- March 16, 2017
- Nursing Home Abuse
Like many Asheville families, you may have struggled with the decision of whether to place your aging loved one in a nursing home or other long-term care facility. These facilities are often the safest place for seniors with aging-related medical conditions. However, many nursing homes fall short of fulfilling their obligations to patients, often leading to negligent or intentional harm by the employees of these facilities.
Negligence in nursing homes
Accidents do happen even in the best care facilities. Residents’ physical and mental conditions often cause them to fall, wander, or put themselves into other dangerous situations. However, if your loved one seems to have frequent accidents, nursing home negligence may be the real culprit.
Nursing home staff probably assessed your loved one when she was admitted to the facility. After the assessment, the staff should have developed a care plan to make sure all her needs were being met. Care plans address many of the ins and outs of everyday life, like the resident’s ability to walk with or without assistance; ability to chew and swallow food or medication; their hygiene needs; and whether they need special measures like electronic monitoring to prevent them from wandering.
Negligence in nursing homes often results from understaffing. Caregivers in understaffed nursing homes may have difficulty meeting each resident’s needs. They may overlook some points on a resident’s care plan, like a requirement for a soft food diet or liquid medications, which could lead to choking if the patient is not given the proper meal or medication.
Poor training is another factor that leads to nursing home negligence. While most facilities require employees to have some certifications, each facility has its own policies and procedures regarding patient care. For example, if employers do not train their staff in housekeeping and hygiene practices, caregivers may not understand when and how to change bed linens, leaving residents in soiled, unsanitary conditions.
Intentional abuse in nursing homes
If one of your loved ones lives in a nursing home, you may fear the worst about the conditions he lives in if he has bruising or other unexplained injuries. While seniors are often unable to explain such injuries because of dementia or simple forgetfulness, frequent injuries are often a sign of ongoing abuse.
While abusers are unquestionably responsible for the abuse they inflict on nursing home residents, the facilities themselves may also be liable for their employees’ actions. There are often warning signs of abusive behavior, such as previous violent criminal charges on an employee’s background check or multiple allegations by residents. A CNN report on elder abuse describes how a facility in Western North Carolina ignored one resident’s allegations of sexual abuse against a worker who had been investigated for such crimes several times in the past. When facilities ignore these warning signs, they place residents directly in harm’s way.
Contact an Asheville nursing home abuse attorney
While reporting elder abuse or neglect to law enforcement is an important step to take, investigations can last for years. In the meantime, you will have to find a new nursing home for your loved one to live in. He or she may need care for physical injuries and emotional distress following the abuse. The expense of this process can be a strain on families already struggling with the abuse their loved ones faced.
An Asheville personal injury attorney may be able to help you and your loved one at all stages of your elder abuse case. Our legal team can write letters of protection to medical providers and creditors to make sure your relative gets the treatment needed after suffering abuse or neglect; investigate your claim against the nursing home, and take the case to trial if the facility refuses to settle. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, where our attorney will evaluate your case and determine the first steps to making a claim against a negligent nursing home.