The decision to move a loved one to a nursing home is often painful for all parties involved. The friend or family member requiring professional care often objects to the placement. The person responsible for the placement decision may feel remorse and guilt, and very often there is an underlying concern that their loved one will not receive professional care.
Unfortunately, statistics on nursing home negligence would seem to suggest that such fears are warranted. How might one best assure that a loved one will be treated professionally and respectfully? What duties does the service provider owe your loved one? And, what is your recourse, and what might you expect, in the event that the service provider fails to fulfill those duties?
Research before the fact
Your single most powerful tool for reducing the likelihood of your loved one suffering from nursing home negligence is thorough research and legwork prior to placement. Seek personal recommendations from those you trust. Research alternatives on the internet, read customer reviews, check government databases for reports of abuse and neglect, and look for news articles on these subjects.
Narrow the list to a manageable number and then visit personally to get the feel of these places. Do the caregivers appear happy, friendly, and glad to be there? Does the facility seem to be properly staffed? Is it clean and well-kept? Narrow the field, and if appropriate, finally bring your loved one to the facilities you have selected. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so do your homework before the fact.
What duties are owed to the patient?
Duties owed the patient by the facility are generally of two kinds: those specifically set forth in the patient contract and those imposed by the ever-changing confluence of federal and state regulation, judicial fiat, evolving industry standards and practices, developments in science and medicine, and the medical history and changing physical condition of the patient. In order to prove a case of negligence, the plaintiff in a legal case (often the injured party) must demonstrate:
- the existence on the part of the facility of a legal duty
- the failure on the part of the facility to reasonably meet that duty
- those injuries were caused by the failure to meet that duty
- that damages exist arising from the injuries
- that the damages are attributable to failures on the part of the facility.
For example, imagine a case in which a patient dies of starvation for lack of being fed. Absent unusual circumstances, this would be a relatively easy case to prove. Imagine a case in which a patient develops a serious infection because they were not turned frequently enough in their beds. Consider a case in which a patient suffers a fall, perhaps in the context of attempting to move from a wheelchair to their bed unassisted because they tired of waiting for assistance in an understaffed facility. These are just a few examples.
If you have reason to believe that a loved one has been injured because of the negligence of a nursing home employee, it is advisable to promptly contact experienced local nursing home negligence attorneys to evaluate the case and offer proper counsel for your loved one. By seeking justice for your loved one, you are also benefiting society at large. Please visit https://www.kanialaw.com/personal-injury-law/nursing-home-negligence-attorneys for more information.