Many residents of Indiana have older relatives who live in nursing homes. At their best, these facilities provide necessary care for loved ones for whom it is not possible to provide in-home care. Nursing homes can provide a safe and engaging community of care for senior relatives as they age. At their worst, however, a variety of problems can emerge, and our loved ones may suffer the consequences. When this occurs, filing Indiana nursing home complaints and related lawsuit–or even seeking criminal charges—could be necessary to protect the well-being and rights of those who live in nursing or long-term care facilities.
As a society, we try to avoid problems with long-term care facilities. Indiana nursing home regulations as well as federal laws are in place to protect those in residential care facilities. In addition, in our state, the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) issues health care provider consumer reports. The health department’s website also provides valuable information to families trying to choose a nursing home, including details about the nursing home, the services provided, and facility report cards.
It is better to avoid a problem in the first place, but there will be times when an experienced Indiana nursing home attorney may be needed to help navigate through the process of reporting and recovering for nursing home errors, negligence, or abuse.
Conditions Leading to Indiana Nursing Home Complaints
There are many types of nursing home errors and accidents that can take place, including the following:
- Failure to provide adequate medical care;
- Provision of the wrong medication or dosage;
- Failure to provide adequate nutrition;
- Failure to prevent injury caused by other residents;
- Failure to provide a clean, safe space for residents; and
- Failure to provide security for residents’ possessions.
In addition to errors and accidents, unfortunately, some nursing homes affirmatively mistreat their residents with unnecessary and unlawful restraint or by forcing residents to do some of the cleaning or other services the nursing home should provide.
Identifying the underlying error or abuse is just the first step to determining how to proceed with Indiana nursing home complaints.
Ways to Address Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse
The best way to address a nursing home problem depends on the nature of the problem. When a nursing home’s failure to provide care, inadequate care, or affirmative action—such as a mistake in medication administration—leads to medical issues for the resident, filing a medical malpractice claim in a court of law may be the best recourse. There are other causes of action that can also be filed with the court in some cases, such as claims for general negligence.
Many Indiana nursing home complaints are non-medical, however, or don’t arise to the level of negligence that would provide a basis for a legal claim. Those situations can be addressed with an Indiana State Board of Health complaint. These complaints are filed with the Indiana Department of Health Division of Long Term Care.
The IDOH is responsible for implementing state licensing and federal certification programs for long term care facilities such as nursing homes. Anyone can submit an Indiana State Board of Health complaint about care provided at a licensed or certified Indiana health care facility.
How to Report a Nursing Home to the State of Indiana
The process for initiating an Indiana State Board of Health complaint is detailed on the IDOH site. In addition to complaints that can be filed by any person concerned about a loved one in a nursing home, there are also state and federal laws that require the nursing homes themselves to self-report certain nursing home incidents to the IDOH. Nursing home staff also have a legal obligation to report suspected crimes against a nursing home resident to the IDOH.
The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Effect on Indiana Nursing Home Complaints
As with almost every segment of society, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected nursing homes and introduced an entirely new concern with the rampant transmissibility of the virus in these congregate living settings. In the spring of 2021, a nursing home protection law was enacted in Indiana, granting nursing homes additional protections from claims against them retroactively to when Indiana’s first COVID-19 infections were reported in March 2020.
The intent of the law was to protect nursing homes from claims that they were to blame for residents contracting the virus. However, opponents of the law have criticized its protections, claiming that it has been used by some nursing homes in an attempt to defend against unrelated claims, such as one instance of a state health department citation for failing to prevent and treat bedsores so bad that they led to amputation.
How an Indiana Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help
It can be a difficult time if you or a loved one has suffered mistreatment or injury in a nursing home. An Indiana attorney with experience in injuries suffered in long-term care facilities can best help you assess the course of action to take to address the mistreatment.
If you have a loved one who has suffered in a nursing home, your best bet is to contact an experienced Indiana nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible. The Carmel FIshers law firm of Camden & Meridew, P.C. has attorneys who can help you evaluate and preserve your medical malpractice and negligence claims or file Indiana nursing home complaints. Contact David Allen at 317-770-0000 or complete this online contact form to discuss how you can get the compensation that you are entitled to for any injuries you or a loved one has suffered while a resident in a nursing home.