Nevada law defines elder abuse as the intentional, knowing, or negligent act by any nursing home caregiver, or any other individual, that subjects a person who is 60 years of age or older to harm or the serious risk of harm. This type of conduct usually falls under one of five different categories, including:
- Abuse, which involves the willful and unjustified infliction of pain, injury, or mental distress, or the deprivation of food, clothing, shelter, or necessary services;
- Neglect, which includes the failure, whether intentional or unintentional, of a nursing home to provide food, shelter, clothing, personal hygiene services, or medical care to its patients;
- Self-neglect, which is not a crime, but includes the failure of elderly individuals to provide for their own needs as a result of an inability to do so;
- Exploitation, which includes an attempt by someone in a trust-based relationship with an elderly person to control that person’s assets, funds, or property, or to attempt to permanently deprive the individual of those assets through intimidation, undue influence, or deception; and
- Isolation, which involves intentionally preventing elderly individuals from receiving visitors, mail, or phone calls, unless medically or legally necessary, or using physical restraints to prevent visitation.
Nursing homes that are found to have committed one of these types of abuse can be held liable by the affected individual and his or her family members for related losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, property loss, and pain and suffering.
Nursing homes in Nevada must also provide a certain standard of care to their patients. This includes ensuring that patients and residents have 24 hour access to health services related to:
- Diet; and
- Specialized healthcare.
As a part of these services, nursing homes must conduct comprehensive assessments of each of their patients and then based on those assessments, must take steps to maintain each individual’s nutritional health, which includes protein levels and weight. Proper hydration must be maintained at all times through the supply of sufficient fluids and if necessary, patients must be provided with a therapeutic diet. Nursing homes must also employ at least one full-time registered nurse who is licensed in the state. These same requirements mandate that nursing homes provide safe, comfortable, and sanitary environments for their charges, so as to prevent the transmission and development of disease and infection. All nursing homes in Nevada must also maintain programs for infection control and must take steps to ensure that patients don’t develop bed sores or pressure sores, unless such prevention is medically unavoidable.