Nursing home neglect is a form of medical malpractice and one of the worst things that a family can experience when they place their loved ones in the care of someone else. Neglect is a not so common issue that arises when employees of the nursing home are not satisfied with their working environment or they are not properly trained. It is the responsibility of the nursing home to assist the staff members in receiving the proper training and assuring that they are meeting the needs of the residents.
When working in geriatrics, there are basic needs that the elderly individual needs daily. It is the responsibility of the nursing home staff to provide these basic needs such as hygiene, bathing, dressing, turning, medical care, nutrition, emotional support, and housing. When one or more of these items fall short, there is a definite case for the state of human resources to come in and inspect the records and care of the individual in question. Once the state compliance team is in the building, they will usually review most of the resident’s charts and care to make sure there are no other cases where the care has fallen short.
Nursing home lawsuits are usually a result of a complaint from a family member or staff member of the facility suggesting medical malpractice. Occasionally, another resident or family member of another resident will witness something that he or she will call and complain to the state about resulting in an investigation. Once the state compliance department validates a complaint, the family or resident has a validated reason for a lawsuit against the facility.
Lawyers that handle these type of malpractice lawsuits generally come into the facility and interview the residents and some of the administration team. The lawyer will also collect records for the resident on their care. One of the most common types of neglect is personal care issues. Each resident is required to have baths or showers, and personal hygiene daily. The bath may only be a bed bath. Each resident that is bed bound should be turned regularly to avoid bedsores. The nursing home usually requires the aides to turn the residents every couple of hours. Sometimes the aides get busy with other things and neglect turning the resident. After a time, the resident may develop bedsores that can lead to infections and sometimes death. Treatment nurses are responsible for the cleaning and dressing of these bedsores. They are required to treat however the physician or Medical Director orders. When the lawyer investigates and finds that the nurse did not follow the treatment orders, the nurse and the facility can be in jeopardy of being sued.
Dignity issues are one of the most common causes for lawsuits. One resident may complain that the aides left the doors open while bathing them, or that the aide was discussing them outside with other people. This is also against their HIPPA regulations and is grounds for lawsuit and the employee’s termination.
Neglecting to provide a resident with their food is a form of abuse and neglect. It is possible that a staff member will set a resident’s tray in the room but not put it within reach. Alternatively, they may not sit and feed the resident when the resident needs total care. This will cause the resident to lose weight or become ill from the medications they are taking without the proper nutrition on board. Any staff member that is guilty of this behavior will probably lose their job, lose their licenses to work in health care, and be part of a lawsuit provided there is a lawyer representing the resident’s complaint.
Other types of neglect or abuse to be aware:
Restraining a resident, misdiagnosis of an illness or wrong medication orders, medication errors, dehydration, assault, falls, and bedsores are some of the most common things that are reviewed by the state’s compliance team. If you suspect your family member has suffered from any of the above issues, it is your responsibility to contact an attorney to represent your loved one. No one would want to be put in the predicament where he or she is dependent on others and have no choices. This leaves you wide open to being mistreated.
Hiring an attorney to represent your loved one:
When you have a case of neglect, contact a lawyer that is familiar with nursing home regulations. They have the experience and expertise to investigate and take the case to trial. Nursing home neglect attorneys will pursue a case of neglect or abuse by investigating any claims made by the family. Most lawyers that investigate and handle these type cases will do so contingent on winning the case. Lawyers will contact the facility administrator, contact the Medical Director, and then contact the insurance company for the facility. Each facility is required to carry a set amount of insurance to cover any acts of abuse or negligence.
Nursing home complaint team:
People such as the elderly need someone to look out for their well-being. Each state has a complaint team that will investigate any complaints from residents or family members about a facility. When they tag a facility for things that are wrong, they send a report to the state regulation committee of that state and a copy to the facility. Each facility has the opportunity to correct the complaints that were verified. In the cases of neglect or abuse, the family has the right to sue the facility when the inspection crew verifies the complaint. The family has the right to leave their family member in the facility or to request a transfer to another facility while the case is active.
If you or your loved one has suffered at the hands of a nursing facility, a hospital, an assisted living, or a skilled nursing home then it is your responsibility to contact an attorney to handle your case. Remember, when you make a complaint, you are not only helping your family member to receive better care, but you are also helping those residents that are unable to speak for themselves.