Nursing Home Negligence
A certain level of care and attention is provided by nursing homes and assisted living facilities, right? As family members or friends of these residents, we expect this at the very least. So when we hear stories from our loved ones about experiences that may be considered neglect on the part of the staff of the nursing home, we react and demand an explanation.
Further, if your loved one is severely injured or dies from perceived neglect on the part of the nursing home and its staff, there are five essential points that you must be able to prove in order to file and receive judgement against the facility.
- There has to be proof that a legal duty to provide reasonable care exists
- That duty was not provided at all or the care that was provided was substandard
- There must be proof that the injuries sustained are the direct result of the failure to provide a reasonable standard of care
- Any injuries or damages must be documented
- Prove the damages are indeed a result of neglect and not the fault of the resident
It is up to the plaintiff to provide proof that the nursing home was responsible for injuries sustained by the resident, and that the nursing home did not provide the minimum required level of care. Not only may the staff be held liable for the negligence, the facility employing these staff members can be held responsible because they permitted the abuse to occur.
The difference between nursing home neglect (which is very common) and nursing home abuse is that in the latter, the caregiver is intentionally harming the resident. Nursing home neglect implies substandard care that results in harm to the resident.
Most states have their own definition of ‘reasonable care’. Generally speaking, nursing home level of care can be defined as follows:
If your loved one cannot take care of themselves for a continuous period of time and without assistance they could become a danger to themselves, they surely would fulfill the requirement for nursing home level of care.
There are many ways to determine negligence on the part of the nursing home staff. If you notice any of these warning signs happening at the facility where your loved one resides, please contact local authorities to document possible neglect. Follow up with a consultation with an attorney that specializes in elderly neglect in nursing homes.
Signs to look for include:
- Malnutrition which can manifest itself in bedsores and/or frequent infections
- Dehydration as a result of the resident not having adequate access to water
- Change in personal appearance because of lack of hygiene
- The facility looks unsafe with bad lighting, broken wheelchairs or walkers
Do not always rely on your loved one to articulate to you that they are being neglected, especially if they are mentally incapable of expressing themselves. Ask other patients, other visitors, walk around the facility to see the conditions for yourself. You are the best advocate for your loved one. When in doubt, a nursing home lawyer Memphis TN recommends can help you with any questions.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC, for their insight into nursing home negligence.