There are both state and federal statutes in place as a means to ensure protection for those who are residents of nursing homes and for those who may have been abused. The main function of the statutes is to provide basic standards of care as well as rights for the residents. They are there to provide nice and clear guidelines for everyone involved – the residents and their families, and the facility and care administrators. In the event of a violation of the elder abuse statutes, residents and family members are able to follow through with a lawsuit in order to receive financial compensation. The facilities can also face federal action, fines, suspensions, additional lawsuits, and more.
If a nursing home facility receives Medicare or Medicaid funding, the facilities need to follow the federal regulations to continue receiving the funding. The federal statutes have the same basic goal as the state statutes. They want to provide the residents of nursing homes with the best possible treatment and care. They also provide residents and family members with the support and resources they need to prevent elder abuse, and to protect victims.
The Elder Justice Act, which started in 2010, is a part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It exists to help detect and prevent elder abuse. The Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services operates these programs. The Elder Abuse Coordinating Council, along with the Advisory Board on Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation helps to prevent, detect, intervene, treat, and prosecute cases of elder abuse.
The Older Americans Act is meat to define as well as protect against elder abuse. The act gives funding to the National Center on Elder Abuse, which helps to raise awareness for elder abuse. They also support responses to any incidents of senior abuse and offer education and training on the subject.
While the federal statutes are there to help seniors, each state has their own statutes regarding elder abuse as well. States apply their own statutes to the nursing facilities in their respective state. Theses state laws apply to private facilities as well, even though they may not receive federal funding and may not have to follow certain federal laws regarding their facilities. The laws and regulations in the states can cover a variety of different areas including:
Adult Protective Services (APS) or, Elder Protective Services (EPS) exist in all 50 states. They are responsible for regulating and authorizing services for nursing home residents and their families in cases of elder abuse. The abuse statues help to organize the way that incidents of abuse are reported and investigated. They also allow for services to victims of elder abuse. More can be learned about the statutes through the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, as well as the state health departments.
All states also have a long-term care ombudsman program that is able to act as advocates for residents in nursing homes. They can advocate for safety as well as for patient and resident rights. These programs will be helpful for families who are trying to find a high quality nursing home, as well as those who need to resolve issues and conflicts with a nursing home. In addition, it allows you to seek help for victims of elder abuse. Contact the services in your state to learn more about the available options.