What is Iowa Nursing Home Neglect?

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Posted by Pressley Henningsen

Iowa nursing home neglect occurs when a care facility fails to provide adequate care to its residents, leading to physical, emotional, or psychological harm. This neglect can manifest in various forms, including insufficient medical care, inadequate hygiene, malnutrition, and failure to assist with daily activities. Residents may suffer from preventable injuries, such as bedsores or falls, due to the neglectful actions or inactions of the nursing home staff. Identifying and addressing neglect is crucial for protecting the well-being and dignity of the elderly population in Iowa’s nursing homes.

If you suspect that a loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect, consulting with an Iowa attorney can be a critical step. An experienced attorney specializing in elder law can help investigate the situation, gather necessary evidence, and pursue legal action to hold the responsible parties accountable. This legal support not only seeks justice for the affected individual but also helps to ensure that such neglect does not continue, promoting a higher standard of care across nursing homes in Iowa.

What is the Difference Between Abuse and Neglect in Iowa Nursing Homes?

Abuse is an intentional act by someone that hurts your loved one. Any abuse should be reported to the State of Iowa and to the police, if necessary.

Neglect in a nursing home setting is a little different. It usually means that someone simply didn’t do their job. They were careless or negligent in caring for your loved one.

What Does Nursing Home Neglect Look Like?

Nursing home neglect comes in many forms. This can include:

  • Residents may not be protected from injuring themselves, resulting in preventable falls
  • Poor nutrition, resulting in weight loss
  • Poor hydration, resulting in dehydration
  • Poor skincare and help with toileting, resulting in skin breakdown and bed sores
  • Medication errors
  • Elopements

All nursing home residents are afforded rights per the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act. Nursing homes that choose to accept federal dollars in the forms of Medicare and Medicaid must comply with this law to receive funding. These laws have also been codified into Iowa law. A violation of these laws can be considered a form of neglect.

So can a violation of the contract you signed with the nursing home. The facility was paid to take care of your loved one – and if they’re not doing that job, it may be considered neglect.

How to Keep Nursing Home Neglect Occurring to Your Loved One

There are some steps you can take to help keep neglect from occurring.

  1. Visit the nursing home often and at unexpected times. When you visit, make sure you examine them to see if they are staying at a healthy weight and have no bed sores. If you see any issues, report them as soon as they are noticed.
  2. Make sure you have good communication with the staff, especially the nursing director. This then will make you feel more comfortable discussing any problems with the appropriate people. Approach them decently and respectfully with any problems you notice and show them documentation of your concerns. This may also facilitate staff coming to you proactively with issues, especially if they notice a staff member is not treating your loved one right.
  3. Frequently check in with your loved one by phone or text (if they are able).

How to Report Nursing Home Neglect in Iowa

If you spot neglect happening, you want to document it and report it to the nursing home leadership as soon as possible. You can do this with a face-to-face conversation or through email. Do not be accusatory or disrespectful – simply state your concerns, backed up by evidence, in a calm manner.

If the nursing home staff does not address your concerns in an appropriate way or if you continue to have concerns about your loved one’s health and well-being, you should make a report to the State of Iowa’s Department of Inspections and Appeals.

Finally, you should speak with an experienced Iowa nursing home neglect lawyer to discuss your options. RSH Legal practices in the area of nursing home abuse and neglect, and we can fight for fairness for you.

For a free, no-obligation case evaluation, call 1-800-433-0283 today.

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