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Nursing Home Abuse: Care Facility Duties and Resident Rights

By David Goguen | Last updated on

Patterns of abuse at a number of nursing home facilities have been brought to the surface via news stories in recent weeks, drawing attention to the duty that nursing facilities have to prevent residents' mistreatment and harm, and the legal rights of vulnerable nursing home patients.

At LaSalle County Nursing Home in Ottawa, Illinois, a male resident has been linked to the sexual abuse of at least 10 other nursing home patients, and the Illinois Department of Public Health has concluded that the facility didn't do enough to prevent the abuse, according to an Associated Press story covered by WGIL-Galesburg.

In Minnesota, investigation and hearings are ongoing in a case involving allegations that a group of teenage nursing assistants were involved in the sexual and emotional abuse of 15 residents at the Good Samaritan Society of Albert Lea facility, according to a report in the Albert Lea Tribune.

These two stories illustrate that abuse and injuries suffered by nursing home residents can come from different directions: not just from fellow patients, but also from the facility staff members who are charged with ensuring the residents' health and welfare. The physical and mental frailty of many nursing home residents only serves to increase their vulnerability to mistreatment, and lessen the chance that abuse will be reported and remedied.

If abuse or mistreatment of residents occurs at a nursing home, the facility can be held legally liable for that harm under a number of different legal theories -- including negligence in the provision of care, the supervision of residents and employees, the hiring of staff, and the maintenance of premises and equipment. Learn more about Nursing Home Abuse and Injuries.

Nursing home residents are provided a number of legal rights via federal and state laws -- in addition to the basic right to be protected from abuse, or course. These typically include rights to privacy and confidentiality, choices in treatment and care, clear and accessible grievance procedures, and equal treatment by facility staff. Learn more about Legal Rights of Nursing Home Residents.

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