The Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers Network


With the rise in nursing home population and projected longer life expectancies, nursing home litigation is becoming more common in this country. No matter how closely we investigate a facility, neglect and mistreatment can and do occur and is often hard to uncover. The purpose of this website is to help put a stop to this gross injustice by helping victimized families take action. In addition to prosecuting these facilities, nursing home abuse attorneys are doing everything they can to raise awareness of nursing home abuse.


Federal and State laws require that residents receive the necessary care and services that will enable them to reach and maintain their highest possible level of physical, mental and social well-being. In addition, civil rights law mandates equal access in all nursing homes regardless of race, color or national origin. Numerous federal and state laws were developed to provide nursing home patients protection from abuse and neglect. Additionally, patients have privacy, security and other rights. Nursing homes that receive federal funds must comply with federal legislation that calls for a high quality of care.

Nursing Home Regulations
Nursing Home Resident Rights
Filing a Lawsuit Against a Nursing Home

Nursing Home Regulations
In 1965 Medicare and Medicaid came into existence and along with it came federal nursing home regulation. Nursing homes that qualify and voluntarily elect Medicare and Medicaid to their facility must follow a set of guidelines put forth by federal standards. To participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, nursing homes must be in compliance with the federal requirements for long term care facilities as prescribed in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.

Under the regulations, the nursing home must:

  • Have sufficient nursing staff
  • Conduct initially a comprehensive and accurate assessment of each resident's functional capacity
  • Develop a comprehensive care plan for each resident
  • Prevent the deterioration of a resident's ability to bathe, dress, groom, transfer and ambulate, toilet, eat, and to communicate
  • Provide, if a resident is unable to carry out activities of daily living, the necessary services to maintain good nutrition, grooming, and personal oral hygiene
  • Ensure that residents receive proper treatment and assistive devices to maintain vision and hearing abilities
  • Ensure that residents do not develop pressure sores and, if a resident has pressure sores, provide the necessary treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection, and prevent new sores from developing
  • Provide appropriate treatment and services to incontinent residents to restore as much normal bladder functioning as possible
  • Ensure that the resident receives adequate supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents
  • Maintain acceptable parameters of nutritional status.
  • Provide each resident with sufficient fluid intake to maintain proper hydration and health
  • Ensure that residents are free of any significant medication errors
  • Promote each resident's quality of life
  • Maintain dignity and respect of each resident
  • Ensure that the resident has the right to choose activities, schedules, and health care
  • Provide pharmaceutical services to meet the needs of each resident
  • Be administered in a manner that enables it [the nursing home] to use its resources effectively and efficiently
  • Maintain accurate, complete, and easily accessible clinical records on each resident.

The Health Care Finance Administration that is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services enforces these nursing home regulations. Congress authorized the first set of standards that were to be met by nursing facilities in 1967 and created classifications for the Skilled Nursing Facilities and Intermediate Care Facilities. Both in 1980 and again in 1987, these standards were updated with the most current nursing home regulations imposed under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, also called the Nursing Home Reform Act.

OBRA 87: Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987

  • requires that the facility provide each patient with care that will enable the patient "to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being."
  • establishes that quality of life for patients is the goal. The facility must allow patient choice in activities, schedules and health care decisions.
  • requires that facilities provide 24-hour licensed practical nurse care seven days a week, and have at least one RN on duty at least 8 hours per day, seven days a week. Nurse’s aides are required to undergo special training.
  • makes it the State's responsibility to establish, monitor and enforce state licensing and federal standards. States are required to maintain investigatory units and Ombudsman units, and to fund and staff them adequately.

OBRA 90: Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990
The Patient Self-Determination Act covers all long-term care facilities that participate in Medicare or Medicaid. At the time of admission to a hospital or nursing home, at the time of enrollment with an HMO, Hospice, or Home Health Care Agency, the following must happen:

  • The facility must provide the patient written information concerning the patient's rights under state law to participate in decisions concerning medical care, including the right to accept or refuse medical or surgical treatment, and the right to formulate advance directives.
  • The facility must provide a written statement of its policy regarding implementation of these rights.
  • The facility must document in its records whether the patient has executed an advance directive. Note: the facility is not required to provide advance directives to patients.
  • The facility is forbidden to discriminate in the provision of medical care on the basis of whether a patient has or has not executed an advance directive.
  • The facility is required to comply with all state laws regarding advance directives.
  • The facility must provide for staff and community education on issues related to advance directives.

Nursing Home Resident Rights
All nursing home residents have rights protected by the Nursing Home Reform Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. In evaluating health care providers, you should be aware of these rights to monitor care provided in a nursing home.

Federal law requires a nursing home to care for its residents in a way that promotes their quality of life. The Administration on Aging adds that residents must be treated with respect and dignity.

Rights of a nursing home resident under federal law include:

Access to information
Residents have the right to:

  • information on all services available and the charges for those services
  • information on the facility's policies, procedures, rules, and regulations
  • information about how to contact their state ombudsman and licensure office and advocacy groups
  • review the state survey reports on the facility
  • daily communication in their own language; and
  • assistance if there is sensory impairment

Participation in care
Residents have the right to:

  • receive adequate or appropriate care
  • be informed of their medical condition and participate in treatment planning
  • refuse medication and treatment and be offered treatment alternatives
  • participate in discharge planning
  • review their medical records

Ability to make independent choices
Residents have the right to:

  • choose their physician
  • participate in activities in the facility and community
  • participate in a residents' council

Privacy and confidentiality
Residents have the right to:

  • private and unrestricted communication, including privacy for phone calls, mail, and meetings with family, friends, and residents
  • access to any entity or individual that provides health, social, legal, and other services
  • confidentiality regarding medical, personal, and financial affairs

Dignity, respect, and freedom
Residents have the right to:

  • be free from mental and physical abuse
  • be free from physical and chemical restraints
  • self-determination
  • be treated with consideration, dignity, and respect

Security for possessions
Residents have the right to:

  • manage personal financial affairs
  • file a complaint with the state survey and agency for abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of property

Transfers and discharges
Residents have the right to:

  • be transferred or discharged only for medical reasons, if health or safety is endangered, for nonpayment of services, or if the facility closes
  • be notified of transfer 30 days in advance (in most instances)
  • know the reason for transfer, the date it's effective, the location to which the resident is discharged, and a statement of the right to appeal
  • receive preparation from the facility to ensure a safe and orderly transfer
  • and have policies and practices upheld by the facility that are the same for all individuals regardless of payment source

Concerns and complaints
Residents have the right to:

  • present grievances to the staff or others without fear of reprisal
  • have grievances promptly resolved by the facility

Filing A Lawsuit Against a Nursing Home
In response to reports of widespread neglect and abuse in nursing homes in the 1980s, Congress enacted legislation in 1987 to require nursing homes participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs to comply with certain requirements for quality of care. This law is included in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA 1987), also known as the Nursing Home Reform Act. It specifies that a nursing home "must provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care..." If these rights are violated, that’s when you should hire an attorney.

Hire a Nursing Home Attorney

Many times a lawsuit must be filed to protect the resident’s rights and to obtain compensation for the physical or mental pain and suffering and/or wrongful death. The action may be brought by the resident, a guardian, or any person or organization acting on behalf of the resident with the consent of the resident or guardian, or by the estate of a deceased resident when the cause of death resulted from the violation of the resident’s rights. Injury claims for elder abuse require an attorney with experience in nursing home negligence. There are time limitations in each state within which legal action must be taken. You should consult an attorney to determine those time frames and to provide guidance on how to proceed with legal action on behalf of your loved one.

The lawyers chosen to be part of the Nursing Home Lawyers Network have experience in handling these types of delicate cases. They are compassionate and talented, knowledgeable and prepared. They have the resources to find out how your loved one’s rights have been violated, and they are dedicated to improving the quality of life for our elderly.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, make sure their rights are being upheld. If you have reason to believe any of these rights are being violated, an experienced nursing home negligence attorney can help you uncover the truth.

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Disclaimer: The Nursing Home Lawyers Network services all 50 states including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.This does not mean, however, that all nursing home cases will be accepted and we reserve the right to decline any representation. This site only provides information about nursing home abuse, and nursing home negligence, it is not meant to be taken as legal advice. Click here for more.

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