Yes, the family can file both a complaint and a formal action because under Federal law, your grandmother had the right to receive proper healthcare and unintentional neglect leading to sepsis could be considered abuse.

Resident’s rights.

The Nursing Home Reform Act under Title IV: of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 created uniform guidelines for long-term care facilities receiving federal Medicaid and Medicare funding that grant all nursing home residents the rights to maintain and receive adequate nutrition, personal hygiene, mental and emotional support, and social involvement. Those who are incapable of daily living activities such as grooming and using the restroom are entitled to personalized care from nursing home staff.

Federal nursing home laws state that residents are entitled to receive:

  • Medically-related social services
  • Proper health care, such as primary and dental care
  • Accurate dispensing, receipt, and administration of medicines and drugs
  • Dietary services that meet daily nutritional needs of each patient
  • Special services for mentally ill or retarded residents
  • Personal, material, and financial privacy when requested
  • Treatment that does not violate the resident’s dignity or respect.

Colorado law.

Under Colorado law Article 3.1 Protective Services for Adults, possible nursing home abuse occurred by:

“2.3)(a) “Caretaker neglect” means neglect that occurs when adequate food, clothing, shelter, psychological care, physical care, medical care, habilitation, supervision, or other treatment necessary for the health or safety of the at-risk adult is not secured for an at-risk adult or is not provided by a caretaker in a timely manner and with the degree of care that a reasonable person in the same situation would exercise, or a caretaker knowingly uses harassment, undue influence,

Other common types of abuse.

  1. Verbal abuse – The directed use of oral, written language or improper gestures that include critical, offensive and belittling terms to residents or their families, or where they can be heard even when a resident cannot comprehend such abuse including: 1) threats of harm or scaring them through fabricated stories.
  2. Sexual abuse – sexual harassment, sexual coercion or sexual assault.
  3. Physical abuse – to hit, slap, pinch or kick or affect control by the threat of corporal punishment.
  4. Mental abuse – humiliation, harassment, threatening punishment or deprivation, and gas lighting.
  5. Involuntary seclusion – Separating a resident from other residents taking them from their personal space, or even confinement to his room (with/without roommates) against the resident’s will, or the will of the resident’s legal representative.
  6. Unintentional Abuse – warning signs may include developing bed sores due to failure to change the victim’s sheets and/or regularly reposition the resident to improve circulation, exacerbation of conditions like diabetes due to changes in medication, diet and exercise, frequent falls, or poor hygiene such as bathing or brushing teeth.

Violation of resident rights could lead to punitive damages.

Nursing homes may be liable for negligence in care, via unintentional abuse leading to a decline in a resident’s physical health, and can be sued for monetary compensation for the abuse, or neglect.

Report nursing home or elder abuse in Colorado.

  1. Email [email protected] with subject line “Nursing Home Complaint”
  2. Fax to 303-753-6214 “To Nursing Home Complaint Intake”
  3. Mail to CDPHE, HFEMSD-C1 Attention: Nursing Home Complaint Intake, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver, CO 80246-1530
  4. Ca11 303-692-2442 or 1-800-886-7689, extension 2442

Call an attorney.

If you have personally experienced nursing home abuse, or are a family member of someone who has, you should meet with an attorney at the Law Offices of Andrew T. Brake, P.C., who has experience dealing with matters involving negligence in the care of a nursing home resident.

Law Offices of Andrew T. Brake, P.C.

3615 S Tamarac Drive

Denver, CO 80237

303-806-9000

Sources:

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs/report-abuse-older-adult

https://www.congress.gov/bill/100th-congress/house-bill/3545/titles

https://www.coloradoaps.com/uploads/5/0/9/7/50975653/aps_statute_2017.pdf