Nursing homes have the duty of providing the highest degree of care for their residents. Unfortunately, many nursing homes fail to live up to this duty and neglect the well-being of their residents resulting in injury or even death. If you suspect your elderly loved one has suffered from this type of neglect or abuse, take action immediately. Here are four key steps to protecting your loved ones and holding the nursing home accountable for their treatment of them.
What Is Nursing Home Negligence?
The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, the basic duty of a nursing facility is to provide competent, conscientious care for its residents. When it fails to do this, there may be grounds for a lawsuit based on nursing home negligence. Nursing home negligence can involve a range of elder abuse that might affect your loved one’s safety and well-being while in the facility. The lawyers at www.hurtcallbert.com explain that abuse is acting intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly in a way that causes or is likely to cause harm. Here are examples:
- Improperly administered medication
- Failure to prevent bedsores (pressure ul)
- Poor hygiene neglect, such as the failure to provide baths and grooming
- Failure to prevent falls and resulting injury
- Ignoring or inappropriately responding to a resident’s complaints of pain or discomfort
- Unsanitary conditions, such as poor housekeeping practices that lead to outbreaks of infections (such as C. difficile colitis)
- Neglecting the dietary needs of residents, such as those who need low salt diets due to heart disease or fluid restrictions due to congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Exposure to physical assault by other residents, including rape, sexual molestation and beatings.
Investigate The Nursing Home
Start investigating the nursing home they are living in. You should try to find out as much about their history of abuse or neglect as possible so that you can build up a strong case against them. Here is what you should investigate:
History of Abuse and Neglect
If you know that your loved one is being mistreated by the nursing home, you will want to find out if this has happened before. Start by looking at their inspection reports online. Then take a deeper dive into their history and read everything about them that you can find. This way, you can bring up past cases against them in court if necessary.
Information for Future Reference
Make sure to write down any important information or numbers that could be useful for future research into the nursing home’s history of neglect or abuse. For example, if your parents were almost scalded because nobody turned down the temperature on their shower water during bathing time, make sure to get the exact date of when it happened and the names of anyone who was there. This way, if your loved one does suffer from an injury due to neglect you can build a stronger case against them.
If the nursing home has a long history of abuse or neglect cases, their license will be revoked and they will have to shut down. Look up their licensing information online – this is usually found on their homepage. Make sure that their license is active and not expired so that you don’t waste time building a case against a place that doesn’t exist anymore.
Hire A Lawyer
If you want to hold the nursing home accountable for its negligent or abusive treatment of your loved one, you will need to hire a lawyer as soon as possible. Nursing homes have legal teams that fight tooth and nail against families who attempt to bring them into court. Without a lawyer fighting on your side, you will be outgunned and your voice won’t be heard. Here is what to look out for in a lawyer:
Expertise In Elder Law
The laws regarding nursing homes are complicated because they are meant to protect residents from negligent care. Without expert knowledge in the field of nursing home negligence, you will have a hard time getting your voice heard in court. Make sure that your lawyer has extensive experience dealing with these types of cases before hiring them or continuing on with any further action.
A History of Winning
While no case is ever completely certain until it is decided by the courts, it is important to hire a lawyer who has had experience winning against other similar cases involving nursing homes. This isn’t always an accurate indicator that your case will be won, but it can provide some peace of mind that your lawyer knows what they are doing and the case isn’t just a waste of time.
When it comes to dealing with the legal system, communication is key. Your lawyer has to be able to communicate in a way that will get your voice heard, even when pitted against an entire legal team hired by the nursing home. Look for signs of strong communication skills during your initial interview process and check in with them if anything seems off throughout this journey.
Talk To Your Loved Ones
Before you get the lawyers involved or take any other action against the nursing home, be sure to sit down with your parents and talk about what they want. This is their life that is at stake. If they aren’t comfortable with taking legal action, don’t push it on them. Consider hiring a private detective to get more information on how they are being treated while you wait for their decision.
If you suspect negligence on the part of a nursing home, make sure to do your research before taking action. When hiring a lawyer, it is important to make sure they have experience in this area and are able to communicate clearly if needed. If you believe that legal action will help bring the abuse or neglect into the public eye so that nobody else has to suffer as your loved ones did, then this might be an avenue worth pursuing. But, consider speaking with them directly about their wishes for possible legal action.