Everything You Need to Know About Properly Filing Nursing Home Complaints
In 2014, it was approximated that there were more than 12,000 cases of elder neglect, abuse, and financial exploitation in Cuyahoga County alone. The other counties with the highest incidences of elder abuse were Franklin and Montgomery counties.
Unfortunately, these statistics pale in comparison to national ones. If someone you love has been the unfortunate victim of elder abuse, it’s likely that you are ready to take action but are not sure how to go about it. There are many ways to report or file a nursing home complaint in Ohio.
If you require legal assistance regarding filing an elder abuse claim or reporting elder abuse, we at The Henry Law Firm can assist you. We know the complex laws surrounding elder abuse and can help you get justice for your friend or family member. Our experienced elder abuse attorney has compiled a few statistics below to get started:
Approximately 1.7 million Ohio residents support an aging neighbor, friend, or loved one. Yet, were you aware that there are only 978 skilled nursing facilities, 770 home health agencies, 436 ICF/IID residences, and 774 assisted living facilities in Ohio? With these facilities and establishments in mind, you should also note an estimated 15,000 cases of elder abuse reported annually in Ohio.
According to the esteemed National Council On Aging, it is believed that one in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse. Additionally, it’s estimated that around 5 million elders are abused each year, but it’s believed that only 1 out of every 24 incidents is reported.
Now, let’s explore the processes and procedures behind filing a nursing home complaint.
Timeline for Filing a Nursing Home Complaint
Many different situations call for filing a nursing home complaint. If your loved one or friend has experienced any of the below situations, they will be able to file a nursing home complaint in Ohio. The list below is not comprehensive and only mentions a few of the most common situations and signs that call for a complaint:
- If an elder has been physically, verbally, or sexually assaulted
- If an elder has fallen and sustained injuries
- If an elder has developed pressure sores or bed sores
- If an elder has wandered or escaped from their facility
- If an elder has experienced a choking incident
- If an elder has developed an infection
- If an elder is experiencing dehydration or malnutrition
- If an elder is being financially exploited
- If an elder is undergoing forced medical treatment
- If an elder is being forcibly restrained
Facilities You Can File a Nursing Home Complaint About
Besides nursing homes, there are many different facilities you can file a complaint about in Ohio. Some of them include home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, and residential care facilities, also known as assisted living facilities.
Nursing Home Complaints are Different a Lawsuit
The purpose of such a complaint will be to initiate a law enforcement or administrative agency investigation into the facility and possible citation or criminal legal action. The resources listed below detail your options in filing a complaint against a nursing home.
However, if a nursing home has victimized your loved one, your family retains the ability to pursue a civil claim for the damages caused by the abuse. You can (and should) pursue both a complaint to investigating agencies while contacting an experienced lawyer who can evaluate and advise you on a private lawsuit. Both options should adequately be pursued when an elderly person is abused or neglected by a nursing home facility.
Six Ways You Can File a Nursing Home Complaint in Ohio
Since we have looked at when you can file a complaint and who you can file a complaint against, we will specifically look at the various ways you can file a nursing home complaint in Ohio.
1. File a Telephone or Email Complaint With the Ohio Department of Health
Commonly, the first place you should consider filing a nursing home complaint is the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). There are primarily three ways to file a complaint with the ODH. The first and easiest way to file a complaint with the ODH is via a telephone call.
The ODH has a dedicated complaint hotline that anyone can call from 8 am to 5 pm to talk to a staff member. However, the hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if you want to leave a voicemail message with your complaint.
If you don’t want to phone the hotline, you can email the ODH complaint email address if you’re going to make a complaint about nursing home abuse or neglect. When you email, you must make sure that you include the following information:
- The specifics of the complaint
- The complaint information includes your name, address, and telephone number
- Your opinion of if the incident is an isolated event or a recurring problem
- The nursing home’s name, address, and telephone number
- The date and time of the incident
- Your opinion on why you think the incident occurred
- Your opinion on if the facility has tried to address the incident
- Who was involved in the incident, including any witness information, room numbers, etc.
2. The Ohio Department of Aging Long Term Care Ombudsman
If you don’t wish to file a complaint with the Ohio Department of Health, you can opt to file a complaint with The Ohio Department of Aging’s Long Term Care Ombudsman. The state’s Long Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) program was explicitly put in place to resolve issues related to safety, welfare, health, and the rights of individuals who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Essentially, LTCO will investigate your nursing home complaint and work alongside you and your family to resolve the problem you are experiencing. To contact the Ombudsman, you can call the statewide hotline or visit your region’s LTCO office.
3. File a Complaint With Disability Rights Ohio
If you suspect a disabled elder is experiencing nursing home abuse, you can file a nursing home complaint with Disability Rights Ohio. Interestingly, Disability Rights Ohio specializes in investigating neglect, abuse, discrimination, lack of access to public facilities, and denied services.
Depending on the case, Disability Rights Ohio will provide representation or advocacy. If they cannot assist you with your complaint, they will try and connect you with a person, governmental department, or organization that can.
4. File a Complaint With the Ohio Attorney General Health Care Fraud Section
If you suspect a nursing home of causing immediate harm to your loved one, you can file a nursing home complaint with the Ohio Attorney General Health Care Fraud, Neglect, and Abuse section. This Attorney General’s Office section broadly investigates Medicaid fraud and patient neglect and abuse in long-term care facilities.
5. File a Complaint With Adult Protective Services
Did you know that there are adult protective services? Every county has a family services department that will investigate all reports associated with nursing home neglect, exploitation, abuse of adults over the age of 60. However, some counties will also investigate these types of complaints regarding adults who have a disability and are under 60.
6. Hire a Lawyer to File a Complaint
If you would like to file a nursing home complaint, you can choose to do so with the assistance of a lawyer. A lawyer will know who to contact to ensure the right place receives your nursing home complaint. Not only will a lawyer help you file a complaint, but they can also help you with the nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit process.
Contact an Ohio Lawyer For Nursing Home Complaint Help
If you or one close to you has fallen victim to nursing home abuse or neglect and would like to file a nursing home complaint, it could be in your best interests to speak with an Ohio lawyer. At The Henry Law Firm, we understand that no two nursing home cases are the same. Our dedicated legal team is devoted to helping you get justice which is why we can help you file a complaint or initiate a lawsuit.
Should you choose to initiate a nursing home lawsuit, we will assess your situation to ensure all legal proceedings are followed and all angles examined. We know the Ohio laws surrounding nursing home abuse and neglect and can help you fight for the compensation you could be owed. To speak with one of our dedicated Ohio attorneys, contact us today.