The focus of this paper will address issues involving health care law and the individual lives it can effect. There are many critical regulatory issues in health care. However for the purpose of this paper, the critical regulatory health care issue chosen will be in the area of abuse in the long term care setting. This paper will provide an analysis that explains how abuse and neglect relates to the nature, sources and functions of the law within health care. Nature of the Law
There have been many been different interpretations of what the act of abuse constitutes. Many nursing homes employees have been known to witness actual abuse, however did not perceive it as abuse. It is the responsibility of all health care providers to ensure their staff is well informed what abuse is and the importance of reporting any suspicions of abuse. According to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (2013), “Abuse” means the conscious force of injury, involuntary seclusion, intimidation, or chastisement resulting in physical harm, pain or mental anguish. This also includes depriving a patient of goods or services that are necessary to maintain physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being.” (para. 3-5).
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Interestingly, the cases of abuse and neglect that have been investigated over the past several years in long term care facilities have not been substantiated based on actual abuse, however facilities have been cited for noncompliance when the facility has hired employees without a history of abusive behaviors or to immediately report and adequately investigate allegations of abuse. (Hawes, 2003).
The fact that not all employees in health care are educated efficiently could be the reason why these failures are prevalent. It is important to know that consistency with education and training is a must along with monitoring the effectiveness of the training could help prevent reoccurrence of these failures involving abuse. Sources of the Law
The sources that long term care facilities across the nation are required by the law to follow are developed and provided by the State and Federal regulatory requirements set forth by the government. If any long term care facility accepts funding from the government, they are expected to follow regulations and maintain compliance. When a person makes the decision to work and make a career within the health care industry, they take on a responsibility, an oath so to speak, to provide the highest quality of care possible. To ensure they provide all people not just the elderly a sense of strong character and integrity for those who are less fortunate. The health care worker should clearly understand it is an ethical responsibility and to uphold dignity when providing care and ensure safety for their patients regardless of the patient’s condition. When comparing the health care laws and common public law, the two are similar.
Abuse is intentionally causing physical pain, injury, or intentionally impairing a physical condition, sexual assault, a physical act that may cause the patient to fear the possible occurrence of physical pain or injury. The fear and threats directed toward a patient by a caregiver can be considered a form of abuse. It is the responsibility of all health care providers to ensure the employee is thoroughly trained and in-serviced on what to do if they witness or someone alleges abuse has occurred. However, there are incidents in which health care providers can train their employees till they are “blue in the face” and when the employee enters the patient’s room and shuts the door, hopefully the employee exhibits ethical standards and will not make a conscious decision to mistreat the patients. Functions of the Law
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To address the functions of the laws set forth by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Federal regulatory guidelines, when allegations of abuse or neglect are made within the long term care setting, the facilities are required by law to immediately report the allegation to the Administrator and/or Director of Nursing. This should initiate an investigation process. The alleged perpetrator is either immediately suspended or is no longer allowed to provide direct care to any patient within the facility during the investigation period. The nursing home has a period of 24 hours to report the allegation to the Office of Long Term Care and a period of 5 days to complete the investigation and submit their conclusion to the state agencies. (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 2013).
In conclusion, this paper briefly discussed and explained how the laws of abuse relates to the nature, sources and functions of the laws or regulatory requirements within health care. The laws governing abuse play an intricate part regarding how long term care providers enforce the laws and intervene within their facilities. The laws are detailed and explain specifics regarding how to address critical regulatory issues in health care specifically regarding elderly abuse. Let’s face it, the main objective is to ensure a safe and secure environment free from abuse for the entire elderly population.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2013).
Abuse Prohibition Review. Retrieved from http://www.illinoislegalaid.org
Hawes, C. (2003).
Elder Abuse in Residential Long-Term Care Settings: What is Known and What Information Is Needed?. Retrieved from
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