Freedom From Abuse and Neglect is the Most Important Right of Nursing Home Residents
According to 42 CFR § 483.12. Freedom from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The resident has the right to be free from abuse, neglect, misappropriation of resident property, and exploitation as defined in this subpart. This includes but is not limited to freedom from corporal punishment, involuntary seclusion and any physical or chemical restraint not required to treat the resident’s medical symptoms.
(a) The facility must—
(1) Not use verbal, mental, sexual, or physical abuse, corporal punishment, or involuntary seclusion;
(2) Ensure that the resident is free from physical or chemical restraints imposed for purposes of discipline or convenience and that are not required to treat the resident’s medical symptoms. When the use of restraints is indicated, the facility must use the least restrictive alternative for the least amount of time and document ongoing re-evaluation of the need for restraints.
Additional Mandate for Freedom from Abuse and Neglect
(3) Not employ or otherwise engage individuals who—
(i) Have been found guilty of abuse, neglect, exploitation, misappropriation of property, or mistreatment by a court of law;
(ii) Have had a finding entered into the State nurse aide registry concerning abuse, neglect, exploitation, mistreatment of residents or misappropriation of their property; or
(iii) Have a disciplinary action in effect against his or her professional license by a state licensure body as a result of a finding of abuse, neglect, exploitation, mistreatment of residents or misappropriation of resident property.
(4) Report to the State nurse aide registry or licensing authorities any knowledge it has of actions by a court of law against an employee, which would indicate unfitness for service as a nurse aide or other facility staff.
(b) The facility must develop and implement written policies and procedures that:
(1) Prohibit and prevent abuse, neglect, and exploitation of residents and misappropriation of resident property,
(2) Establish policies and procedures to investigate any such allegations, and
(3) Include training as required at paragraph §483.95.
(4) Establish coordination with the QAPI program required under §483.75.
(5) Ensure reporting of crimes occurring in federally-funded long-term care facilities in accordance with section 1150B of the Act. The policies and procedures must include but are not limited to the following elements.
(i) Annually notifying covered individuals, as defined at section 1150B(a)(3) of the Act, of that individual’s obligation to comply with the following reporting requirements.
(A) Each covered individual shall report to the State Agency and one or more law enforcement entities for the political subdivision in which the facility is located any reasonable suspicion of a crime against any individual who is a resident of, or is receiving care from, the facility.
(B) Each covered individual shall report immediately, but not later than 2 hours after forming the suspicion, if the events that cause the suspicion result in serious bodily injury, or not later than 24 hours if the events that cause the suspicion do not result in serious bodily injury.
(ii) Posting a conspicuous notice of employee rights, as defined at section 1150B(d)(3) of the Act.
(iii) Prohibiting and preventing retaliation, as defined at section 1150B(d)(1) and (2) of the Act.
(c) In response to allegations of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or mistreatment, the facility must:
(1) Ensure that all alleged violations involving abuse, neglect, exploitation or mistreatment, including injuries of unknown source and misappropriation of resident property, are reported immediately, but not later than 2 hours after the allegation is made, if the events that cause the allegation involve abuse or result in serious bodily injury, or not later than 24 hours if the events that cause the allegation do not involve abuse and do not result in serious bodily injury, to the administrator of the facility and to other officials (including to the State Survey Agency and adult protective services where state law provides for jurisdiction in long-term care facilities) in accordance with State law through established procedures.
(2) Have evidence that all alleged violations are thoroughly investigated.
(3) Prevent further potential abuse, neglect, exploitation, or mistreatment while the investigation is in progress.
(4) Report the results of all investigations to the administrator or his or her designated representative and to other officials in accordance with State law, including to the State Survey Agency, within 5 working days of the incident, and if the alleged violation is verified appropriate corrective action must be taken.
Freedom from abuse is a critical right and the most important concept elder abuse and neglect attorney Kenneth LaBore fights for. If you have questions about how to ensure freedom from abuse and neglect or other concerns about the care received by a loved one in a nursing home or other care facility contact Kenneth LaBore directly at 612-743-9048 or by email at KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com.