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Nursing home residents are particularly susceptible to being the victims of negligent and improper care. Congress and state legislatures have enacted laws designed to protect these residents who frequently cannot speak out on their own behalfs. Despite the exitence of these laws, abusive and negligent practicies persist. Residents and their loved ones should be aware of common forms of abuse and neglect and their legal recourse against them.

The elderly are among the most fragile segment of our population. Nursing homes are supposed to meet the many specialized needs of these individuals and provide them a safe haven where they will be protected and provided for. Unfortunately, nursing home residents are sometimes subject to neglect and mistreatment at the hands of those who have been entrusted with their care. In recognition of the particular vulnerabilities of the elderly population and their susceptibility to abuse, Congress and state legislatures have enacted laws to protect them. For example, Congress addressed the practice of nursing homes to administer drugs to their residents, not for legitimate medical reasons, but to sedate difficult patients for the convenience of the home and its staff. Such “chemical restraints” include tranquilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotics. Ohio has also adopted its own Nursing Home Residents Bill of Rights that expressly gives residents many rights including the right to a clean living environment, proper medical treatment, and the right to be free from physical or chemical restraints.

Nursing home residents and their loved ones should be aware of the fact that many laws protect them. It is an unfortunate reality that these residents are not always provided the care and treatment they are entitled to. This mistreatment frequently is not intentional but the result of under qualified or over burdened staff. Regardless, the law does not stand for such mistreatment and neither should residents and their families.

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