Negligence in nursing homes, unfortunately, is more common than we’d like to admit. Nursing homes often have the right policies in place, but following them can become difficult when the home becomes understaffed or the staff doesn’t know how to communicate properly with the residents. Even specific illnesses can lead to a greater number of negligence reports at a nursing home.
Neglect vs. Abuse
It’s important to define the difference between negligence in a nursing home and cases of abuse. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, an act of abuse is intentional and causes “physical harm, pain, or mental anguish.” It’s important to distinguish this from negligence. Negligence is defined as “a failure to provide” the services or even products that will prevent “physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.”
The difference between abuse and neglect is that abuse is intentional. Neglect can result from many things, including failure to follow nursing home policies.
An Improperly Staffed Nursing Home
A nursing home should always have enough staff present to take care of the needs of all residents. The staff should also have the skills necessary to take care of those needs. For example, a registered nurse may not have time to also help a resident with hygiene or to provide basic wound care. Certified Nursing Assistants, or CNAs, should be available to perform these tasks. If there are needs not being met at the nursing home, it can be a sign of negligence.
Not Following Through on Complaints
There should always be a way for residents of the home or their family and friends to make complaints to the management. Even if there is a way to submit a complaint, it should always be investigated. A system of receiving complaints or even suggestions from those living in or visiting the home can help ensure that no one is suffering from neglect.
Due to the nature of illnesses, disorders, or even injuries that those who live in the nursing home suffer from, communicating with them can sometimes require finesse and tact, but also sometimes more knowledge about their circumstances. For example, someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia may be easily startled or get irritable quickly. Communicating with some patients will require the staff to understand not only their illness or disease but also the person.
Noticing the Signs of Nursing Home Negligence
If you are visiting a friend or family member who resides in a nursing home, it’s always important to observe the conditions of the home as well as your loved one. If they have lost weight or aren’t as mobile as they once were, it may be time to bring it to someone’s attention. If there are unsanitary conditions anywhere within the home or you notice several residents with injuries, you should also speak up. If your concerns haven’t been addressed by the staff of the home, you can report cases of negligence to a local government agency such as the Department of Health.
No one should ever have to suspect their loved one is suffering from negligence while residing in a nursing home. However, if you do suspect a case of negligence, speaking with a personal injury lawyer may help to resolve the issues and may even provide compensation that can be used to place them in a better home. Whether you live in Visalia or Merced, Bakersfield or Fresno, Martin Gasparian has the experience to represent you and your family. Email him personally at email@example.com discuss your case or call (559) 203-3333 to schedule a time to come into the office for a free consultation.