Ensuring the Best Nursing Home Care for Your Loved One. Placing your loved one into a nursing home or other long-term care facility can be difficult for both the individual and their families. The transition from independent living to a nursing home can be stressful, but it is often necessary for elderly individuals who need 24-hour care and medical attention. Naturally, you want the best care possible for your loved one. With the prevalence of nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits, it is easy to understand the stress behind choosing the right nursing home.
The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP have decades of experience representing nursing home abuse and neglect victims. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit.
There are several factors to consider when choosing a nursing home. Location can greatly influence your decision. If possible, choose a nursing home that is close to your home or workplace so that you can visit your loved one easily. Frequent visits may help nursing home residents adapt more easily to their environment, and overall improve their quality of life. Additionally, if you visit the nursing home often then you and the staff are more likely to become familiar with one another.
When considering a nursing home, be sure to look around the facility in detail. Make sure the facility is clean and implements the proper safeguards to protect residents. Falls, for example, are a common injury among elderly individuals that can lead to serious, life-threatening complications. Ask the staff about the precautions they take to prevent their residents from falling. Overall, the nursing home should provide a safe environment for their residents. Another example of nursing home neglect may be if a closet full of hazardous chemicals is left unlocked, easily allowing residents access.
Additionally, a resident is more likely to suffer a fall or other injury if the facility is understaffed. When selecting the right nursing home for your loved one, ask about the resident-to-staff ratio; you want to make sure that someone will be available in a timely manner if your loved one suddenly requires help or medical attention.
Be sure to ask staff members or the nursing home representatives about any special requirements your loved one needs. Make sure that the facility has the resources and staff available for their specific requirements.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Background
Once you select a nursing home, it is a good idea to make both scheduled and unscheduled visits. Be sure to observe the facility during each visit, and perhaps compare what you see during a scheduled visit to a surprise visit. Talk to the staff about what steps are being taken to ensure that your loved one’s needs are being met.
When should you file a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit? Nursing home lawsuits are filed when the nursing home’s actions were abusive, negligent or if staff acted in an intentional manner that caused harm. Abuse or neglect may result from an inappropriate action, or when a staff member failed to act appropriately in a certain situation.
Parker Waichman comments that, in the event of abuse or neglect, pursuing nursing home litigation provides justice for the resident, but it also holds a facility liable for their actions. Filing a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit can lead to serious legal consequences, discouraging unsafe and illegal behaviors from occurring in the future. Many nursing home settlements and verdicts have resulted from litigation.
Nursing home lawsuits may be filed for many different reasons. For example, some lawsuits may be related to nursing home hiring practices, with plaintiffs alleging that staff are inadequately trained or improperly supervised. Nursing home injuries may result from a facility that does not have enough staff members to care for all its residents. Unfortunately, there have also been cases where staff intentionally committed acts of physical, verbal or sexual abuse. In some instances, alleged nursing home abuse and neglect have caused serious injury or death.
Of course, not all nursing homes commit abuse and neglect. But it can be helpful for visitors to make observations in the facility to ensure that their loved one is receiving the appropriate care, especially since some residents are unable to communicate to their loved ones.
Bedsores, weight loss, falling and unexplained bruises or injuries are possible (but not necessarily definitive) signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. These “hidden” issues may be important to keep in mind when visiting your loved one in the nursing home. Bedsores, also referred to as pressure sores or pressure ulcers, are sores caused by unrelieved pressure. If a resident has been laying in one position for too long, they can develop a bedsore. When visiting the nursing home, check for bedsores. You can also ask the staff how often the bed-ridden residents are turned over. According to the Mayo Clinic, bony areas such as the heels, ankles, hips and tailbone are the most susceptible to bedsores.
Weight loss can occur if the resident is not receiving the proper nutrition, although certain medical conditions may cause weight loss as well. If you are concerned that your loved one is not eating enough, you can enquire about how often they are receiving meals.
As previously mentioned, injuries from falling are a primary concern with elderly individuals in nursing homes. Nursing home facilities are obligated to have fall-prevention plans, since this is a known risk. If your loved one suffered a falling-related injury, you should investigate whether the appropriate safeguards are in place. Also, pay attention to unexplained bruises or injuries, as these may be a sign of neglect or physical abuse.