Alaska Elder/Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

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If you ever have reason to believe that a loved one is in any kind of life-threatening danger, you should immediately call 911 or your local law enforcement agency. In Alaska, if you suspect that abuse has taken place in a nursing home, but don't believe the occurrence is life threatening, you should contact the Alaska Department of Health Services or an elder/nursing home abuse attorney to express your concerns.

The United States Federal Government began regulation of nursing homes in 1965, when many of the facilities elected to provide services under Medicare and Medicaid. Those regulations and guidelines are now managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and have changed over the years to include addressing abuse prevention. All nursing homes in Alaska are subject to review for possible violations.

All nursing home or elder care facilities have an obligation to protect the rights of every single resident, and to provide an attractive, clean, and healthy environment. They are also obligated to treat residents equally, with no discrimination based on race, religion, color, nationality, ability or source of payment. Nursing home facilities are required by federal law to compose a Nursing Home Resident's Bill of Rights, which they are also required to make available to any resident upon request. The Bill of Rights outlines all policies of the specific nursing home, and each facility must require residents to sign a statement, indicating they have read and understood these rights, before admittance. Specific rights include the right to be informed about one's specific medical condition and treatment, the right to participate in planning one's care and medical treatment, the right to choose a physician, the right to manage personal finances, the right to privacy, dignity, and respect, the right to personal possessions, the right to be free from restraints and abuse in nursing homes, the right to voice grievance without retaliation, the right to be discharged or transferred only for medical reasons, and the rights of access.

Elder abuse, by definition, includes willful or reckless acts of another person that may result in the physical injury or death of the nursing home resident. This also includes neglect or the failure to act to prevent an injury or death. There are some signs and symptoms that can provide evidence of elder abuse or neglect. The more visible signs of abuse include bruises, broken bones, cuts, scars and bedsores. The signs of neglect may be a bit harder to notice because the injuries aren't as readily apparent. Neglect includes providing insufficient food and water, inadequate attention to hygiene in residents who are not self-sufficient, inadequate medical care, and failure to assist residents who have mobility issues.

Subjecting a nursing home resident to hitting, slapping, punching, pinching, or poking is considered by the state of Alaska to be physically abusive. Without the expressed, informed consent of the resident, the touching or exposure of a person's private body parts for anyone's sexual gratification is sexual abuse and prohibited by law. All nursing home residents have the right to be protected from such abuse.

Threats of punishment, intimidation, harassment, or humiliation for any purpose are examples of mental abuse, another form of abuse that can occur in a nursing home. Mental abuse also includes certain practices that seclude residents against their will. Preventing a person from interacting with other residents or not allowing the resident to access his/her room may sometimes be considered abuse.

The use of verbal, written, or gestured language that conveys a belittling or unfavorable message is also considered abuse, even if the mental state or disability of the resident prevents him or her from understanding what is being conveyed.

In Alaska, monitoring of nursing home and caregiver-provided assistance is often less than adequate. If you suspect that your loved one's rights are being violated, you should consult with an elder/nursing home abuse attorney in order to assure that the safety and well-being of the victim are protected.


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