There are Federal Laws that Protect Your Senior Loved Ones from Acts of Abuse and Neglect

With the intent of protecting residents of nursing home facilities and upholding their interests, the U.S. Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act into law in 1987; the Act mandates that nursing homes participating in Medicare and Medicaid (or receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds) should “provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care.” (

Supporting this mandate is a Federal Nursing Home regulation, which says that “the resident has the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion.” (

More than 15,000 nursing home facilities are located all across U.S. Besides giving shelter to more than 1.5 million residents: elders, individuals who may be physically or mentally incapacitated, and those in need of rehabilitative therapy due to illness or accident, these facilities are expected to provide all residents the quality care expected and required by the law.

Sadly, though, it appears that no kind of law would stop acts of abuse and neglect from being committed against nursing home residents. Despite the thousands of abuses and neglect getting reported every year, it is obvious that so many more remain unreported, especially the more sensitive and humiliating cases, namely sexual abuses.

Acts of abuse and neglect do occur in nursing home facilities in the U.S. and the most common reasons why these acts happen include lack or qualified and/or properly trained staff, overworked personnel, very demanding needs of the residents, the defenselessness of the victims and, it may be logical to include, the major intent of staff members, which is to earn and not necessarily take care of their helpless and/or aging residents.

Abuse, as defined under federal nursing home regulations, is any form of act that deliberately inflicts injury, deprives care or service, or results to intimidation, unreasonable confinement, or punishment resulting to physical harm and/or mental anguish. Neglect, on the other hand, can refer to failure to provide a resident with the necessary care and service which will ensure freedom from pain or harm, or failure to assist a resident during potentially a dangerous situation that can result to harm or anxiety. Neglect can be an intentional or non-intentional act.

Abuse and neglect of nursing home residents are very disturbing crimes since these are directed against defenseless people whose care have been entrusted to those who promise to provide quality care and service. As clearly stated by the nursing home abuse lawyers from the Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., law firm, once you entrust the care of your loved one to an assisted living facility or nursing home, you have every right to believe that that facility’s staff or personnel will treat him/her with care and dignity. When this trust gets violated, you have every right to pursue legal action against whoever committed the act of abuse or neglect – for the sake and safety of your love one and all others in the facility. It would be wise to fight this legal battle with a highly-competent nursing home abuse lawyer by your side.