Nursing Home Abuse in Connecticut

Connecticut Nursing Home Laws and Regulations

Connecticut is no different from any other state in that it is subject to rigorous laws regarding the abuse of the elderly, particularly within a nursing home setting. Federal laws are well entrenched that prevent the abuse of the elderly, but state laws can vary widely. For this reason, if you are a victim of abuse in a Connecticut nursing home, or if you suspect that someone you love is being abused, it is important to understand the laws and to consult a nursing home abuse attorney if you feel that your nursing home is in violation.

Elder Abuse in Connecticut

Connecticut law identifies elder abuse as any willful infliction of injury (be it physical or emotional), willful deprivation of essential services, exploitation, or abandonment. If a complaint is laid, the Commissioner of Social Services must investigate and prepare an evaluation. Any deprivation of any service that is essential to the well-being of the elderly person can constitute abuse.

Anyone who willfully inflicts pain upon an elderly person, or causes him or her emotional anguish, or removes anything that is essential to his or her health, can be held accountable for a criminal offense under Connecticut law. Exploitation, neglect or abandonment of anyone over the age of 60 can also be considered to be elder abuse.

Reporting

Cases of elder abuse are reported to the Commissioner of Social Services in the State of Connecticut. When the Commissioner receives such a report, then it has to be investigated. Then the Commissioner will order an evaluation, and if it is determined that the elderly person has been neglected, exploited, abused, abandoned, or otherwise mistreated, the commissioner will recommend a course of action which may include protective services. The person who reports the situation will be informed, but not identified.

Who Has to Report?

Under Connecticut law, suspected cases of elder abuse, in nursing homes or other settings, must be reported. The regulations are essentially the same as they are for reporting child abuse. The people required by law to report elder abuse include:

  • Doctors and surgeons
  • Registered nurses
  • Licensed practical nurses
  • Patient advocates
  • Nursing home administrators, orderlies, nursing aides and anyone else who provides nursing home care
  • Dentists
  • Medical examiners
  • Osteopaths
  • Phyisotherapists
  • Clergy
  • Social workers
  • Psychologists
  • Physical therapists
  • Police officers
  • Pharmacists

If anyone on this list suspects abuse, he or she is required by law to report it to Social Services. If that person suspects abuse and doesn’t report it, he or she can be fined up to $2,000. In egregious instances, the person who fails to report can even be imprisoned for up to two years.

Of course there are also people who might suspect abuse, but who don’t fall under these guidelines. In such cases, those parties should obviously report the suspected abuse, but there will be no legal consequences if they don’t report.

Legal Help

If you are being abused in a nursing home, or if you suspect that someone you love is being abused, you have the ability to report the abuse without being identified. In cases of abuse of yourself or a family member, you may have cause for a civil action in which you can be compensated for your physical and mental suffering.  A lawyer who specializes in nursing home abuse can help you to get the compensation you deserve. Simply stated, seniors have a right to feel safe in the location where they’re spending their declining years, and if they’re not assured of that safety, there are legal remedies that can make the offending nursing home accountable for their actions.

Sources:

http://www.211ct.org/informationlibrary/Documents/Elder%20Abuse%20Laws%20and%20Mandated%20Reporting%20-%20Connecticut%20fj.asp

http://www.ct.gov/dss/cwp/view.asp?a=2353&q=305232

 

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