Putting your family member in a nursing home is a tough decision. The questions mount. Is this a good place? Will the staff take care of my parent? How can I trust these people with my loved one?

State and federal laws that apply to long-term care facilities may help protect residents.

The Elder Justice Act

The Elder Justice Act is a law to prevent elder abuse that legislators included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010. The act applies to long-term care providers receiving $10,000 or more in federal funds. Long-term care providers have responsibilities to:

  • Tell individuals of the reporting process
  • Post a notice for employees that specifies their rights, which include filing a complaint
  • Refrain from retaliating against someone who reports suspicion of a crime
  • Avoid employing or contracting with a person in violation of the Elder Justice Act

An individual must make reports of reasonable suspicion to the state survey agency and at least one law enforcement agency.

Ohio’s enforcement of nursing homes

The Ohio Department of Health licenses and certifies around 960 nursing homes and facilities. The Bureau of Survey and Certification conducts on-site inspections for compliance with state and federal guidelines. Each facility receives at least one unannounced visit.

The Bureau’s surveyors investigate any complaint after receiving written documentation from the Ohio Department of Health’s complaint unit. On-site complaint investigations remain unannounced, and the identity of the complainant, resident or patient stays confidential.

If your loved one suffers a serious injury, someone must report the incident within the following two hours. If no serious bodily harm occurs, you or the facility have 24 hours to report the incident.