Nursing Home Residents’ Rights and the LGBT Community

by David Goldfarb

Nursing home abuse occurs for many reasons. If you are a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender (LGBT) community and are an older adult, you may be concerned about suffering abuse in a nursing home because of your sexual orientation—and you are not alone. According to The National Long-Term Care Resource Center, 89 percent of respondents to a survey felt that nursing home staff would discriminate against an LGBT elder who was out of the closet. In addition, there are reports that nursing home staff violate the rights of LGBT older adults when seeking long-term care.

Fortunately, nursing home residents have rights under both state and federal law, including the following:

It is important for LGBT nursing home residents to understand that if these rights are violated, they may be able to take legal action. For example, if nursing home staff refuses to let you see your partner because they disagree with your sexual orientation, it likely is a violation of your right to receive visitors. If you believe that nursing home staff are violating your rights, call an attorney immediately.

Loved Ones Should Be on the Lookout for Signs of Abuse

Abuse of LGBT residents is always a concern in long-term care facilities. If you have an LGBT family member or other loved one who is in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, it is important to understand that you may be their first line of defense against abuse. Studies indicate that abuse is underreported and that many seniors are too embarrassed or scared to report mistreatment to others. In some cases, older adults may not even be aware that abuse is even occurring! Some of the signs of abuse to watch out for include the following:

  • Unexplained bruises
  • Malnourishment
  • Overmedication/undermedication
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Bedsores
  • Unnecessary use of restraints
  • Infections or unexplained illnesses
  • Social or emotional withdrawal
  • Fearful behavior
  • Depression/anxiety

If you notice any of the above signs of abuse, you should investigate the matter further. If appropriate, bring it up with your loved one. Bring the matter to the attention to the facility’s administration and contact the state agency responsible for the regulation of nursing homes (in New York, the State Department of Health). Finally, call an attorney to discuss your options as soon as you can.

Were You or a Loved One Abused in a Nursing Home? Call Us Today to Discuss Your Case

Nursing home abuse is a pervasive problem in the United States, resulting in psychological, emotional, and physical harm to an untold number of seniors every year. The lawyers of Goldfarb Abrandt & Salzman LLP are dedicated to helping nursing home abuse victims assert their rights and holding facilities accountable for the actions of their staff and administration. To schedule a consultation with one of our New York nursing home abuse lawyers, call our office today at (212) 387-8400 or contact us online.