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Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Laws

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorney in Green Bay, WI

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that more than half a million older persons over 60 are abused or neglected each year. Since many incidences of child abuse and neglect go unreported each year, these figures likely represent just a fraction of the actual problem. Elder abuse may occur in nursing homes and other treatment settings.

In cases of abuse or neglect where the victim is not in imminent danger, it is prudent to call our nursing home abuse attorney, who can guide you through the processes and rules that protect you or a loved one. 

Our Green Bay knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorney will walk you and your loved one through each step.

What Are the Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Laws in Green Bay, Wisconsin

nursing home abuse and neglect laws Green Bay, WI Almost 3,500 suspected incidents of abuse and neglect are recorded annually in Wisconsin alone. Self-neglect is included in these data. However, most cases occur in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In recent years, the federal government has implemented stricter regulations on nursing facilities, and states are also deciding to enact their legislation.

If you reside in Green Bay and have a loved one who is presently a resident of a nursing home, you must understand the nursing home abuse and neglect laws in Wisconsin to care for your loved one properly.

What Are the Governing Bodies on These Statutes?

To prevent nursing home abuse and neglect, the Wisconsin nursing home rules and regulations designate the Division of Quality Assurance of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services as the particular regulatory authority for this issue. This agency is responsible for investigating suspected occurrences of nursing home abuse and ensuring that all adult care facilities comply with applicable laws and regulations.

The state of Wisconsin adheres to all federal standards for nursing home care, but they have also enacted two additional sets of legislation, which are as follows:

  • Chapter DHS 132 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code
  • Chapter 50 of the Wisconsin Statutes

What Are the Laws That Protect the Elderly?

National Laws

Several significant national laws have been adopted in the United States to guarantee that every American is treated with decency and respect regardless of age. The four primary statutes intended to safeguard the elderly from nursing home abuse are as follows:

Elder Justice Act

Nursing facilities must give their respective state and the Secretary of Health and Human Services a 60-day written notice before any permanent closures. The Elder Justice Act commits money primarily to enhancing procedures and bringing abusers to justice, as the prosecution of elder abuse is a persistent problem for Americans. The Elder Justice Act also mandated the establishment of a national database for employee background checks, enabling companies to make informed hiring decisions.

The Older Americans Act

The Older Americans Act assures that senior individuals are always treated with respect, care, and dignity through various subsidies and programs. The legislation raises awareness of elder abuse as a problem and aids in developing support for victims and their families. 

Violence Against Women Act

In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act was passed, which was reauthorized in 2013. The statute focuses on domestic violence cases, especially those that span state, tribal, or federal lines. These grants may strengthen elder abuse victim services, prosecution training programs, multidisciplinary community response for victims, and cross-training for groups that assist abuse victims.

No Fear Act

The Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act (often referred to as the No Fear Act) protects whistleblowers in the workplace, allowing individuals to report elder abuse in nursing facilities without fear of retaliation. The No Fear Act was enacted in 2002 to assure equitable job opportunities, promotions, and pay increases for whistleblowers in the future. The No Fear Act significantly contributes to the solution of elder abuse because it permits witnesses to come forward when they would otherwise be terrified.

State Laws and Statutes


Statutes governing Adult Protective Services (APS) or Elder Protective Services (EPS) can be found in every state, ensuring a minimum degree of elder protection. Some states have numerous legislation and laws. Therefore, the extent of assistance for elder abuse differs by state. The APS legislation varies widely in its definitions of abuse, recognized categories of abuse, expectations for investigations, and remedies for abuse.

Ombudsman Programs

In addition, ombudsman programs for long-term care in every state ensure a high standard of care in nursing homes and other long-term care institutions. The ombudsman programs safeguard the rights and safety of the elderly by examining allegations of abuse and holding facilities accountable for their conduct.

Institutional Laws

In several states, elder abuse in nursing homes and other care institutions is also particularly addressed under institutional abuse statutes. In states with institutional abuse legislation, the APS will investigate allegations of elder abuse following their distinct laws and statutes.

Criminal Laws

Numerous states have enacted criminal statutes to specify clearer and more explicit penalties for elder abuse. In rare instances, general criminal statutes, such as assault and battery, rape, fraud, theft, and murder, may overlap with certain elder abuse-specific statutes. This expands the criminal law tools available to state law enforcement for prosecuting all types of elder abuse.

Mandatory Reporting Laws

There are mandatory reporting laws in all states except for New York. These statutes require individuals to report cases of nursing home abuse. Like federal statutes, these state statutes hold nursing homes liable for any mistreatment within their facilities. Because each state has its laws, protocols, and techniques for assisting victims of elder abuse, the quantity of information can be daunting for individuals unfamiliar with the legal aspects of elder abuse.

Other Jurisdictional Laws

The National Indigenous Elder Justice Initiative (NIEJI) is a collection of legislation designed to safeguard Native Americans under their sovereign position. NIEJI enforces each tribe’s own set of laws. Administration for Community Living, a United States Department of Health and Human Services branch, funds NIEJI.

What Constitutes Elder Abuse?

The Administration defines elder abuse on Aging, a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services, as “any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies six categories of maltreatment among older adults 60 years and older. These consist of the following:

If you want to pursue justice for an elderly relative, you need the help of an experienced elder abuse attorney. Call our Green Bay law firm today to find out how we can help/ 

What Constitutes Elder Neglect?

In general, neglect is defined as the inability of a caregiver, whether paid staff or a family member, to perform the responsibilities associated with the older person’s care.

Because the needs of the elderly are so diverse, the manifestations of neglect can also vary. Typically, they include any denial of shelter, food, clothes, hygiene, and medical treatment.


Abuse and neglect are never okay. Get the protection you need to keep your loved ones comfortable and safe.

What Are the Different Rights of the Residents of Wisconsin Nursing Homes?

State and federal laws protect the rights of senior citizens staying in nursing homes in Wisconsin. The Nursing Home Reform Law of 1987 mandates that all nursing homes provide residents with adequate care and treatment, with a strong emphasis on individual dignity and self-determination, fostering independence and increasing the quality of life for residents.

Among the rights guaranteed to nursing home care residents in Wisconsin are the rights to:

  • A copy of the rules and regulations of the nursing home.
  • Be informed about available services and the costs for each service.
  • Contact information of the ombudsman and state survey reports.
  • Advance notification before a change in rooms.
  • Receive proper and appropriate care.
  • Complain without worrying about retribution.
  • Refuse therapy and medicine.
  • Right to Privacy and Confidentiality during medical treatment, personal care, and interpersonal communication.
  • Be free of chemical and physical restrictions for the facility’s convenience.
  • Visit and socialize with individuals of their choosing, including family, friends, spiritual advisers, and those offering health, social, legal, or other services.
  • Participate in their therapy and be kept abreast of all medical condition changes.
  • Not be moved or released from the institution. There are limitations to this privilege for changes in the resident’s health, safety, or nonpayment.
  • Choose their doctor.
  • Manage their accounts or seek management of their finances by the facility.
  • A copy of their medical record.
  • Engage in community activities within and outside the nursing home.

What Are the Federal Regulations for the Standard of Care?

If a nursing home accepts Medicare, it must adhere to the federal regulations establishing the standard of care. One of these rules is 42 CFR section 483.25 (h), which states that these facilities must ensure:

  • The resident environment is as free as possible of potential accident dangers.
  • Each resident receives proper monitoring and accident-prevention measures.

If the nursing home fails to comply with these standards and an injured resident sues, the nursing home may be held liable.

How to Prove Nursing Home Negligence and Obtain Compensation?

Negligence is the legal doctrine that holds individuals accountable when their negligent acts cause injury to another individual. In the context of nursing home abuse, negligence occurs when a staff injures a patient by failing to provide a reasonable quality of care when all relevant facts and circumstances are considered. 

To determine what is reasonable given the circumstances, the court will examine typical business practices and government-established regulatory requirements. In addition to negligence, victims may be able to sue for deliberate behavior or under particular federal or state legislation. Some of the worst incidents of abuse include purposeful acts, as opposed to mistakes or oversights. 

In cases involving extremely heinous behavior, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the perpetrator in addition to compensating the victim. Compensation may include:

  • Medical expenditures, 
  • Physical pain, 
  • Emotional agony, and, 
  • If the victim dies, loss of consortium and assistance for surviving family.

Contact Our Green Bay Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been subjected to physical or emotional abuse at a long-term care facility, do not hesitate to report it. Contacting our knowledgeable Green Bay nursing home abuse attorney can help protect the victim’s rights and preserve crucial evidence for any prospective legal claims. Bringing a case against a nursing home for mistreatment offers victims compensation and ensures that the sector adheres to established standards according to Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Laws in Green Bay, WI.

We handle claims of nursing home abuse and negligence across Green Bay and the state of Wisconsin. Please call us immediately to learn more about your rights and choices from our experienced nursing home abuse attorney.

Gage Michaels ELDER LAW firm

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