Negligence at a Nursing Home
When you place your parent or another loved one in a nursing home, you trust that they will care for this individual properly. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some people entrusted to nursing homes suffer injuries, illness or even death because of negligence.
What is Nursing Home Negligence?
Nursing home negligence is not the same as nursing home abuse. Whereas abuse occurs when a staff member harms a patient deliberately, negligence occurs when the staff member fails to meet the patient’s needs because of low quality care or a failure to provide necessary care at all. Examples of the types of nursing home negligence that may occur include:
- Medical neglect. – Medical neglect occurs when staff members don’t address medical concerns, such as infections or bed sores, adequately.
- Neglect of basic needs. – The nursing home has neglected the patient’s basic needs if he or she does not have access to a safe, clean environment, as well as food and water.
- Neglect of personal hygiene. – Nursing homes have a responsibility to aid patients in basic personal hygiene tasks, including tooth brushing, bathing and laundry. When they fail to uphold this responsibility, they have neglected the patients’ personal hygiene.
- Neglect of social or emotional needs. – This type of neglect occurs when the nursing home ignores or isolates a patient, causing emotional trauma.
What Causes Negligence?
Negligence in a nursing home may occur for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons may include:
- Understaffing. – When a nursing home doesn’t have enough staff members to cover the number of patients it has taken in, staff members cannot keep up with their duties. This leads to low quality care and neglect.
- Poorly trained staff members. – If staff members are not well educated or trained, neglect becomes more likely.
- Lack of resources. – Some lower quality nursing homes simply lack the resources necessary to provide proper care to patients.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
If your loved one is living in a nursing home, watching for signs of neglect is essential. Some of these signs may include:
- Bed sores
- Sudden weight loss
- Changes in behavior
- Poor personal hygiene.
- Obvious environmental hazards.
What Can You Do?
To prevent your loved one from becoming a victim of nursing home negligence, research potential nursing homes carefully before you choose a facility. Keep your eyes open for signs of nursing home negligence, and take action immediately if you notice any sign of a problem. If you find that a nursing home is not providing adequate care for your loved one, move him or her to a different facility as soon as you can.
If your loved one has been injured or has died because of nursing home negligence, you may be able to recover compensation by filing a lawsuit against the facility. If your lawsuit is successful, you may receive compensation to cover your loved one’s medical expenses, ongoing care, end-of-life expenses and/or funeral costs. You may also receive additional compensation for the pain, trauma and suffering experienced because of the neglect.
For example, in a recent Illinois nursing home negligence case, the family of a former patient sued the Lexington Health Care Center for medical negligence. The patient had fallen at the nursing home and fractured her hip. The patient’s family alleges that the nursing home did not monitor her properly, and that they did not take the steps necessary to prevent the fall. The family is seeking more than $50,000, plus the cost of the lawsuit.
To learn more about filing a nursing home negligence lawsuit, contact the Rooth Law Firm today.