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Nursing Home Abuse Cases And Law In Tennessee


Nursing home abuse can be the most awful of accidents and injuries. Aside from the element of abuse, which is always terrible, the abuse comes at the expense of our most vulnerable and susceptible populations. As families of these victims, we may feel powerless and even guilty when our loved ones are victims of nursing home abuse.

Proof Problems in Nursing Home Abuse Cases

Proving nursing home abuse can be difficult, but that’s not because the law makes it difficult. It’s because when the abuse happens, we, as the family members, are not there. We don’t witness what happened or didn’t happen.

We are left to piece together what happened, based on medical records, videos, and any physical abuse that we may observe on our loved ones’ bodies.

Making matters worse, our loved ones—the victims of the abuse—are often not even in a position to say what did or did not happen to them. They may not be mentally sharp or healthy enough to recall abuse. They may have unreliable memories. Even if they are 100% cognitively capable, they may not even know whether they were neglected.

Abuse often can simply be neglect. A resident may not know that they were supposed to have been moved in bed, or that they are not getting the attention that they deserve.

Abuse, Neglect or Malpractice?

Another difficulty in proving nursing home abuse is that the law of abuse often intersects with medical malpractice laws. When someone is injured, a threshold question is whether the injury is a result of nursing home abuse, or medical malpractice, as many residents get medical treatment in the nursing home.

Who is Abusing?

Nursing home abuse can come in a number of forms. The abusers are not always employees of the nursing home. Often, other residents may abuse a resident, but the nursing home may be liable for failing to recognize or stop the abuse.

Additionally, a resident may be suffering from physical or emotional abuse. This can be even harder to detect, as there are no physical symptoms of emotional abuse.

The Law and Patients’ Rights

Tennessee nursing home law imposes a number of requirements on nursing homes, and residents have rights that go beyond simply the right to be free from abuse and neglect.

A resident has a right to participate in social, religious and community activities, and to be informed of their medical conditions and to review their medical records. They can make their own medical decisions, assuming they are capable of doing so.

They have the same individual rights that those not in a nursing home have, including rights to own personal property, privacy in their rooms, managing their own financial and social affairs, and even have the right to a joint room with their spouse.

Has someone you love been injured while a patient or resident in a nursing home? Call the Clinton nursing home abuse & neglect attorneys at Fox Willis Burnette, PLLC, today for help.

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