“Nursing home abuse” is a term given to the unlawful care of nursing home residents, including abuse or neglect. Nursing home abuse can come in many different forms, including:
- Intentional injury or assault
- Inappropriate care
- Insufficient care
- Improperly trained staff
- Insufficient supervision of nursing home residents,
- Other negligent operations of the facility.
Too often nursing homes put profits over people, resulting in injuries of nursing home residents.
Common Injuries Caused by Nursing Home Abuse
The most common injuries resulting from nursing home abuse cases are bedsores, also called “pressure sores” or “decubitus ulcers.” Other common injuries of nursing home abuse include broken bones, contractures, fractures, and other falling-related injuries; infections, malnutrition and dehydration; injuries stemming from improper restraint, improperly administered medication, and injuries stemming from physical assault by the staff or other residents. Because of the age, already deteriorating health, and fragility of most nursing home residents, many of these injuries lead to death or serious injury.
Oftentimes, these types of injuries are a result of a limited amount of staffing and resources to care for residents at the nursing home. Understanding the underlying facts leading up to a nursing home injury is just as important as understanding what actually occurred, and the injuries incurred as a direct result.
Understanding the Situation
Documenting conditions within the nursing home will create a better understanding of the situation and the nature of the case. In nearly every nursing home abuse case an excuse is given by the nursing home for its mistakes. At first blush, one might be inclined to give the nursing home the benefit of the doubt. However, when digging deeper, it often becomes readily obvious that those mistakes could have been easily avoided had the nursing home been paying proper attention. Indeed, the nursing staff is required by law to provide a minimum standard of care to the weak and vulnerable residents of a nursing home.
Thus, when recalling the condition of a nursing home after an injury has occurred, it is important to note such things as:
- How did the facility look?
- How did the facility smell?
- Was the staff readily present?
- Were there sufficient safety measures in place?
- Did other residents seem happy to be there?
- Did the nursing home attempt to have family sign away the resident’s rights?
- Did the nursing home review the Care Plan for the resident?
- Were there a sufficient number of staff members on duty given the number of residents at the facility?
The answers to these questions can have a significant impact as to the value of a nursing home abuse case.
Given the tricky nature of nursing home abuse cases, litigation can be a very long and difficult process. Proper evaluation of a nursing home abuse case requires a detailed gathering of facts, records, statements, nursing home conditions, and countless other important pieces of information, such whether the standard of care was met, and, if not, if injury was a result. With the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers of Dwyer, Williams, Potter, you and your loved one will receive the representation and settlement you deserve.
Nursing Home Resident Rights
In nursing home facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid payments, both federal and state laws protect the rights of vulnerable people. A few of the rights that a nursing home resident has include:
- The right to be fully informed—by word and in writing—of the policies and procedures protecting the person’s other rights.
- All of the rights of citizenship the person has in the United States.
- The right to know all of the services available at the facility, including whether it is certified for Medicare or Medicaid residents, and the right to assistance in applying for those benefits.
- The right to be fully informed about the person’s own health condition.
- The right to choose one’s own physician.
- The right to refuse medication, treatment, or care.
- The right not to be forced to perform therapeutic activities.
- The right to be free from punishment and involuntary isolation.
- The right to be free from verbal, physical, sexual, and mental abuse.
- The right to be free from chemical or physical restraints except on a doctor’s order and as a last resort for the person’s safety.
- The right not to be transferred or discharged without good cause, advance notice, a discharge or transfer plan, and the right to a hearing to stop the proposed change.
- The right not to be sent to a new room without a good reason, advance notice, or sufficient preparation.
- The right to make suggestions and complaints, and to have the staff act promptly in response.
- The right to be free from retaliation of any kind for making complaints or suggestions.
- The right to be treated with courtesy and respect.