It was difficult enough to make the decision to admit your parent to a nursing home. Countless sleepless nights feeling guilty and wondering if you had tried hard enough to care for them on your own. Truth is, at some point you are not physically or emotionally capable of giving them the care they require.
Imagine after doing your due diligence and selecting a nursing home you felt would give your parent the best possible care, you discover your loved one’s care has not been what you expected. Unfortunately, nursing home neglect happens daily in this country. Neglect may be intentional or not and can show itself in various ways. How do you determine if your parent has been neglected, or worse yet, abused while in the care of a nursing home?
Neglect can manifest itself in the following ways:
- Evidence of dehydration
- Bed sores
- Undernourished or symptoms of malnutrition
- Frequent falls and injuries as a result of the falls. Elderly patients are typically more frail and a fall can result in serious injuries. If the resident is not supervised, a patient that falls can go undetected for hours before found by a staff member from the nursing home.
- Errors in the types of medications the resident receives
- Injuries that involve open wounds or visible sores need to be cared for to ensure they heal and do not get infected. Residents with cuts, bed sores, surgery incisions, have a higher rate of infection by virtue of their older age. If these infected wounds go undetected, it can become very serious and even life threatening.
- If your parent suffers from dementia, it is important that the staff of the nursing home take extra care to make sure they do not wander.
- If the nursing home is unclean and therefore unsanitary conditions are present.
Nursing homes that accept Medicare must adhere to Federal Regulations which set the standard care. Regulation 42 CFR sec. 483.25(h) states that the facility must make sure the nursing home remains free of accident hazards and that every resident is entitled to sufficient supervision and devices to assist them and help prevent accidents.
If the nursing home does not adhere with these regulations and a resident is harmed, the nursing home is at fault and can be sued
Negligence is difficult to prove because its cause is not always obvious and it can sometimes be hard to determine who is legally responsible. Many times evidence is imperfect, and often facts may be skewed to favor the nursing home. If you suspect your parent or loved one is being neglected while living at the nursing home, talk to a lawyer experienced in nursing home neglect and elder law. If it is determined that the nursing home failed to provide a reasonably safe environment, or did not perpetuate proper health and safety policies the next step may be to bring a negligence suit against the facility. Laws in each state differ, therefore an experienced nursing home attorney Memphis TN often turns to can help you decide which direction to proceed.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC, for their insight into nursing home neglect.