In order to maintain the highest degree of functioning, nursing homes must provide individualized care for each patient. Facilities must invest the necessary time, effort and resources to assure the medical, personal and psychological needs of their patients are met. When nursing homes fail to meet the physical and emotional needs of each patient, patients begin to suffer unnecessary injuries or even death. Nursing home neglect is a term that describes many frequently encountered problems facing nursing home patients. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers stands beside families who have had loved ones neglected at Illinois facilities.
Chronic Nursing Home Neglect: This refers to an ongoing situation in which the staff fails to provide care to patients over an extended period of time – days, weeks, months, even years. Situations involving chronic neglect are reflective of a systematic problem at the facility, where shift after shift of nursing home employees fails to provide necessary care to patients in need.
- Bed Sores – Failure to keep the patient clean, to change soiled linens after an episode of incontinence, and to re-position patients on a regular basis may contribute to the development of bed sores (also referred to as pressure sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers).
- Dehydration – An inability to perceive thirst, or anxiety over going to the toilet, are two of the common factors that contribute to dehydration of nursing home patients. Staff must keep track of patients’ fluid intake and output.
- Malnutrition – We all know food is a basic requirement to keep our bodies functioning properly. Yet, when inappropriate foods (such as solid foods) are given to patients who cannot eat them, or no staff assistance is provided to patients who are unable to feed themselves, serious health problems may develop.
Acute Nursing Home Neglect: This refers to more isolated situations where a staff member’s carelessness or ignorance result in harm to the patient. Many acute neglect events result in severe injuries to patients who are the most dependent on caregivers or unable to perceive harm themselves. Acute injuries involving nursing home neglect may include:
- Repeated falls
- Injuries sustained during transfer to or from wheelchair and bed
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Failure to administer medication
- Untreated health problems
- Failure to supervise patients
- Bed rail entrapment
While neglect can take many forms, perhaps the best way to assess the extent of neglect at nursing homes across the country is review inspections of facilities conducted by representatives from state departments of health and Medicare officials. In recently years, an astonishing 94% of nursing homes received a violation during annual and unscheduled inspections. When facilities were evaluated based upon their business organization, facilities that were operated under the guise of ‘for profit’, they were far more likely to be cited for inferior care.
An evaluation of nursing home data by ProPublica containing more than 250,000 violations determined that the following were the most frequently encountered violations relating to poor nursing home care:
- Facility is Free of Accident Hazards: 17,331
- Facility Establishes Infection Control Program: 14,186
- Provide Necessary Care for Highest Practicable Well-Being: 13,401
- Store/Prepare/ Distribute Food Under Sanitary Conditions: 11,746
- Develop Comprehensive Care Plans: 9,070
- Services Provided Meet Professional Standards: 8,986
- Clinical Records Meet Professional Standards: 7,962
- Not Employ Persons Guilty of Abuse: 7,288
- Drug Regimen is Free from Unnecessary Drugs: 7,040
- Dignity: 6,605
In a 12-month study that was published in the Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, over 400 families with loved ones in nursing homes were surveyed. In the 1-year time period, 21% of those in the studied reported that their family member had been neglected on one or more occasion with that time period. The study also found that those with functional disabilities and behavior problems were significantly more likely to be victims of neglect.Nursing Homes’ Legal Duty To Protect Patients
In many circumstances, the specific care violations may not be apparent until a lawsuit against a nursing home has been initiated. If your loved one has suffered an unknown injury, severe physical decline or perhaps a mysterious death, you may be entitled to pursue a claim for the resulting damages. While not all instances of Illinois nursing home neglect may be readily apparent, the nursing home neglect attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is known in by the industry for thoroughly and aggressively prosecuting these cases to maximize the recovery for our clients. If you believe your loved one was neglected in a nursing home, call us for a free legal consultation.