Nursing home neglect and abuse are serious crimes. By putting your loved one in a nursing home you expect them to stay safe, happy and properly taken care of. Finding out that your parent faced abuse in the nursing home that you had a hand in selecting can feel devastating. What’s more upsetting is learning that staff members were aware of the abuse and did nothing to stop it. Nursing home staff members have a duty to report and intervene in abuse and neglect. Staff should report these incidents as soon as possible. But what happens if you find out that another staff member knew about the abuse and failed to report it?
Failure to Report
Failure to prevent elderly abuse in the state of Connecticut is a crime. Any medical or public service professional aware of abuse must report it. They have to report it within five days. If they don’t they face a fine of up to $500. Those required to report this abuse include nursing home staff. Examples are doctors, nurses, and all other nursing home aides and workers.
When putting your loved one in the hands of others, they should receive respectful treatment. Thus, this law works in positive ways by trying to help those who suspect abuse to come forward.
Within certain types of nursing homes, this holds especially true. In a Skilled Nursing Home Facility (SNF), there are more clear federal guidelines. These guidelines outline what can or cannot be done to residents as well as what rights they have. While staying in a SNF, your loved ones have federal rights instilled upon them. These rights include:
- Freedom from discrimination. Your loved one can’t face discrimination based on age, gender, race, education, religion, etc.
- The right to respect. Your loved one must be respected and treated with dignity.
- Freedom from all neglect and abuse. Your loved one shouldn’t face abuse.
- Freedom from restraints. The use of restraints should only happen when specified by a doctor.
- Information of service and fees. This should happen in writing before your loved one enters the nursing home.
- Money management. Your loved one has a right to control and manage their own money while in the nursing home.
- Privacy, property and living arrangements. Your loved one will have a right to privacy and to be able to keep an eye on their possessions. If your loved one has a spouse in the nursing home, they both have the right to share a room if they agree to do so.
- Medical care. Your loved one has a right to receive updates on their heath and medical status.
- Visitors. Your loved one has the right to accept visitors.
- Social services. All nursing home residents have a right to use social services.
- Complaints. Your loved one has the right to file a complaint when they are unhappy with their treatment.
- Protection against unfair transfer or discharge. Your loved one cannot be inappropriately removed or discharged without good reason.
If you feel that your loved one is abused in a SNF, there is a protocol to follow. The first step is to talk to the staff involved. If you feel there is a problem you can talk to any nurse or certified nurse assistant (CNA). If you talk to a staff member and the problem is still not resolved, talk to a supervisor. Each CNF has a grievance procedure for complaints. If your complaint is not resolved, follow this procedure for a resolution. If you are still not satisfied, your CNF will have the names of state groups that respond to complaints.
The safety of your loved one should be the priority of the nursing home that they are in. If your loved one feels unsafe or threatened, action should happen. If action was not taken to help your loved one as soon as possible, the staff faces consequences.