Negligence in nursing homes not only involves injuries or deaths, which also occur in assisted living facilities, hospices and other care providers to the elderly, but also covers cases of neglect and abuse. Statistics reveal a whopping 44 percent of nursing residents experience some form of abuse. Surprisingly, the elderly entrusted to these centers are victims of sexual abuse, malnutrition and dehydration, excess medication, devices that restrict movement and cause injuries, as well as ulcers, falls and fractures. Often, there are also psychological, corporal and emotional abuse. There are many state and federal regulations, like the Nursing Home Reform Act, but as pointed out by one personal injury lawyer northfield nj family members do not automatically notice problems at facilities. It takes time, all the while, the vulnerable are at-risk.
Abuse and Neglect Come in Many Forms
Unfortunately, abuse or neglect is not always noticeable right away, but there are some common alarm signs to look for:
- Sudden weight loss
- Unexplained bruises or other injuries
- Sudden restlessness or withdrawal
- Development of sores from being in bed for a long time
- The substitution of prescription or sedative medications for supervision
- The inability of a caregiver to satisfactorily explain the patient’s condition
Serious violations occur every day, tragically compromising health, well-being and the dignity of some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Injured people living there (or those acting on their behalf) can sue the center owner and other health care providers involved in the circumstances. Assistants who provide medical care at home are also responsible for the injuries they cause to those in their care. Nursing homes have a high responsibility to their residents, and while many of these residences provide excellent care and treatment for their residents, many are more concerned with the economic benefits.
Who Is at Fault?
Many of these places increase their profits by hiring fewer staff than necessary in their facilities, which causes poor care for the residents. The people who live in these homes are often very vulnerable, and prone to medical problems. In many cases, vulnerable seniors can suffer from Alzheimer’s, dementia or other symptoms that can cause them to get lost or forget things. That is why people in nursing homes need more quality care to avoid injury.
But is it automatically the nursing home’s fault? At times, the elderly and frail have accidents, and due to Alzheimer’s or dementia, or poor health in general, they may be prone to accidents. Yet, this still does not let the nursing facility off the hook. Families expect proper care, and sometimes a home may not be responsible for outright neglect, but they can be held accountable for carelessness. States have very strict requirements when it comes to taking care of the vulnerable. It’s important to consult an attorney to review medical records and determine whether an injury or death is a result of negligence. Even during difficult times, it’s important to allow attorney’s and investigators review and discuss your options and determine what actions should be taken.