Negligence in a nursing home is a frightening concept when we think of some of the most vulnerable among us. In any situation, the term “negligence” doesn’t necessarily refer to what someone has done, but what someone has failed to do. For instance, if a person has a slip and fall accident on private property, it may be because the property owner failed to clean up something that caused the accident or put out warning signs around the hazard. In a nursing home setting, negligence means something similar.
In other words, the nursing home that contracted to care for an individual who needed help failed to do so. This can mean many types of negligence, but all lead to the same common conclusion: the resident was not properly cared for and suffered harm because of the nursing home’s negligence.
As rule, the first part of a negligence case is whether the nursing home owed a duty of care to the resident. Of course, they do. Next is if the nursing home committed a breach of duty, such as failing to give the resident proper care.
The next part of the definition is whether the defendant’s failure was the direct cause of the resident’s injuries. If so, the next step is to assess the extent of the harm and the appropriate damages.
Nursing Home Negligence
In the case of a nursing home, negligence usually means that a resident was left without needed daily essentials. Negligence in a nursing home can mean:
• Malnourishment, dehydration, and weight loss due to prolonged denial of food and/or water
• Psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety, fear, agitation, and other mental impairments
• Lack of personal hygiene, including bathing and washing, clean clothes, and regular bathroom trips
• Lack of social interaction from being left alone for prolonged periods of time
• Bed sores and pressure ulcers in residents confined to a bed or wheelchair from not being turned regularly
• Lack of care for ongoing medical issues
• Unexplained injuries such as cuts and bruises in various stages of healing
• Instances of wandering, which can also lead to injuries such as broken bones, especially a broken hip
• Injuries inflicted by another resident
• Any injuries requiring emergency medical treatment
• Illnesses not promptly reported to the family and the physician
• Sudden behavioral changes
• Lack of interactions with either nursing home staff or other residents
• Wanting to be sequestered from other people, including other residents
Anytime a nursing home fails to provide for a resident’s needs, it is considered neglect. If left unchecked, neglect can lead to more serious injuries, illnesses, or even the death of a resident.
Why Residents May Be Neglected
The reasons for nursing home neglect will vary depending on the establishment. But neglect is frequently caused by inadequate staffing.
Most nursing homes are both understaffed and overworked. Caregivers are given more work than they can manage in a day’s time. They may also receive inadequate training for the job. Untrained or undertrained, staffers have a higher likelihood of making mistakes with medications, mishandling residents, and creating other problems that can harm an adult.
Many nursing homes may not be able to assess new hires or hire without requesting background checks. Because many also have high turnover, the homes may or may not complete verifications for an applicant, such as certifications and criminal background checks. As a result, many homes end up hiring people with a record of neglecting or harming nursing home residents.
If you believe that your loved one is the subject of negligence, you should report it to West Virginia’s Adult Protective Services as soon as possible to prevent further harm to them. Neglect, if left untreated, can lead to additional health problems, disability, and even death. The neglect may also indicate additional forms of abuse, such as physical or financial abuse.
If you decide to file a lawsuit, make sure that you do so prior to the end of the statute of limitations for this kind of a case, which is two years.
Chad Love—Charleston’s Leading Elder Abuse Attorney
If you believe your loved one is being neglected, or you see signs of it, you need a compassionate attorney who will fight to protect your loved one. The Love Law Firm can help you get justice for them. To defend and protect your loved ones, contact attorney Chad Love today at (304) 344 5683 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. We offer contingency fee arrangements for your convenience.