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
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
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
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.
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:
Neglect or Negligence
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
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
or call us today at (401) 788-0600 to speak with
someone from our firm..