What Are Tennessee’s Laws on Nursing Home Abuse?
December 4th, 2019 by Attorney John Colvin
Moving a loved one into a nursing home is difficult. You should be able to rely on the facility to provide safe, reliable care—unfortunately, that does not always happen. Nursing home abuse is a serious problem in the United States. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that around one in nine nursing home residents has experienced abuse or neglect.
There are important state and federal regulations in place to protect vulnerable nursing home patients. If your loved one was abused or injured, you need to take immediate action to protect their health, safety, and legal rights. Here, our Winchester, TN nursing home lawyer provides an overview of the state and federal laws on nursing home abuse.
Tennessee Law: Nursing Home Abuse
The Tennessee Department of Health is responsible for overseeing and regulating nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Under Tennessee law, all nursing homes are required to satisfy certain standards in order to obtain and maintain a license to operate. Specifically, Tennessee requires nursing homes to:
- Employ a state-certified nursing home administrator;
- Conduct background checks on all employees who provide direct patient services or who have contact with patients;
- Create and implement an organized nursing service within the facility—ensuring that a trained nurse is always on duty;
- Create and implement a dietary and nutritional program that satisfies resident needs and meets state standards;
- Following all state hygiene requirements, including making sure that each resident gets a minimum of two showers per week and that clothing/linens are always clean and safe; and
- Report any allegations or suspicions of nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect immediately.
Federal Law: Nursing Home Abuse
The most important federal law that protects nursing home residents is the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act. In passing the law, Congress wanted to ensure that the vulnerable residents of nursing homes and assisted living centers were able to get the highest practicable quality of care. Among other things, this legislation created a resident bill of rights. Under federal law, nursing home residents have the right to:
- Be free from abuse;
- Be free from neglect;
- Have a basic level of privacy;
- Receive reasonable accommodations for disabilities;
- Be treated with dignity and respect;
- Communicate with loved ones; and
- Participate in their own treatment and care.
Finally, all nursing home residents have the right to raise complaints about abuse, neglect, or mistreatment without facing any form of punishment, reprisal, or retribution. If you or your family member’s rights were violated in a Tennessee nursing home, you should not hesitate to seek professional legal representation.
Call Our Elder Abuse Attorney Right Away
At the Law Offices of John Colvin, our Tennessee nursing home lawyer is a compassionate, effective advocate for vulnerable people. If your loved one suffered harm as a result of nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect, we can help. For a free, fully private consultation, please contact our legal team today. From our law office in Winchester, we serve communities throughout the region, including in Lynchburg, Tullahoma, Sewanee, and Monteagle.