Last week I wrote an article on ombudsmen and how they can help nursing home residents and their families see that residents are getting the proper care. /nursing-home-and-elder-abuse/nursing-home-ombudsmen-.aspx?googleid=306882 I did not mention that the federal regulations require that the services provided in a skilled nursing facility – a nursing home- are those services that attain or maintain the resident’s highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being. Residents are not to get pressure sores, be malnourished or dehydrated unless there is some medical condition that makes those maladies unavoidable. Given the appropriate services to attain or maintain a resident’s physical, mental and psychosocial well- being will mean no pressure sores, no long term malnutrition, no long term dehydration, no nursing home neglect, and no nursing home abuse. In short, a resident should not decline in health or well-being as a result of the way a nursing facility provides care.
How do you as a consumer know whether your loved one is getting the highest practicable care? A national organization is The National Consumers Voice for Quality Long Term Care’s website http://www.theconsumervoice.org/resident/nursinghome/residents-rights provides a wealth of information to assist consumers to learn what care their loved one is to receive- and how to get it!. They offer books, helpful ideas on choosing a nursing home and a great list and discussion of residents’ rights.
Alabama at one time had an organization called Alabama Watch. I went to its old website and apparently it has closed. I did not find a local organization for Mississippi. However, in Florida Brian Lee, the ombudsman who was terminated from the state for asking nursing homes to provide ownership information is involved with an organization called Families for Better Care, Inc. http://familiesforbettercare.com/ourblog/families-for-better-care-alf-task-force-comments/ This organization is a non-profit citizen advocacy group dedicated to creating public awareness of the conditions of nursing homes and other long-term care settings and developing effective solutions for improving quality of life and care. On their website you can easily find news on nursing homes in Florida and nationally, upcoming events, publications and other national state organizations which help nursing home residents and their families.
Get involved with one of these organizations to help the vulnerable elderly.
Civil litigation attorney Billy Cunningham practice concentrates on personal injury, wrongful death, nursing home abuse, business litigation, environmental law and insurance matters. He is licensed to practice in the state and federal courts of Alabama and Mississippi, as well as in the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States.