Facts About Nursing Home Abuse

Facts About Nursing Home Abuse

At the Rasansky Law Firm, we understand that many nursing home residents and their loved ones aren't sure about their protections under the law. That's why we have created this area where Jeff and his staff of nursing home professionals can personally respond to your concerns about elder care.

Do you have a question, situation, or concern to address? Contact us online, or call our offices anytime at 1-877-659-1620 for a free and private consultation with our nursing home abuse and elder abuse attorneys.

Q: My mother lives at an assisted living center, but I'm not sure whether she's getting the same treatment that she would receive at a nursing home. Is a nursing home better than an assisted living center?


A: You've discovered what many people will be learning over the next few months and years: As the duties of health care providers have changed, so has the definition of nursing home. While most of us have a mental image of a nursing home, many of the services provided at traditional nursing homes are now being handled by other health care entities. Your family and your mother's doctor should determine the level of care your mother requires in order to decide which type of facility would be better to handle your mother's needs. Texas state regulations govern what type of patients each facility may admit.

Of course, no matter where a loved one receives care, be it a traditional nursing home or an assisted living center, they still deserve the best possible care available. Following is a list of health care providers that perform many of the tasks previously associated with the term nursing home:

Hospitals: Elderly patients often are admitted to hospitals due to some type of medical emergency. Many hospitals have rehabilitation units where elderly patients can recuperate before they are discharged to a lower level of care, generally either home care or a nursing home. The hospital is where the patient and family members usually are informed that the patient will require some level of assistance. Talking with a hospital social worker, discharge planner or case manager should be your first step in determining what type of care your loved one may require after their hospital stay.

Hospital-based Skilled Nursing Facilities: These departments within a hospital - also known as extended care facilities - provide high levels of medical and nursing care. Hospital-based skilled nursing facilities provide a short-term solution after a patient's acute hospitalization. Residents often stay in these "transitional" units because their doctors want them closer to an acute care center because of medical instability. Most doctors will discontinue their care for a resident once the resident has moved to a free-standing nursing facility.

Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF): These are non-hospital-based medical and nursing facilities that provide 24-hour nursing supervision, with at least one supervising registered nurse on duty for at least eight hours per day under Texas law. Different states have different rules regarding how long a registered nurse must be on duty in a 24-hour span. Unlike at hospital-based SNFs, doctors at these facilities usually make rounds once per week instead of once per day.

Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF): These facilities provide less nursing and medical services than a normal SNF because patients in an ICF usually can move around unassisted, and their conditions are not as acute as patients in a regular SNF.

Custodial Care Facilities (CCF), Assisted Living Residences, Adult Homes, Rest Homes: These facilities are designed to provide comfortable living environments, but they do not usually provide any nursing or medical care. However, a CCF can provide medical monitoring, which consists mainly of recording medications and providing an examination room for doctor visits. Texas statutes do not require these facilities to provide formally trained nurses, although many such facilities do have licensed nurses on staff 40 hours per week because of risk management and competition issues.

Multi-Level Facilities: These are comprehensive facilities that provide several levels of care, including skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities, and assisted living residences. The combination of these levels of care can facilitate a patient's movement to a higher level of care with reduced stress due to the ease of transition.

Veterans Nursing Homes: VA homes are skilled nursing facilities that are operated or funded by the United States Veterans Administration. These facilities provide many of the services described above, including the hospital-based skilled nursing facilities.

Q: I recently received a disturbing phone call from my mother, who lives in a Fort Worth nursing home. According to Mom, she and other residents have complained about a particular nurses' aide who isn't responding to their requests for minor medical care and other needs. Now Mom says she's been told that she will have to leave the home if the complaints continue. I'm wondering whether to call the nursing home myself, or could that worsen the situation?

A: It is a violation of state law for a nursing home to discharge a resident based on complaints from the resident or their family members. The only way your mother could be discharged or transferred involuntarily is for medical or safety reasons, if she is putting others at risk, or if she has not paid for services. Texas nursing homes are required to notify the resident, their doctor and any party responsible for the resident at least five days before attempting any transfer or discharge. Nursing homes are also required to develop a procedure that accounts for complaints and that assures responses.

Q: My 90-year old mother has lived at the same nursing home for several years. But, lately, she's been unusually quiet and I've noticed that her moods change for no apparent reason. I'm worried because of the recent newspaper and television reports describing nursing home abuse. Should I be concerned?

A: Unfortunately, cases of nursing home abuse are becoming more and more common. Although that may not be the case in your mother's situation, you should be concerned. Sudden mood swings are a sign of elder abuse. Other indicators include sleeplessness, an unwillingness to communicate, and a change in eating habits. Elders, much like children, often are afraid to tell others about abuse. If you suspect your mother is a victim, Texas law requires you to alert the authorities. Many state and federal laws are designed to prevent and punish nursing home abuse.

Are you or a family member suffering from elder abuse or nursing home abuse? Contact the Rasansky Law Firm online, or call our offices anytime at 1-877-659-1620 to discuss your situation with our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys. In the complimentary consultation, our attorneys will review your experiences and situation and provide you information regarding your legal rights, options, and responsibilities.


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The Texas personal injury attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm represent clients throughout Texas, including Arlington, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Garland, Houston, Kauffman, Lubbock, San Antonio and Tyler. Our personal injury lawyers handle a various types of personal injury claims, including automobile accidents, medical malpractice, birth injuries, nursing home abuse, product liability, defective products, premises liability, day care abuse, maritime injuries, workplace injuries, overtime pay, social security disability benefits and securities fraud.

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