The decision to place a loved one in a skilled nursing facility can be very painful, which only makes it that much more tragic when your loved one is not given the care and dignity they deserve. There are myriads of ways a nursing home resident can be injured in a facility. Perhaps the most common forms of abuse and neglect are:
- Bedsores – A bedsore generally occurs when a person lays in the same position too long, and bony structures such as elbows, tailbone, or heels begin to bruise underlying tissue, leading to a blistering effect in the skin. If left untreated, these can rapidly deteriorate into massive wounds. Infections can set in, leading to sepsis and death. Do not let someone tell you they are unpreventable. In fact, Medicare calls them never events, meaning they are “never” supposed to happen in a healthcare environment. Medicare often refuses to pay facilities for treating these wounds, because in the government’s view, if the facility caused them, they should pay to fix them. We happen to agree.
- Falls / Fractures – Again, falls are another “never event.” Even leading experts in the medical field agree that most healthcare acquired fractures are completely preventable. In fact, falls are largely predictable. If a senior is admitted to a nursing home with unsteady gait, cognitive deficiencies, or a list of medications known to cause dizziness, then additional precautions are needed. When a nursing home is so poorly staffed and trained that they can’t be bothered to apply standard precautions, then falls are going to happen. Many southern Illinois nursing homes are terribly bad about letting residents wander and fall. In some facilities investigators have found that as many as 6 out of 10 randomly surveyed residents had suffered preventable fractures. That’s more than half! >>IMAGE<<
- Infections – Nursing homes are breeding grounds for infectious disease. Nursing staff are required to use strict precautions and infection control measures, but naturally when staffing levels are low and people are underpaid, you can imagine how well policies are followed.
- Medication Errors – Many elderly nursing home residents are on a lot of different medications with all sorts of contraindications, which is why it is so important for them to receive appropriate medical oversight. Sadly, many medical directors may oversee care at dozens of facilities simultaneously without visiting them hardly at all. In fact, some contracted physicians who treat patients in nursing homes enter orders remotely without ever looking at their patients. They rely so heavily on nursing staff that sometimes a low-level CNA or LPN with about a year of education and almost no experience may be making critical decisions about medication. It’s not shocking that thousands of residents die each year from simple and avoidable medication mistakes. >>IMAGE<<
- Physical Abuse – One of the most insidious and egregious acts one can imagine, there are some staff members who hate their jobs so much and have so much built-up aggression that they take it out on residents, abusing and attacking physically and emotionally frail and helpless seniors. We aggressively fight to defend victimized seniors. >>IMAGE<<
- Sexual Abuse – Lastly, though less common than in past years, there are still many residents who suffer at the hands of sick and predatory staff members. Sexual abuse is not just a crime, but it’s also a violation of Illinois’ nursing home resident rights, and we can take civil action against the abuser and the nursing home as well. >>IMAGE<<
Federal laws create a number of special rights for nursing home residents. While each state approaches these rights differently, nursing home residents generally have certain rights which, if ignored and violated, can give rise to a claim for compensation. A few of these rights include:
- Right to be informed of changes in care and services
- Right to participate in care decisions if able
- Right to complain
- Right to Privacy
- Right to not be involuntarily transferred without following certain protocols
- Right to dignity, respect, and safety
- Right to be free from abuse or neglect
- Right to an environment free from hazards
- Right to meet with family, friends, clergy, and legal counsel privately
- Right to be free from unnecessary restraints
LET JUSTICE BEGIN HERE
Whether a loved one is seriously injured or dies due to injuries in a nursing home, let Jerome, Lindsay & Salmi, LLP help you fight for justice. We will fight for compensation, and advocate for seniors who have been mistreated and their loved ones who have suffered as a result of poor nursing home care. Call us at (618) 726-2222 or contact us online to discuss your case with no upfront fees or charges required.
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