While every state can enact elder care law that bolsters existing federal regulations, the federal nursing home law statutes must be followed in every state. If you live in Alabama and believe a nursing home has mistreated your elder loved one by violating these rules of conduct, this overview explores some of the statutes in place that affect this area of law.
Maintain an Adequate Staff
It has been found that the neglect or mistreatment of nursing home residents is usually the result of an inadequate staff. For this reason, the law in Birmingham and in other cities throughout the state requires that a facility employs enough caregivers to provide quality care to every resident. Under the federal nursing home guidelines section 42 CFR §483.20, this requires evaluating the care needs of every resident and ensuring those needs are met.
Create a Care Plan for Every Resident
Under federal nursing home law statutes, the facility’s administrators must also create a comprehensive care plan for every resident. If you are registering an elder loved one to become a resident in any nursing home, you have the right to see this care plan to ensure your loved one’s needs are met. In accordance with section 42 CFR §483.25, this includes requiring the facility’s staff to actively take steps to prevent the deterioration of the resident’s ability to perform basic functions. If the resident does exhibit a decreased ability to eat, bathe, perform oral hygiene, or meet any other basic needs, the facility’s staff is required to assist the resident.
Provide Basic Care Needs
If you suspect your loved one isn’t being provided with basic care needs, you can correct the situation. In general, this includes providing your loved one with vision, dental, and hearing care in addition to basic medical care. Under section 42 CFR §483.25 of the federal nursing home law statutes, the facility’s caregivers must also act to prevent and treat pressure sores that can be caused when a resident is confined to a bed or wheelchair. This includes taking steps to prevent infection and promote healing.
Provide Freedom of Choice
Under section 42 CFR §483.40, nursing home facilities are also required to provide residents with the freedom of choice. Specifically, this section refers to the resident’s ability to have a say in the organization of their daily schedule, which activities they participate in, and in the medical care they receive. Providing greater choice in these areas also help meet the requirement that all residents are treated with dignity and respect.
While there are specific signs of abuse and neglect to watch for, sharing your suspicions with an attorney can may help you uncover problems sooner. At the very least, consulting a lawyer can help you learn more about the signs you should watch for as you visit your elderly loved one in their new home.