There are national nursing home abuse laws that are designed to protect elderly Americans from abuse in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or even at home. These laws vary in their definitions, scope and practice, but they all have the same goal. They have all been created to help ensure that elderly Americans are treated with respect and dignity.
National Nursing Home Abuse Laws
There are four national laws that apply directly to nursing homes and nursing home residents. These are:
- Elder Justice Act
- No Fear Act
- The Older Americans Act
- Violence Against Women Act
The goal of these laws is to ensure that Americans are treated with respect and can live a life that preserves their dignity. Below, we will take a closer look at each of these laws.
Elder Justice Act
The Elder Justice Act was signed into law in 2010 by then-President Barack Obama. It is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This law allocated more resources and funds to prevent instances of elder abuse and prosecute instances when they occur. The law also requires nursing homes to report any instances of suspected abuse.
As for prosecution, the Elder Justice Act allocated more resources designed to improve practices related to bringing abusers to justice. It also established a national database for nursing home employee background checks, which helps nursing homes make smarter and safer hiring choices.
The Elder Justice Act also established the Elder Justice Coordinating Council, which includes officials from many areas of the government. Together, this Council searches for better ways of fighting nursing home abuse and neglect. The Elder Justice Act also led to the establishment of the Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation advisory board, which is comprised of 27 experts unrelated to the government.
No Fear Act
The No Fear Act, or the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act, was passed in 2002. The goal of this Act is to protect whistleblowers in workplaces, including nursing homes. This allows individuals to report elder abuse or neglect without fear of retaliation or discrimination. The No Fear Act empowers witnesses to come forward when they may have otherwise been afraid to do so. This is an important step in fighting nursing home abuse and neglect, as many – some believe even the majority – of cases go unreported.
The Older Americans Act
The Older Americans Act was first signed in 1965, and was reauthorized in 2016. The purpose of this law is to ensure that elderly Americans are treated with dignity, respect and the care that they deserve. The law promotes elder abuse awareness as an issue that affects our society in tragic ways. It also has helped establish resources for families affected by abuse.
This law helps to define “elder abuse” and allocates funding for the National Center of Elder Abuse (NCEA) and other similar organizations. The NCEA has further partnered with other organizations and universities to increase awareness of the realities of elder abuse and nursing home abuse. In total, the Older Americans Act offers programs to:
- 20,000 service providers
- 56 state agencies
- 629 area agencies
- 244 tribal organizations
Violence Against Women Act
The Violence Against Women Act was signed into law in 1994. It was then reauthorized in 2013. This Act focuses on domestic abuse cases, including those involving women over the age of 50. Domestic abuse is as much a reality for older women as it is for younger women. It is perpetrated at the hands of spouses, partners, other family members, and caregivers.
The Violence Against Women Act allocates millions of grant dollars to organizations and programs designed to help women. These funds are used to improve victim services, aid in prosecution, and improve community response and resources.
Find Out More about National Nursing Home Abuse Laws
If you are concerned that your loved one is being abused or neglected, you may find it helpful to speak with a nursing home abuse lawyer. At Fight Nursing Home Abuse, our lawyers can help you understand how national nursing home abuse laws can help you protect your loved one and get justice. No family should have to bear the burden of abuse or neglect alone.
Let us help you. Call 1-866-548-9636, or complete our online form for a free consultation.