Nursing Home

Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Nursing home neglect and abuse is a heartbreaking issue for any family to deal with. Below are several common warning signs of nursing home abuse, and later, a review of the common legal issues that nursing homes may face. If you are faced with such a circumstance now or in the future, there are potential legal remedies available.

  • Negligent Hiring: Nursing homes have an obligation to their residents to hire personnel who are properly qualified, have the requisite academic degrees for the position for which they are hired, and have no record of abuse or violence. If a nursing home hires its employees without conducting background checks, it is the nursing home residents that are put at risk. Therefore, the nursing home can be held responsible in the case of abuse.
  • Understaffing: A report from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows that the average staff to resident ratio is 1 staff member to every 1.64 residents. When a nursing home fails to employ a reasonable amount of staff members, residents may be neglected because there is no-one to look after them.
  • Inadequate Training: In some cases, nursing home employees are not provided with proper training to handle disabled or disobedient residents and do not provide the level of care required by law and expected by a family. Nursing homes can be held accountable when inadequate training of their staff leads to the injury of a patient.
  • Third-Party Responsibility Claim: Nursing homes can be held responsible for any abuse caused by third parties within the residence. This is because they have a duty to provide a safe environment for the residents. For instance, if a resident is injured by another resident or a guest of another resident, the nursing home can be found liable if they failed to provide adequate security to prevent such an incident.
  • Breach of Statutory or Regulatory Rights: Nursing home residents are entitled to autonomy, dignity, and privacy. A nursing home can be held liable if one of its employees violates fundamental rights.
  • Medication Errors: Medications are a part and parcel of old age and nursing home residents can suffer if they aren’t provided the right dosage of medication at the right time. If the resident is injured by a prescription drug error, the physician, pharmacy, or pharmacist can be held accountable.

Nursing Home Abuse Warning Signs:

Because signs of nursing home abuse are sometimes dismissed as indicators of old age or dementia, it is important that loved ones recognize the signs of mistreatment in a residence. There are several types of nursing home abuse, each with their own set of symptoms that may indicate that a resident is being abused.

The following are the common signs of nursing home abuse:

  • Bruises or bleeding
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Bedsores
  • Malnutrition / Dehydration
  • Silence around caretakers
  • Bruises on or around an elder’s genitals
  • Unexplained diseases or infections
  • Physical discomfort
  • Sudden financial difficulties
  • Bills left unpaid by the elder
  • Changes in the elder’s will
  • Change in power of attorney

If you have any questions about nursing home abuse and neglect, please contact me at jeremy@jawatlaw.com.

Thanks to Morgan & Morgan for the material provided in this article.