Abuse and neglect, along with substandard conditions, continue to be problems in many nursing homes throughout the country. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a National Nursing Home Initiative to strengthen penalties for facilities that fail to provide appropriate care to their residents.

The initiative is designed to coordinate and enhance both criminal and civil actions against the nursing homes that are the worst offenders. Already, they’ve begun investigations into 30 facilities over nine states.

The DOJ considers multiple types of care failures as they determine which nursing homes to investigate. These include:

  • Inadequate nursing staff
  • Failure to follow hygiene and infection control protocols
  • Failure to feed residents properly
  • Withholding of pain medication
  • Use of physical and chemical restraints

In announcing the initiative, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said, “Millions of seniors count on nursing homes to provide them with quality care, and to treat them with dignity and respect when they are most vulnerable. Yet, all too often, we have found nursing home owners or operators who put profits over patients, leading to instances of gross abuse and neglect. This national initiative will bring to justice those owners and operators who have profited at the expense of their residents and help to ensure residents receive the care to which they are entitled.”

The initiative is part of the DOJ’s Elder Justice Initiative that it’s coordinating with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices as well as state and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors and other elder justice professionals across the country.

If you believe a loved one has been neglected or abused in a nursing home or other residential facility, it’s essential to take action not only to protect them but to help prevent others from suffering harm. An experienced attorney can be a valuable resource.