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Many seniors put off the decision to move into a nursing home for as long as possible. They wait until they genuinely need more care than they can receive in their own homes—when, perhaps, they need regular medical attention, or when they no longer have the capacity to take care of themselves at home. In a nursing home, they assume that they will receive a high standard of care that helps maintain their quality of life as their physical condition deteriorates.
Unfortunately, some nursing homes do not provide the high standard of care seniors and their loved ones should expect. In some cases, seniors experience nursing home negligence, which can cause their physical health to deteriorate rapidly.
Do you need a Fresno nursing home negligence attorney after you or a loved one experienced negligence in a nursing home? Contact The May Firm today at (559) 385-2090.
Seniors in a nursing home must have access to adequate, nutritional food and plenty of water and other beverages to help prevent dehydration. If a senior needs a special diet due to diabetes or heart disease, the nursing home must provide food tailored to that diet. The nursing home must also assist seniors with injuries or degenerative conditions that make it impossible for them to feed themselves. If the nursing home fails to provide adequate food and drink, residents may start to show symptoms of malnutrition or dehydration.
Many senior adults, still possessed of all their mental faculties, require relatively minimal supervision: after receiving the assistance they need to take care of daily tasks, they can handle the rest of the day on their own. Others, including those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, may need more care and supervision to help prevent them from wandering off or engaging in dangerous activities that could lead to serious injury.
As mental capability deteriorates, caregivers may need to aid in feeding or supervise seniors to ensure that they eat the food put in front of them. Many nursing homes have special units for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia, requiring codes or badges to open the doors to the outside. These measures can help keep seniors safer and prevent them from wandering. However, inattentive nurses or receptionists may allow doors to open or allow patients to slip outside, resulting in serious injury.
As seniors age, many suffer from significant health conditions that require regular medical treatment and supervision by a care provider. Some of those conditions require daily medications. Others may require specific treatments regularly. Nursing homes must ensure that their residents receive adequate medical care based on their specific individual needs, from administering daily medications to ensuring that patients receive the treatment they need if they show acute symptoms of illness or injury.
Unfortunately, some seniors do not receive adequate care. Nursing home staff may fail to deliver their medications on time, or may even conceal a patient’s injuries to hide the fact that they occurred during a specific shift or under a specific caregiver’s supervision.
Seniors have a higher fall risk than younger individuals. Often, they suffer severe injuries, including broken hips, as a result of a fall. Nursing homes often have fall procedures in place to help protect against accidents, especially when seniors are at a higher fall risk than normal due to preexisting injuries or illnesses.
Some seniors may need beds with pressure pads that will alert nurses of any attempt to get out of bed, or they may need beds with bars to help remind them to stay in. When nursing homes neglect to implement proper fall prevention tactics, residents may suffer spinal cord injuries, head injuries, and broken bones because of falls.
As seniors get older, they may struggle more with activities that they handled just fine on their own only years before, including bathing, changing clothes, and taking care of basic grooming tasks. Nursing home residents may need help getting dressed in the morning, shaving, brushing their teeth, or taking care of dentures.
Busy nursing home staff, however, may neglect to help with these tasks. As a result, family members may notice that seniors wear the same clothes several days in a row, that bed sheets do not get changed, and that seniors eventually start to smell. This lack of hygiene may lead to seniors falling ill more easily.
Most nursing homes have routines and procedures in place to help prevent the transmission of illness, including the flu and COVID-19. In some nursing homes, however, nurses and caregivers ignore those safety regulations, resulting in the transmission of germs between residents. Sometimes, illnesses can lead to severe complications and even death.
Nursing home negligence can occur for a variety of reasons. From the outside, you may think that you chose a wonderful facility that will provide everything your loved one needs. Unfortunately, on further reflection, you may discover that it suffers from some of the following common challenges.
Some nursing homes do not have enough staff members to keep up with demand. Sometimes, a single staff member may be responsible for far too many residents, which can significantly increase the risk of negligence. Overworked staff members, including those who have worked too-long shifts, may find themselves shorting some of their residents on care to provide everyone with at least the bare minimum, Over time, they may have more trouble figuring out which patients they have worked with most recently or who they need to pay attention to next.
Some staff members may not receive adequate training in how to handle safety concerns. For example, a staff member may not realize how they should respond to a patient with dementia to prevent that patient from slipping out the door behind a visitor, or that they need to latch memory ward doors securely.
Likewise, poorly trained staff members may not know how to handle patients with a high fall risk or how to ensure that patients eat a reasonable diet when they refuse to eat or suffer from other problems that make adequate food difficult to consume.
Some nursing homes have a high degree of turnover: often because of understaffing problems, but sometimes due to reasons beyond the nursing home’s control. High turnover can make it more difficult for individual staff members to get to know patients and have a strong understanding of their needs, which increases the risk of serious errors and negligence.
While many nursing home staff members will go out of their way to ensure the highest possible standard of care for all residents, some may care less about the residents and more about securing a paycheck at the end of each pay period. These staff members may prefer to avoid actively working during their shifts as much as possible.
Instead, they may leave the work to other team members, which can lead to overworked staff members and create a vicious cycle that can prove hard to get out of. These staff members often come to the nursing home through staffing agencies, which may not have fully vetted potential employees before sending them in.
Most often, liability for nursing home negligence rests on the company that owns the nursing home. Nursing homes must carefully vet their staff, monitor staff and residents, and ensure that excessive negligence does not take place. In some cases, however, other people or entities may share liability for nursing home negligence, including:
Sometimes, nursing homes have their own doctors on staff to provide care for residents. Other times, nursing homes bring in outside care providers to take care of their residents. If doctors do not take adequate care of the patients in the nursing home, including avoiding tests or treatment because of the type of insurance the patient carries or an excessive caseload, they may share liability for any injuries or illness patients suffer as a result of their negligence in providing inadequate care.
Some nursing homes use staffing companies to fill gaps in their staff or to bring in new employees, especially if they have a high degree of turnover. Those staffing companies must carefully vet potential employees to ensure that they do not have a history of abusing or neglecting residents or patients. If the staffing company sends a caregiver with a known history of ignoring or abusing patients, the staffing company may share liability for a senior’s suffering at that staff member’s hands.
A Fresno nursing home claim cannot undo the effects of negligence, nor can it restore lost health. It can, however, provide much-needed compensation for the victim of negligence in a nursing home.
Nursing home neglect claims vary depending on the type of neglect a patient has suffered, its severity, and what injuries or illness the neglected individual suffered from that neglect. However, most people claim the same general elements when filing a nursing home neglect claim, described below.
Neglect can lead to a host of medical problems that can have serious consequences for the victim. If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of nursing home neglect, you should pursue evaluation and treatment for your loved one as soon as possible. Some neglect claims may have obvious medical expenses already associated with them.
Suppose, for example, that the nursing home neglects your loved one medically by failing to provide the medications your loved one needs every day. A condition your loved one once managed just fine through medication gets out of control, leading to a host of health problems. Your loved one may require additional medications or even hospitalization to get the illness or condition back under control.
On the other hand, if your loved one suffers an injury as a result of neglect in their nursing home, your family may have direct medical bills associated with that injury: emergency transportation and treatment, surgical setting of any broken bones, and hospitalization while your loved one recovers. Some seniors may need to go to an advanced care facility for a while following a serious injury to increase their level of care and help them receive rehabilitation services. They may then need continued physical or occupational therapy to help them cope with the impact of those injuries.
Some seniors no longer wish to remain in the same nursing home after they suffer neglect. Others may need to move to a nursing home that offers additional care services, including more in-depth medical treatment. If your loved one needs to move to another nursing home because of the neglect they suffered, the nursing home that neglected your loved one may bear responsibility for the expenses associated with that move. The nursing home that perpetrated that neglect may also bear responsibility for any increased expenses associated with the new nursing home.
Neglect can lead to substantial physical and emotional pain and suffering. Seniors suffering from neglect may develop significant psychological issues associated with that neglect, especially if it goes hand-in-hand with emotional abuse.
In many cases, your loved one may also go through considerable physical pain, especially if your loved one suffers a serious injury because of neglect. As part of a Fresno nursing home claim, your family may choose to include compensation for the pain and suffering your loved one faced in the nursing home.
At The May Firm we strive to be involved and connected to our local community. For example, this past holiday season we organized bicycle and Christmas tree giveaways for individuals in our community. Our goal is to be a positive force for good in the local community and give back in some small measure to those we can serve. We receive satisfaction and joy from serving our clients and will continue to look for ways to be of assistance to the community as a whole. We receive positive energy from the community when we are involved.
We have listed a few of the local organizations we support and look forward to growing our outreach in the future. If you have any suggestions for ways we can be of service or support, please reach out to us.
We take pride in working hard for each of our valued clients and will help you recover from your injuries and losses, including lost wages, mental anguish, future earning potential, disability or continued health care needs and lost or damaged property.
Our Fresno injury lawyers stay well-informed and up-to-date on all applicable legal changes, so you can be confident that you will always receive relevant, current legal advice.
If you have suffered a personal injury or are a victim of an accident that is not your at fault for, contact our award winning Fresno attorneys 24/7 to schedule your free case consultation. You can also call our Fresno office at (559) 385-2090. Let us be your personal injury and accident advocate.
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Robert May, Attorney | Founder
Did your loved one suffer neglect in a nursing home? Do you need more information about your specific claim? If you have specific questions about your loved one’s neglect and their right to file a Fresno nursing home claim, contact us as soon as possible. Below, take a look at some of the general questions about nursing home neglect that victims and their families often ask us.
If you or a loved one suffered neglect in a nursing home, the May Firm can help. Contact us today at (559) 385-2090 to learn more about your right to seek compensation following neglect or abuse in a nursing home.
Abuse generally consists of a deliberate act on the part of a staff member. Physical abuse, for example, is a direct act of violence, while emotional abuse may be perpetrated by a staff member who puts themself in a position of power over a senior or deliberately tears the senior down. Neglect, on the other hand, is generally a failure to act: Staff fails to provide needed care for residents of a nursing home or senior living facility.
Both neglect and abuse can have severe consequences for nursing homes that allow it to occur. Nursing homes have a legal duty of care to their residents and must provide a standard of care that maintains the residents’ quality of life as they age, despite physical conditions that could make self-care and other tasks more difficult.
COVID-19 has caused severe outbreaks in many nursing homes despite their best efforts. To determine whether you may have grounds for a Fresno nursing home claim related to COVID-19, consider whether your loved one may have contracted COVID-19 as a result of the nursing home’s negligence.
Did the nursing home fail to implement appropriate safety screenings for staff members? Did the nursing home allow in potentially ill visitors? Did the nursing home fail to take internal precautions to prevent or minimize the potential spread of the virus? If there is evidence that the nursing home’s negligence actively contributed to your loved one’s illness, you may have grounds for a nursing home neglect claim.
If your loved one died due to a nursing home’s negligence, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death claim may include:
To file a Fresno nursing home wrongful death claim, you must have a direct relationship with the deceased. Usually, the surviving spouse has the first right to file a wrongful death claim. If a surviving spouse does not exist, the senior’s children may have the right to file a wrongful death claim following a parent’s death in a nursing home due to negligence.
Each family can file only one wrongful death claim for the loss of a loved one. If you believe you may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim, talk to an attorney to learn more about your legal rights and how to protect yourself.
In most Fresno nursing home claims, the party who suffered an injury at the hands of another party must file the claim. If your loved one does not want to pursue compensation following nursing home negligence, you cannot go around them and file a claim on their behalf. You can, however, file a nursing home negligence claim on behalf of your loved one if you hold legal power of attorney for your loved one. You cannot file a claim on behalf of a loved one if you carry medical power of attorney alone.
Anytime you need to file a Fresno nursing home claim, it can help to have an experienced attorney on your side. Often, hiring an attorney will convince the nursing home’s lawyers or insurance company that you plan to seriously pursue your right to compensation, either on your own behalf or that of a loved one. Many clients find that an attorney can help increase even the initial offer provided by an insurance company.
An attorney provides many services related to your claim, including:
Once you contact the nursing home board directly, you may see fast action on behalf of your loved one and other residents in the nursing home. Sometimes, the board may have little to no idea what actually takes place in the nursing home each day, and may act quickly to ensure that residents receive a high standard of care after having any instance of negligence pointed out to them.
The board, or a representative of the nursing home’s insurance company, may also seem determined to immediately provide you with compensation for your loved one’s losses. The representative you speak to may sound outraged and determined to “make it right” as much as possible.
Talk to an attorney, however, before accepting any offer. Often, settlement offers issued early in the investigation and negotiation process do not fully reflect the compensation your loved one deserves for losses they suffered due to nursing home negligence. That offer, as genuine and outraged as the representative sounds, may not actually account for the full compensation your family really needs or deserves.
An attorney can give you a better idea of how much compensation you really deserve, including when to accept a settlement offer and when you and your loved one may want to continue to negotiate.
If you suspect your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home, follow these steps to help protect your loved one and seek compensation, if needed.