Buffalo NY Nursing Home Safety

Buffalo Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If you have elderly relatives residing in a nursing home, you know the importance of quality care. When you entrust your loved ones’ well-being to a facility, you do so with the belief that they will be cared for with dignity and respect, that all of their needs will be appropriately met.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. That is when you may need the help of a Buffalo nursing home abuse lawyer.

Nursing Home Abuse Is a Significant Issue, Both Locally and Across The Country

Respect your elders. This often-seen and -heard phrase reminds us of the importance of our elderly relatives, friends, and community members. Respecting our elders goes hand-in-hand with ensuring that they receive the assistance they need as they become unable to care for themselves.

Learning that your loved one has been mistreated is horrifying. How could something like this happen? The blame lays solely on the individuals directly responsible for the abuse and the facility that did not provide appropriate oversight and protection. We must hold them accountable.

If you believe that someone you love is a victim of nursing home abuse, contact Feroleto Law, your Buffalo nursing home abuse lawyers, at (716) 854-0700 for a free consultation.

What Is Nursing Home Abuse?

Our Nursing Home Lawyers in Buffalo Explain the Laws

According to the New York State Health Department, residents of a nursing home have specific rights and can expect a certain level of service and care. When they receive anything less than the professional medical care they are due, the situation is deemed, according to the law, nursing home abuse. Nursing home lawyers can help you understand whether their rights have been violated.

While New York State does not have mandatory reporting laws concerning elder abuse and neglect, it does state that individuals caring for the elderly (both at home and in facilities) should report possible abuse to the police or the New York State Department of Health.

Additionally, the state has several laws in place to protect the elderly in nursing homes, including N.Y. Penal Law § 260.32 and N.Y. Penal Law § 260.34. Both deal with the endangerment of the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person or an incompetent or physically disabled person (in the first and second degrees).

Another New York State Law designed to protect those in nursing homes is Kathy’s Law. In effect since November of 1998, this law protects individuals receiving home health care and those who reside in nursing homes by increasing the penalties for those caregivers who abuse them.

Your nursing home abuse attorneys in Buffalo can work with you to explain the laws and explain how they relate to your specific situation.

Nursing Home Abuse: A Common Problem

Unfortunately, abuse in nursing homes is not an isolated incident. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, “Rates of elder abuse are high in institutions such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities, with 2 in 3 staff reporting that they have committed abuse in the past year.”

This statistic is horrifying; clearly much needs to be done. However, there are many issues in play that make preventing nursing home abuse difficult.

One primary reason is that many people (both those working in facilities and the residents themselves) are hesitant to report abuse. Nursing home employees are concerned with the repercussions of reporting. And, unfortunately, many who are suffering will remain silent about the abuse because, given the nature of the circumstances in these facilities, they are worried about the consequences of speaking up.

Additionally, a significant percentage of those in nursing homes may not even be aware that the abuse is occurring, or they may be unable to communicate their experience to others.

The Rights of Nursing Home Residents in New York

When someone you love lives in a nursing home, you believe they are receiving the physical and emotional care they need.  In fact, according to the New York State Department of Health’s website, the rights of nursing home residents include:

  • dignity, respect and a comfortable living environment
  • quality of care and treatment without discrimination
  • freedom of choice to make your own, independent decisions
  • to be informed in writing about services and fees before you enter the nursing home
  • the safeguard of your property and money
  • right to appeal a transfer or discharge with the New York State Department of Health
  • privacy in communications
  • to choose your own schedule, activities, and other preferences that are important to you
  • to receive visitors of your choosing at the time of your choosing.
  • an easy-to-use and responsive complaint procedure
  • to be free from abuse including verbal, sexual, mental, and physical abuse
  • to be free from restraints
  • to exercise all of your rights without fear of reprisals.

Nursing Home Issues

Pay Attention When You Visit

Residents of nursing homes and their families expect their experiences to be positive. The goal is to provide those unable to care for themselves with the assistance they need. Problems arise when there is a gap between these expectations and the services provided.

Because so many instances of abuse go unreported, you must pay attention when you visit your loved ones.

The number of possible warning signs is considerable, and, of course, some of these conditions may also be attributed to accident, illness, or things other than abuse. That said, should you see any of these warning signs it is important to ask questions and investigate to protect the one you love. Warning signs include, but are not limited to:

  • Unexplained bruising or injuries
  • Bedsores
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Sudden onset of disease
  • Decreased mental stability
  • Depression.

If you believe that someone you love is the victim of abuse in a facility, contact Feroleto Law. Our nursing home lawyers can help determine the best way for you to proceed.

Detecting Physical Abuse

It is heartbreaking to believe that an individual responsible for caring for your elderly relative would physically abuse them. Sadly, this is a significant problem in nursing homes today. While all residents are at risk, those with mobility issues and those who struggle cognitively are in even more danger. Physical abuse can include slapping, punching, kicking, hair pulling, and even the inappropriate use of restraints.

While not all these behaviors would be noticeable to you, as a visitor, keep an eye out for unexplained bruising, broken bones, and loss of hair and teeth.

Identifying Psychological Abuse

Sometimes the most devastating abuse is the kind that does not leave physical evidence. Psychological abuse includes both verbal and nonverbal behaviors. Yelling, insulting, and threatening an individual can leave them fearful and can affect their emotional well-being. But, just as hurtful are non-verbal behaviors, like ignoring someone or isolating them from others.

We all know that quality care goes far beyond the physical. Increased anxiety, fear, and depression may be signs of emotional abuse.

Thwarting Financial Abuse

While this seems unlikely, financial abuse in nursing homes is a real problem. Examples include stealing money or personal effects, forging signatures on checks, and convincing residents to sign documents (like a power of attorney) allocating funds or authorizing control over their finances.

If you have a family member living in a nursing home, keep close track of their finances and personal belongings, and ensure that you have completed the appropriate protective legal documents.

Understanding Sexual Abuse in a Nursing Home Case

Groping, rape, and exposure are all examples of sexual abuse that can occur in a nursing home. Often those taken advantage of do not have the physical capabilities to defend themselves or the mental capacity to consent to sexual acts.

Listen carefully to your loved ones when you visit and take their concerns seriously. Additionally, reporting these issues immediately is critical to preventing further issues, both for those you love and for other residents. Talk to your nursing home lawyers in Buffalo to learn exactly who to contact.

Recognizing Neglect in a Nursing Home

Lack of care, also known as neglect, is another form of abuse — one that frequently affects nursing home residents. Neglect occurs when staff at the facility does not provide …

  • Appropriate movement of immobile residents
  • Timely and responsible distribution of all medication
  • Adequate opportunities for socialization
  • Response to residents’ requests
  • Food and water
  • Basic hygiene assistance.

Not meeting these very important needs means the nursing home may be guilty of neglect, and your loved one may be suffering the consequences.

Frequently Asked Questions Heard by our Nursing Home Lawyers

Our Nursing Home Attorneys in Buffalo Provide Answers

  • Are Nursing Homes Regulated?

    Yes, nursing homes are regulated, by the federal government as well as the states in which they operate. This double layer of regulation is designed to protect the elderly, an extremely vulnerable segment of our population.

  • To Whom Should I Report Elder Abuse in New York State?

    It is critical to report elder abuse, both confirmed cases and instances where you are simply suspicious. If someone’s well-being is in immediate danger, of course, call 911.  If you suspect abuse, call 311. Additionally, you can contact the  New York State Protective Services for Adults, and the state has also compiled a list of resources.  Additionally, you should contact your nursing home abuse attorneys in Buffalo.

  • Do I Need to File a Nursing Home Abuse Case Within a Specific Time Period?

    Yes, but the statute of limitations for nursing home abuse/neglect can vary based upon the type of facility you bring suit against. Therefore, you should contact our nursing home abuse attorneys promptly to ensure suit is filed within the appropriate time period. Your nursing home abuse attorneys can help explain this requirement to you.

  • Should I speak with Nursing Home Administrative Representatives if They Contact Me?

    No, you should only speak with your nursing home abuse attorneys. They are looking out for your best interests, while the nursing home administration will be looking to protect their facility, staff, and reputation.

  • What Does Nursing Home Abuse Legal Representation Cost?

    When you work with the experienced nursing home lawyers at Feroleto Law in Buffalo, you will pay no legal fees if we do not win your case.

  • Feroleto Law: Your Buffalo Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

    We Provide Reliable Representation

    Realizing or even suspecting that your loved one who resides in a nursing home has been the victim of abuse is mind boggling. You are likely shocked, incredibly emotional and wondering how this could possibly happen.

    At Feroleto Law, our nursing home abuse attorneys are well-versed in the related law.

    We understand how to handle cases like this and will manage all related administrative issues so that you can focus your attention on your loved one.

    Sadly, sometimes, the abuse goes beyond injury and results in loss of life.  If this describes your experience, a wrongful death lawsuit may be your best course of action. The statute of limitations for wrongful death is shorter than those for abuse and neglect cases so do not delay in contacting the attorneys at Feroleto Law regarding a potential wrongful death claim.

    For nearly 40 years, we have provided nursing home abuse and neglect legal services to those in the city of Buffalo and the surrounding areas. We are well-known, not only for our legal skills but also for our approach with our clients. We will work with you and explain the issues at hand, the applicable laws, and your options. Our ultimate goal is to take care of you and make sure you receive an appropriate settlement.

    We will manage all communications with the facility, the insurance companies, and the courts on your behalf.

    Contact Our Nursing Home Lawyer Today

    Learn How Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help You

    If you suspect nursing home abuse, we invite you to contact the nursing home attorneys in Buffalo at Feroleto Law today. Our experienced professionals will work with you, explain your legal options and explore what actions if any, you should take.

    If it is determined that abuse occurred, either deliberately or due to the negligence of a nursing home employee or an entire organization, we will ensure that the guilty party is held accountable in a court of law and that your loved one is awarded the restitution to which he or she is entitled.

    Understanding Our Legal Fees

    You and your loved ones are the highest priority. Our Buffalo nursing home lawyers are committed to protecting your loved one’s rights. As such, you do not owe us a legal fee unless your case is won or settled out of court. (Disbursements may or may not be waived, based on the fee charged, per NY State regulations.)

    Contact us today at (716) 854-0700 to learn more about the services we provide and how we can help you. Our personal injury lawyers will listen carefully to you or your loved one are enduring and will provide you with the advice and counsel you need to move forward.

    There are no circumstances under which nursing home abuse or neglect is acceptable. Our nursing home lawyers are dedicated to helping victims and their families.