nursing home abuse and OBRAIn 1987, the federal government passed an important law to protect nursing home residents. The law, known as the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) or the Nursing Home Reform Act, set forth specific health and safety rules that nursing homes and nursing home staff members must follow to protect nursing home residents.

What OBRA Requires

OBRA requires that all nursing homes that accept Medicare or Medicaid funding comply with the federal nursing home safety regulations set forth in 42 CFR §483. Some of the provisions in these regulations require nursing homes to:

  • Develop individual comprehensive care plans for each resident
  • Keep each resident’s environment as free from accident hazards as possible
  • Provide each resident with adequate supervision and assistance to prevent accidents
  • Prevent each resident’s decline in activities of daily living such as the ability to bathe, eat, and use the bathroom
  • Prevent bedsores or pressure sores from developing
  • Provide appropriate services, treatment, and assistance to residents with urinary incontinence
  • Provide residents with sufficient fluids to maintain hydration and with proper nutrition
  • Ensure that residents are not harmed by significant medication errors
  • Maintain complete, accurate, and easily accessible clinical records for each resident

Many other federal regulations exist and the Commonwealth of Kentucky has its own regulations that apply to nursing home resident safety. Nursing homes have a legal duty to comply with all of these regulations. When a nursing home or its staff members fail to comply with applicable regulations, serious injuries can result.

A Violation of an OBRA Regulation May Be Important in a Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Case

Noncompliance with an OBRA regulation is not the same thing as nursing home negligence, but it could be important evidence in a nursing home negligence case. In order to recover damages in a nursing home negligence case, you must prove that:

  • Nursing home staff owed you a duty of care
  • Nursing home staff breached the duty of care by failing to act like reasonable staff would act in a similar situation
  • The breach of the duty of care caused your injuries
  • You are legally entitled to damages

The first and last standards described above are typically easy to establish. If you are a nursing home resident, the staff owes you a duty of care. If you were hurt by a breach in the duty of care, you are likely legally entitled to damages. Much of the disagreement in a nursing home negligence case comes down to the middle two standards. Specifically, whether nursing home staff violated their duty of care and whether those actions or inactions caused the nursing home resident’s injury.

Reasonable nursing home staff members typically comply with federal OBRA regulations. Therefore, if the staff members who caused your injuries did not comply with OBRA or state regulations, it could be important evidence that the staff members breached their duty of care. This can help you prove one of the more difficult parts of a negligence case; however, you will still need to prove the other elements of your claim.

Contact a Kentucky Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer If Your Loved One Has Been Injured

Nursing home neglect and abuse cases are complicated. In order to recover damages in a nursing home neglect case, an extensive investigation must be done, strong evidence must be collected, and persuasive arguments must be made.

Our lawyers have more than 70 years of combined experience helping nursing home neglect victims get the fair legal recoveries they deserve. We regularly take on complex cases and we have the experience and the resources to help our clients get the recoveries they deserve. To learn more, or to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, please reach out to us any time – 24/7/365 – via this website or by phone. Additionally, you can learn more about nursing home neglect cases in Kentucky by downloading a free copy of our book, Fight Back Against Nursing Home Abuse: What Families Need to Know to Help Their Loved One.

Mark K. Gray
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Louisville attorney serving the seriously injured in Kentucky

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