Arizona Nursing Home Abuse Law — Think You Know What “Reasonable Suspicion” Means?

November 2, 2015  |  Serious Accidents, Nursing Home Abuse

It’s one of the most important laws in the country that has to do with elder abuse and neglect — and yet few people know what it is.

It’s called the Elder Justice Act and it’s a portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. This law makes it very clear that owners, contractors and staff members of long term elderly nursing care facilities that are federally funded must report “reasonable suspicion of a crime” to the Department of Health Services, as well as one law enforcement agency or more.

But wait right there, because now we have to talk about what “reasonable suspicion” really means.

Reasonable suspicion is a phrase often used in criminal procedures that is a step down from — or looser than — “probable cause.” For example, reasonable suspicion is able to justify brief detentions or stops, but not enough to justify a full search.

If you live in Arizona or have an elderly loved one in a nursing home in Arizona, “reasonable suspicion” applies to you because it means that you are able to report the  potential case of elder abuse based upon reasonable suspicion, not probable cause. That means you don’t have to wait until your suspicion potentially leads to severe abuse or neglect of your elderly loved one; it means you can speak up and get potential help now, before the potential elderly neglect or abuse becomes even more extreme.

Nursing home abuse laws exist in Arizona in order to better protect elderly loved ones from the serious risk for elderly abuse or neglect in nursing homes. If you have a reasonable suspicion of such abuse, you have a right to do something about it.

Here’s what you can do: You can talk to the management at your elderly loved one’s nursing home to report the suspicion. You can talk to the police to report your suspicion. And, you contact a nursing home abuse lawyer at Baron and Budd to alert our lawyers about what’s going on. Extra points if you can do all three.

Our elderly loved ones deserve our protection — and Arizona is a state that makes sure that can happen. Let’s do our loved ones a favor by not turning a blind eye to potentially suspicious behavior or physical traumas in nursing homes.

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