Nursing Home Negligence/Neglect
When you trust a family member’s well-being to a nursing facility, you expect to have peace of mind that they will receive the highest quality care available. After all, your loved one’s need for around-the-clock supervision is the main reason they moved into a nursing home. When family members make this difficult decision, they should not have to worry about nursing home negligence or neglect. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Nursing homes can also provide short-term stays for those who need help recuperating from surgery or illness. More frequently, these medical facilities offer long-term care for residents, generally elderly, who require ongoing assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and specialized care for serious or chronic illnesses.
While many adequate facilities boast qualified, compassionate staff, you may encounter occasions when your family member suffers from inadequate care. Maybe you even have a gut feeling that something isn’t right.
If you are concerned about possible nursing home negligence or neglect, look for the following potential warning signs.
Signs of Potential Nursing Home Negligence/Neglect
You are your loved one’s greatest advocate. Ask yourself the following questions to see if they raise any red flags.
Is your family member complaining far more than usual? Does he or she seem withdrawn? If your loved one has any sudden, dramatic, or unexplained personality changes, there may be a problem with the care they are receiving.
Inadequate personal hygiene
Are you concerned that your family member may not be receiving adequate assistance with everyday personal hygiene needs like showering, dressing, and hair care?
Lack of cleanliness
Does the facility look and smell clean? How about your loved one’s room, bath, sheets, and blankets? Are you concerned about the cleanliness of the dining room or in-room food services?
Reaching out for assistance
If your family member needs help, is there a mechanism for them to alert the staff? Does the staff respond in a timely fashion, or does your loved one experience unreasonable and uncomfortable delays? If you have discussed the problem with staff members, how have they responded?
Do you see different faces every time you visit, indicating high staff turnover? Do staff members always seem rushed, stressed, or short of patience? Do you see members of the management team onsite regularly?
If your loved one becomes injured, does the staff alert you? Has your family member been experiencing an unusual member of bumps, bruises, cuts, and falls? If you express your concern, how does the staff tend to react?
What Is Nursing Home Negligence?
Every situation is unique, but nursing home negligence occurs if a resident’s basic emotional, social, hygienic, or medical needs are unmet.
The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 compels facilities to uphold quality care standards and safeguard not just a resident’s physical health but also their mental and psychosocial health.
The legislation establishes fundamental rights and freedoms for nursing home residents. It states that residents are entitled to privacy, dignity, free will, and open communication. They have the right to be involved with and informed about their care plans. It requires nursing homes to make adjustments to meet residents’ physical and medical needs, along with their psychological and social ones. Overall, the Nursing Home Reform Act establishes residents’ rights to care without mistreatment, neglect, or abuse.
If a nursing home or its staff does not protect residents’ rights, and these residents suffer nursing home negligence, they have the right to speak out without fear of retaliation.
What Should You Do?
Families sometimes find it challenging to address issues of nursing home negligence or neglect. You may feel guilt, shame, or embarrassment over the situation. However, you should not blame yourself. Your loved one is a victim, and you can help most by advocating for his or her health and safety.
If you suspect nursing home negligence or neglect, you should, first, alert the facility’s management. The nursing home may not be aware of a problem with a specific staff member. It would be best if you were as detailed as possible, providing specifics on the issue, as well as the date and time of the occurrence(s).
You might also reach out to social services in the area or your family member’s medical doctor. If you believe the situation is urgent, you should not hesitate to contact 911.
If you’re not sure what to do, or if the nursing home does not quickly or adequately address your concerns, you may seek advice from state or federal sources, such as the Florida Department of Children and Families or the U.S. Administration on Aging.
Your top priority should be to secure a safe place for your family member.
Can We Seek Damages for Nursing Home Negligence or Neglect?
In cases of nursing home negligence, your loved one’s well-being is your primary concern. Once your loved one is safe, reach out to a Coral Gables personal injury attorney who specializes in the area of the law to determine your next steps. You may want to pursue a civil suit against the nursing home, its management, and its employees for compensation for damages.
To seek damages, your best advocate will be a catastrophic injury attorney, since these civil suits can be extremely challenging. The nursing home will retain counsel, and they may question your loved one’s reliability and frame of mind. Your attorney will best be able to fight for your loved one’s rights.
Reasons for a civil claim include:
- Inadequate staffing
- Poorly trained employees
- Unqualified staff
- Medication mistakes
Additional causes include violating a resident’s fundamental rights or failing to protect a resident from visitors or other third parties.
After a thorough consultation with you and a review of your case, your attorney will determine the amount of damages you can seek. In general, they include medical costs and pain and suffering.
In the worst cases of nursing home negligence, those that result in the death of a family member, you may also want to seek compensation for wrongful death and funeral expenses. You can also receive other damages such as punitive compensation. Your lawyer will advise you and advocate for you and your loved one.
As a nursing home resident, your loved one deserves the highest standard of care. If the nursing home and its staff do not provide that care, they may be committing nursing home negligence or neglect.
Contact Menendez Trial Attorneys
If your loved one has been the victim of nursing home negligence or neglect, you need a fighter in your corner. The formidable team at Menendez Trial Attorneys pulls no punches when serving our clients in Miami, Coral Gables, and all major metro areas in South Florida.
We go for the win with a no-nonsense, evidence-driven approach to the law. Please contact us today at 305-445-6500, so we can review your nursing home negligence case and start advocating for you. Se Habla Español.
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