What comes to mind when you think of a nursing home? Do you picture a quiet setting where elderly patients sit in their rooms watching television? Do you think of a facility with a full medical staff but a poorly planned social calendar?
If this is the first time you have considered nursing home care, or it has been years since you visited a nursing home, you may be surprised to find out that nursing homes have changed in recent years.
Continue reading to learn about the most common misconceptions about a nursing home facility and what you can expect in today’s nursing homes.
Misconception #1: Nursing Homes Are Only for the Elderly
Misconceptions about a nursing home tends to be rooted in ageism. You may think that typical nursing home patients are elderly, but many nursing homes provide short- and long-term care for patients of all ages and a range of physical abilities. For example, some facilities offer care for patients recovering from burns, severe wounds, brain injuries, limb amputations, or orthopedic surgery.
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Misconception #2: Medicare Always Pays the Costs for Long-Term Care
Medicare will not pay for custodial care, which is long-term care coverage related to personal needs, such as help using the bathroom, bathing, or getting dressed. Medicare only pays for long-term care required due to medical necessity. Thus, common misconceptions about a nursing home include a lack of custodial care or the facility offers limited care similar to Medicare. Many nursing homes provide custodial care, the costs of which must be paid separately from those covered by the patient’s Medicare benefits.
However, if medical needs require nursing care, Medicare may pay for that care, depending on your unique situation.
Misconception #3: Very Few People Need Long-Term Care
According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the average 50-year-old has a more than 50% chance of requiring nursing home care at some point in their lives.
Nursing home care may be necessary, for example, after an injury, surgery, stroke, or a number of other medical reasons but it comes with a lifetime risk of nursing home use.
Misconception #4: Nursing Home Patients Have Few Rights
Nursing home patients have the same rights as any other person, and federal law offers special protections on top of those rights. The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act outlines sweeping reforms to which nursing homes must adhere. Today, nursing homes must, by law, provide adequate care, regularly review care practices, and meet specific requirements to maintain their certification.
Federal law also outlines a nursing home Residents’ Bill of Rights, which include:
- The right to be free of abuse or mistreatment.
- The right to privacy.
- Freedom from physical restraints.
- Ability to participate in group activities.
- The ability to communicate freely.
- The right to be fully involved in one’s care.
- Accommodation for special needs.
- The right to air grievances about care without fear of punishment.
Depending on the state, a nursing home and its staff may need to meet additional criteria.
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Misconception #5: Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Is Easy to Spot
A person who has been abused or neglected in a nursing home does not always have obvious symptoms, such as bruises or broken bones. If you notice unexpected changes in your loved one’s mental state, or they suddenly begin to exhibit unexplained medical conditions, they may be suffering from abuse or neglect.
Other signs of abuse include dehydration, missing medical devices, depression, anxiety, or fear when certain staff members are around.
Misconception #6: You Cannot Sue Nursing Homes
Common misconceptions about a nursing home include that it does not require regulation or it does not follow established laws pertaining to human rights. Nursing homes must provide adequate care and follow the Residents’ Bill of Rights. Failure to adhere to these laws may result in criminal charges and/or loss of certification.
Residents who have been abused or neglected in a nursing home may also be eligible to pursue compensation through legal action for the damages they suffered. Awards for nursing home abuse and neglect may include the cost of additional medical care related to the abuse, the return of stolen items or misused funds, compensation for pain and suffering, and, in some cases, punitive damages.
Your loved one has the right to receive compassionate care while in a nursing home. If their needs are not met, and they suffer as a result, you may be eligible to pursue civil action against the nursing home and its staff.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today for More Information and a Case Review
If you are concerned about the care your loved one is receiving at a nursing home, the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can review your situation and determine if your loved one may be eligible to recover compensation due to abuse or neglect.
For more information about your legal options after nursing home abuse or neglect, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 201-3999 for a free, confidential consultation today.