Nursing Home Abuse in Delaware

Delaware Nursing Home Laws and Regulations

Elder abuse is a problem that has become endemic nationwide, and it’s no different in the state of Delaware.  In Delaware alone, more than 46% of nursing home residents are victims of abuse. Problems with insufficient staffing, poor quality of care, poor nutrition, bed sores and infections are rampant.

If you have a loved one in a Delaware nursing home, it’s important that you understand the prevalence of these problems so that you can act to protect your loved ones. Lawyers who specialize in nursing home issues can help you to do so, and can also help you to hold nursing homes accountable when they don’t take proper measures to protect their residents. The average person wants to protect his or her family member, but may not have a full understanding of the legal obligations of nursing homes in Delaware, or the problems prevalent in these nursing homes.

Just as an example, more than 80% of nursing homes in Delaware are found to be deficient in terms of accident prevention. Accidents can be caused by wet areas on floors, objects left in travelled areas, broken equipment, poorly trained staff, and other factors. Considering the vulnerability of the average senior, a higher standard of care is definitely needed, and if violated, could very well constitute at the very least neglect, and at the worst, abuse.

The Laws in Delaware

Under Delaware law, nursing homes are required to provide proper, effective assistance in day-to-day activities, including grooming, dressing, eating, physical therapy, bathing and toileting.  If this assistance is not provided, that is evidence of abuse or neglect. Further, residents must not be subjected to unnecessary or excessive restraint, which can include the application of physical restraints or the administration of drugs.

The law also defines “pain or injury” to nursing home residents as including anything that causes undue discomfort, demeans the resident, or exploits the resident. Simply stated, the law recognizes that seniors ought not to be beaten, verbally abused, taken advantage of financially, or mistreated in any other way, whether in a nursing home setting or elsewhere. The goal is quite simply to protect the vulnerable.

What Can Be Done

If a resident of a Delaware nursing home is being mistreated, then he or she (or his or her family) can demand an investigation. Nursing homes that are found to be abusive can be subject to severe legal sanctions.

Any act of abuse or neglect by a nursing home in Delaware should be reported in order to protect not only the existing residents, but people who may eventually come into the offending nursing home.

Federal Law

In addition to the state laws of Delaware, you and your loved one are also protected under federal law. In 1987, the Nursing Home Reform Act identified the right of the nursing home resident to be free from neglect, abuse and physical restraint. It also mandated the right to privacy and treatment with dignity. When nursing home management and staff violate these rights, residents and their families can be entitled to monetary damages, and the nursing home can face legal sanctions or even suffer termination of their provider agreements. In extreme cases, criminal charges may be mandated, which will not help you to achieve the compensation you want and deserve, but will still send a very strong message to unscrupulous nursing homes that neglect and abuse will not be tolerated in the state of Delaware.

Your Case

Nursing home abuse lawyers in Delaware can help you with your case. You, or your family, have every legal right to hold nursing homes accountable for abuse or neglect.

Sources:

http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dltcrp/regs.html

http://articles.latimes.com/1994-04-17/news/mn-46993_1_white-house-conference-on-aging

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