Many people classify the various facilities intended to care for seniors into one group and call them all nursing homes. However, there are several types of facilities that offer elderly individuals different services and amenities. If you have an elderly loved one, the differences between these facilities are important to know. They may have distinctive responsibilities when it comes to taking care of your loved one. They may also have different federal and state regulations to follow. These factors could impact your loved one’s legal claim if they ever become injured or your wrongful death action if your loved one passed away in a facility.

If your loved one was harmed at any type of long-term care or assisted living facility, and you believe abuse or neglect is to blame, contact our long-term care lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC right away. We have decades of experience in handling elder abuse and neglect cases. As legal authorities in the field of elder care and abuse law in Wisconsin, we are well-versed in all the varieties of care facilities as well as the state and federal laws that regulate how they must operate.

To discuss how an assisted living attorney can help, call us at (715) 343-2850 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation.

Wisconsin Care & Assisted Living Facilities for Seniors

  • Long-term care facilities encompass nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and other elder-care facilities. These all provide seniors with personal and medical care for a significant period. It may be required for weeks or months after a specific medical treatment, like surgery, or it may be for the foreseeable future.
  • Nursing homes are intended to provide seniors with 24/7 care. Nursing homes offer the greatest amount of care of any other facility. There are usually physicians on staff, though nurses and nursing assistants provide most of the care. These facilities must be licensed, and if they accept Medicare or Medicaid, they must adhere to federal regulations. If the facility fails to meet federal regulations, it will not be certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Some nursing homes provide significant medical care while others provide mainly custodial, non-medical care, including bathing, dressing, and eating.
  • Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) overlap with nursing homes. SNFs have a full-time professional medical staff to provide 24/7 care. They are more likely to provide rehabilitation services, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy. SNFs may be standalone facilities, like a nursing home, or they could be part of another facility, like a hospital. SNFs are regulated by the CMS and the U.S. Department of Health. The Department of Health does not regulate nursing homes. While a senior may move into a nursing home for the foreseeable future, many seniors go to SNFs for a specific period to recover from an injury.
  • Assisted living facilities offer apartment-style housing, organized social interaction, and private support services based on what a resident needs. Health care services are available, though the assisted living facility does not provide as intensive of medical care as a nursing home. Elderly individuals may live in an assisted living facility when they are still a bit independent, yet they need help with certain tasks and managing their medications.
  • Memory care facilities are intended for seniors who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia. Memory care facilities usually have heightened security and restricted access. This is to ensure residents do not get lost. These facilities will have different types of activities and social programs. Memory care facilities vary in structure. Your loved one may live in a skilled nursing facility that is intended for dementia patients, or they may live in an assisted-living facility.
  • Retirement communities are often lumped in with long-term care facilities, though they are actually different. Retirement homes or communities are housing complexes designed for seniors, yet offer fully independent living. Depending on the community, there may be a number of amenities such as housekeeping, maintenance, and a dining room to take meals in. There are usually opportunities to socialize as well.

How To Keep Your Loved One Safe in a Wisconsin Nursing Home - Second Edition

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Nursing Home Book

Wisconsin’s Long-term Care Facility Regulations

Wisconsin has numerous regulations related to the different types of long-term care facilities.

Wisconsin defines a nursing home as a facility where five or more people, unrelated to the administrator, receive care or treatment, and because of their condition, require access to 24-hour nursing services, including all levels of nursing services. These facilities are regulated by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and, if they accepted Medicare or Medicaid, by the federal CMS.

In Wisconsin, assisted living facilities include:

  • Adult Day Care: These facilities are certified by Wisconsin’s DHS, though they are not licensed.
  • Adult Family Home: These facilities, which provide room and board and up to seven hours of nursing care per week for three or four adults are licensed by the Wisconsin DHS.
  • Community-based Residential Facility: These facilities house between five and 257 seniors who need additional care, though it does not rise to the level of requiring intermediate-level nursing care. They are licensed by the Wisconsin DHS.
  • Residential Care Apartment Complex: These facilities are independent apartment complexes. Each senior has their own lockable apartment with a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom. The facilities provide no more than 28 hours per week of supportive, nursing, or emergency services. These apartment complexes are registered or certified, though they are not licensed by DHS.

If your loved one was injured at a care facility in Wisconsin, it is vital that you determine what type of facility they were residing in. The type of facility determines the regulations it must adhere to and the standard of care it owes your loved one. What may be considered negligent care in a Wisconsin nursing home may not be negligence are in a community-based residential facility. Contact our long-term care lawyers to discuss your loved one’s rights and legal options after being harmed at a facility.

Wisconsin Residents’ Rights

If your loved one resides in a nursing home, they have a number of rights based on Wisconsin DHS Section 132.31. For the Wisconsin residents’ rights to apply to your loved one, they must reside in a nursing home licensed until DHS Section 50.03.

If your loved one is in another type of facility, that does not mean they lack rights. They are protected by other Wisconsin laws, including conducting caregiver background checks and mandatory allegation reporting. Additionally, if your loved one is in a community-based residential facility, they are protected by DHS Section 83.32, related to residents’ rights. If they reside in an adult family home, their rights are defined in DHS Section 82.10.

Your elderly loved one is never without rights. If your relative lives in a facility where they are provided with certain medical and custodial services, then they are always entitled to a certain standard of care. Your loved one is always entitled to be free from abuse as most instances of abuse are also criminal acts. The specific rights granted to your loved one by Wisconsin or federal law can be important and shape how we move forward with the case. However, do not worry about these specific rights just yet. Call our assisted living attorneys to discuss what has happened to your loved one and the best next steps.

Federal Regulations and Residents’ Rights

Nursing home and long-term care facilities may be governed by federal law, though not always. If a facility does not accept federal funding and is fully private, it may only be regulated by the state. However, if a facility accepts Medicare and Medicaid, whether or not in relation to your relative, then it must adhere to CMS regulations.

Long-term care residents’ rights are outlined in 42 CFR §483.10. Under federal law, long-term care facility residents have the right to a dignified existence. They have the right to self-determination and communication with, and access to, persons and services inside and outside the facility. The facility is required to protect and promote the rights of each resident, including to be free from discrimination, abuse, and neglect.

The required quality of care is laid out in 42 CFR §483.25, which states that every long-term care facility resident must receive, and the facility must provide, the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being.

If your loved one was injured due to negligent care, medical malpractice, or abuse at a long-term facility you know accepts federal financial assistance, contact our long-term care attorneys right away. We will investigate your relative’s situation and advise you on whether the facility’s actions violated your loved one’s rights under federal law.

Contact Our Wisconsin Long-Term Care Lawyers Today

It can be difficult to determine your loved one’s rights and legal options when they are hurt in an assisted-living facility. There is a significant amount of information online about nursing home resident rights. However, if your loved one does not live in a nursing home, the lack of applicable information may leave you confused and unsure of where to turn. At Studinski Law, LLC, we are highly experienced in senior’s rights in whatever type of care facility they reside. We are here to help if your loved one was hurt while living in a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, assisted living facility, or memory care facility.

Contact us online or call (715) 343-2850 to schedule an initial consultation.

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