may be abusive. If your loved one is a resident of a nursing home, be aware of the following signs of abuse and neglect:

  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss and malnutrition
  • Bed sores
  • Hair loss on the back of the head
  • Shortening of the muscles (contractures) caused by inactivity or lack of needed physical therapy
  • Unexplained bruises or injuries
  • A rundown or understaffed facility
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Withdrawn or unusual behavior
  • Lack of friendly interaction with staff and other residents
  • Arguments or tension between the resident and a caregiver
  • Broken eye glasses or frames
  • Drug overdoses
  • Untreated medical problems
  • Prescribed medications not administered on schedule (too much left in the bottle)
  • Rope marks on the wrists or other signs of restraint
  • Refusal of a caregiver to let you see the resident alone
  • Bruises around the genitals or breasts
  • Vaginal or anal bleeding

Contact Our Firm to File a Claim Against Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is unconscionable and inexcusable. Our elders have given us the best years of their lives. They are entitled to be treated with kindness and respect and to maintain their dignity and self-determination. Elderly people who need long-term care are often physically and mentally fragile, vulnerable to abuse, and ill-equipped to defend themselves. Nevertheless, as human beings and under federal law, nursing home residents have rights.

At Hecht Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., we take seniors’ rights seriously. In cases of nursing home abuse, we pursue compensation to help the victim with any additional treatment needed and to account for their pain and suffering. We want to help elderly people and their families to seek justice when rights have been violated or an injury, illness or health condition is the result of abuse or neglect.

Our involvement in these cases may have the secondary result of preventing others from experiencing the same misfortune and serve to hold the eldercare community up to the right standard. Our combined 75 years of experience allows us to approach your case with competence and a thorough understanding of the elder and human rights. Call us for help.