Families who entrust their loved ones to the care or nursing homes in Albuquerque do so with the expectation that they will receive the highest quality of care. Sadly, rather than meeting that expectation, the staffs of such facilities sometimes instead perpetrate verbal, physical and even sexual abuse on residents. Those who discover that their family members or friends have experienced such abuse likely assume that legal recourse is available to them to make those guilty of it pay (and to hold the facilities that allow it to happen accountable). Yet surprisingly, that is not always the case.
It is estimated that nearly 50 percent of the 2.5 million residents of America’s nursing homes are limited in the action they can take against such facilities by arbitration agreements. Such agreements state that rather than taking civil action in cases of abuse, such incidents must be directed to third-party arbiter. These restrictions means that rulings on disputes are not subject to state and federal regulations, and no methods exist to appeal an arbiter’s decision. Such agreements first started to be introduced by nursing homes as requirements for admission back in 2009. Recent legislation proposed by the Trump Administration would make it easier to include such clauses in their admission contracts.
Recently, one such agreement kept a family from pursuing action a facility following the rape of an elderly female resident by one of its staff members (despite overwhelming evidence implicating him in the crime). This example and the potential trend towards the proliferation of arbitration agreements being utilized by nursing homes make it more important than ever for the families of residents of such facilities to stand as their advocates. Those needing help in doing so may find it in the form of an experienced attorney.
Source: Time Magazine “An 87-Year-Old Nun Said She Was Raped in Her Nursing Home. Here’s Why She Couldn’t Sue” Edwards, Haley Sweetland, Nov. 16, 2017