When Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Negligence?
As baby boomers age more and more will need nursing home facilities. The nursing home industry has become a big business. In fact more than 1.4 million people live in nursing homes, most of which run by “for profit” businesses.
Nursing homes, convalescent homes, and elder care facilities may be held legally responsible when an act of negligence or abuse causes harm to a patient or resident.
Here are some examples of situations in which nursing homes, convalescent homes, and elder care facilities may be held liable for when their negligence or abuse causes injury to a patient or resident:
Nursing Homes Falls Due to Negligence
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), injuries from falls in nursing homes and similar facilities account for over one-third of preventable visits to the hospital emergency departments. In elderly patients nursing home falls frequently result in life-altering disabilities, functional decline, reduced independence, reduced quality of life, and often hasten death. As many 1,800 elderly patients die each year as a result of nursing home falls.
Proper fall prevention programs can prevent nursing home falls. Best practices require nursing homes to take the time to assess new patients for fall risks, to provide careful monitoring of at risk residents, and to make modifications to ensure safer patient safety and mobility. Nursing home staff must maintain a high degree of education to ensure nursing home fall prevention. Staff should also be aware of any nursing home patients that have a particularly high risk for falling. Necessary mobility devices should accessible and well-maintained.
Failure to supply a safe environment for patients is grounds for a nursing home negligence lawsuit. Environmental hazards present a risk for patients. Some examples include:
— Inadequate or dim lighting, making it hard for patients to see well enough to walk.
— Wet or slippery floors which are unsafe to elderly patients with mobility and balance problems.
— Beds, chairs, or mobility devices that are not made easily accessible by staff for the resident.
— Unsafe and inaccessible bathrooms lacking proper seats, wall handles, and no-slip flooring.
The National Coordinating Committee on Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCC MERP) http://www.nccmerp.org/aboutMedErrors.html defines a ” medication error is any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer.”
Examples of negligent medication errors include:
— Dosage errors,
— Incorrect medication administration in multiple doses,
— Administration of expired and ineffective medication,
— Incorrect time, duration, or rate of medication administration
— Administering medication to the Incorrect patient,
— Administering medication based on an outdated medication order,
— Ignoring medication orders,
— Negligent medication management including failing to renew medication orders when required.
Understaffing, poor communication, and carelessness may result in harm caused to patients or residents due to medication errors.
Negligent hiring and supervision
Nursing homes may be held liable for negligence in hiring an unqualified employee who ends up neglecting, abusing, or otherwise intentionally harming a patient. This also includes failure to properly train and supervise employees.
Medical and nursing malpractice
When nursing homes provide medical and nursing care they may be held liable for failure to provide adequate medical treatment as required by accepted medical and nursing standard of care.
Contact a Connecticut and New York Nursing Home Attorney today
If you feel a loved one has been a victim of nursing home negligence or abuse contact the Law Offices of Patrick J. Filan to learn your legal rights.