James P. Howe

     Attorney At  Law   

36 South County Commons Way C6     

Wakefield, RI 02879    
(401) 788-0600    
























        Rhode Island Elder Abuse


  The Law Offices of James P. Howe has the knowledge and resources to fight for patients who have suffered from poor treatment at nursing homes and hospitals.

Medical advances, health research and a growing population has helped to create a tremendous increase in our elderly population. This continued growth has put a strain on the assisted living and nursing home industry. Like any other industry, nursing homes are motivated by profit, and many times this leads to neglect and/or abuse of their residents. In many cases, these physically and/or mentally impaired residents cannot notify officials of the neglect or abuse they are experiencing. Most patients rely upon others to ensure that their health needs are met and to assist them with the activities of daily living.

At the Law Offices of James P. Howe, we rely on friends or families of the patients to come forward and tell us of their loved one's abuse or neglect. The basic rights and dignity of an individual should not be ignored just because that person has reached an age where he/she requires help of others. We have developed a comprehensive, aggressive approach to combating indignities suffered by this vulnerable segment of our society which often avoids the lengthy process of litigation. We use local and national experts to assess each case and pursue resolution of claims as quickly as possible.

Nursing Home Abuse in  Rhode Island and The U.S.

People are facing difficult decisions about nursing homes. The decision to move a loved one into a nursing home raises very real questions about how the resident will be treated at the nursing home, and if the possibility of nursing home abuse exists. This is, unfortunately, becoming an increasingly legitimate concern. Studies have suggested that the problem of abuse in nursing homes may be far more prevalent than the public generally recognizes. In 1986, a landmark report by the Institute of Medicine found widespread nursing home abuse.

This widespread nursing home abuse led Congress to pass comprehensive legislation in 1987 establishing new standards for nursing homes. This law requires nursing homes to "provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident."

The 1987 law and the implementing regulations limit the use of physical and chemical restraints on nursing home residents. They require nursing homes to prevent pressure sores, or bed sores, which are painful wounds or bruises caused by pressure or friction, that can become infected. They also establish other health standards for nursing homes, such as requiring that residents are properly cleaned and bathed, receive appropriate medical care, and are supervised to prevent falls and accidents. The regulatory requirements are at 42 C.F.R. Part 483.

Recently, investigators have begun to examine whether nursing homes are meeting the requirements of the 1987 law and its implementing regulations. The results have not been encouraging. Certain nursing home abuse documented by the Institute of Medicine in 1986, such as the improper use of physical restraints and antipsychotic drugs, have been reduced, but health violations appear to be widespread. In a series of 1999 reports, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), an investigative arm of Congress, found that "more than one-fourth of nursing homes had deficiencies that caused actual harm to residents or placed them at risk of death or serious injury"; that these incidents of actual harm "represented serious care issues . . . such as pressure sores, broken bones, severe weight loss, and death"; and that "serious complaints alleging that nursing home residents are being harmed can remain uninvestigated for weeks or months."

Abuse of Residents Is a Major Problem in U.S. Nursing Homes
Abuse violations are among the most serious violations that can occur in nursing homes. The elderly and disabled residents of nursing homes cannot protect themselves from physical attack or sexual assault. Sometimes they cannot even communicate to family members that they have suffered from abuse. Residents and their families are almost entirely dependent upon nursing homes to ensure the safety of residents.

5,283 nursing homes, almost one out of every three U.S. nursing homes, were cited for an abuse violation in the two-year period from January 1, 1999, through January 1, 2001. This amounts to almost 9,000 nursing home abuse violations during this two-year period. All of these violations had at least the potential to harm nursing home residents.

Federal health and safety standards protect the vulnerable residents of nursing homes from physical, sexual, and verbal abuse. To enforce these standards, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracts with the states to conduct annual inspections of nursing homes. These inspections assess whether nursing homes are meeting federal standards of care, including the prohibitions on abuse of residents. In addition, when an individual files an abuse complaint, state inspectors are required to investigate these allegations and assess whether federal standards of care were violated by the nursing home.

Many of these abuse violations caused harm to residents.

Over 2,500 of the abuse violations in the last two years were serious enough to cause actual harm to residents or to place residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury.

In total, nearly 10% of the nursing homes in the United States were cited for nursing home abuse violations that caused actual harm to residents.

Many of these nursing home abuse violations are discovered only after the filing of a formal complaint.

Rhode Island Nursing home abuse violations increasing:

The percentage of nursing homes with abuse violations is increasing. As a matter of fact, the percentage of nursing homes cited for abuse violations has increased every year since 1996. In 2000, over twice as many nursing homes were cited for abuse violations during annual inspections than were cited in 1996.

Types of nursing home abuse:

Physical abuse
Sexual abuse
Neglect or Negligence
Verbal abuse

Stop Nursing Home Abuse:

The best way to stop nursing home abuse is to make sure violations are adequately punished. If a loved one has been injured by nursing home abuse, or by nursing home negligence, Contact our experienced personal injury lawyers that have handled nursing home abuse cases. The personal injury lawyers at James P. Howe are experienced in nursing home abuse cases, and will evaluate your nursing home abuse case at no cost to you. If we determine you have a personal injury claim, we will handle your case aggressively, and you pay absolutely nothing unless we win your personal injury case.

Please contact us immediately with any questions or if you would like to explore your legal rights.

After years of near dormancy, the law designed for senior citizens to protect them against physical and financial abuse known as the ELDER ABUSE AND DEPENDANT ADULT CIVIL PROTECTION ACT is receiving attention from a small number of lawyers including the Law Offices of James P. Howe,  Protecting the elderly is extremely important and this includes protecting the elderly from physical abuse against nursing homes, hospitals and even from their own families.

The Law Offices of James P. Howe welcomes the public's increasing awareness of elder abuse.

Should you require assistance of a Rhode Island Nursing Home Abuse Attorney or suspect that a loved one is potentially being abused, please contact us for an immediate free evaluation of your situation. We have dealt with many of these cases and can be an invaluable resource for information and more importantly assistance.

Contact us today by Email or call us today at  (401) 788-0600 to speak with someone from our  firm..



James P. Howe Law Offices
36 South County Commons Way C6, Wakefield RI 02879
Phone : (401) 788-0600   Fax: (401) 788-0605

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