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New York Required to Hand Over Records on Disabled Patients

On March 18, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe ruled that the Cuomo administration and New York’s Justice Center must disclose records related to the abuse of disabled and mentally ill patients in the State’s care. Disability Rights New York (DRNY) has requested records involving disabled youths and adults who were allegedly abused, on multiple occasions but all of the requests were denied.

The plaintiff, DRNY, is an organization that advocates for the protection of the civil and legal rights of people in New York with disabilities. They have the obligation to investigate the abuse of individuals with mental illness and developmental disabilities. To fulfil that obligation, DRNY wanted to see the full investigative reports that New York Justice Center completed, including the names of staff accused of committing abuse or neglect, names of those who filed complaints, and clinical records. The Justice Center is a New York State run state agency established to protect people with special needs from mistreatment, and often investigates abuse allegations throughout the state.

During the trial, the Justice Center argued that it should be allowed to redact information such as names and details in clinical records before handing over records. The Judge disagreed, and stated that if the Justice Center did not turn over the records or provided records that were redacted information, DRNY’s mandate to advocate for disabled New Yorkers would be impeded.

Taking proper care of the disabled and elderly in our society who depend on us is of the utmost importance. If you have questions about the care of a disabled or elderly loved one, contact an experienced New York elder law attorney who can help. For more information, contact Hobson-Williams, P.C. at (718) 210-4744 for the quality representation that you deserve.

Protecting Loved Ones from Elder Abuse

Finding professional and caring home care services for an elderly family member can be challenging.  Families express concerns over the prevention of elder abuse and how they can protect a loved one’s legal rights.  Seeking advice from an experienced elder law attorney can help you make the right decisions when it comes to your elderly loved ones.

There are several forms of elder maltreatment, including emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse, and financial abuse.  Some studies report as much as 25 percent of elderly adults are abused in some fashion at the hands of caregivers.  Caregivers can be paid employees or family members.

One obstacle in remedying elder abuse is identifying it in the first place.  Older adults may have dementia or other health issues, that may cause them to have a disheveled appearance.  Separating the cases where an individual’s grooming issues are caused by maltreatment, as opposed to it being an effect of medical and psychological concerns, is not as easy as one might think.  Additionally, it may be necessary for caregivers to take precautions, such as physical restraints, to safeguard an individual’s safety.  Each case must be analyzed on an individual basis because the circumstances may lead to a finding of maltreatment, or may be a justifiable safety measure.

Another obstacle facing abuse is the secrecy surrounding issues of elder abuse.  According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, there are approximately 65.7 million informal and family caregivers in America.  Due to such a high number of family and informal caregivers, many times elder abuse is not discussed or reported.  Aside from instances of intentional abuse, caregivers can often suffer from fatigue and lack of resources to adequately care for their loved one which can lead to unintentional neglect or abuse.

Choosing the right caregiver and planning for long term care are very difficult and important decisions you and your family will have to make.  Contact an experienced New York elder law attorney who can help.  For more information, contact Hobson-Williams, P.C. at (718) 210-4744 for the quality representation that you deserve.