Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Chicago, IL

Study Examines Fear of Retaliation In Nursing Homes

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When nursing home residents experience neglect or abuse, they have the right to file a complaint. But many don’t because they fear retaliation.

“Fear of retaliation is one of the most common reasons residents do not want to pursue a complaint and disclose their identity. Since residents live in the facility and rely on staff for their basic needs their fear of retaliation cannot be overemphasized,” notes a trainer guide for the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center.

But until recently, fear of retaliation had not been the topic of much policy or research. A new study aims to learn more about it.

Taking a closer look at the problem

The study by Eilon Caspi, a gerontologist and assistant research professor at UConn’s Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP), was published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology. Caspi analyzed 100 standard survey and complaint investigation reports from state survey agencies in nursing homes across 30 states.

Caspi found that retaliation and the fear of facing retaliation were causing suffering and harm among residents. He also found the problem was not being adequately addressed.

When residents voiced concerns relating to a violation of their rights or mistreatment, they expressed fear of retaliation in the form of:

  • Eviction.
  • Collective punishment.
  • Physical violence.
  • Delayed care.
  • Aggressive confrontations.

Because residents were concerned about retaliation, they often did not report mistreatment, the study found. And when mistreatment was reported, investigations were often delayed.

A call for further laws and oversight

“Although additional research is needed to shed light on it, the study showed that many residents’ experiences of fear of or actual retaliation could be characterized as ‘learned helplessness,’ essentially giving up trying to voice care concerns as a result of repeated failure to bring about change,” Caspi said.

In Connecticut, state law mandates that nursing home administrators provide staff members with annual training on the fear of retaliation. This training must include the right of residents to file a complaint, examples of retaliation, and strategies to prevent it.

Connecticut is the only state with such a law. Caspi said all states should enact similar laws that also apply to assisted living.

Caspi also called for stronger federal oversight and action related to fear of retaliation. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) does not track fear of retaliation, and the National Ombudsman Reporting System only tracks complaints of retaliation, not fear of it.

Get an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer on your side

When nursing home residents are the victims of abuse or neglect, legal action needs to be taken. Facilities need to be held accountable. But many residents and their families in Illinois aren’t sure how to proceed. Ferrell Young, LLC can help.

Our experienced Chicago nursing home neglect attorneys fight for the rights of residents. We aren’t afraid to take on nursing homes, their insurance companies, and their lawyers. If you or a loved one was the victim of abuse or neglect, we can guide you through the legal process every step of the way.

Learn about your options and get answers to your questions. Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation.

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