More Information on Nursing Home Injuries and Abuse

Nursing Home Injuries

Our population is aging. Presently, more than 1.5 million people live in nursing homes. Although some nursing homes provide good care, others subject helpless residents to needless suffering and even death. Often times, nursing homes are inadequately staffed and the employees are poorly trained. This may lead to a very painful existence for residents, because they depend on the staff for the basic essentials of life, like food, water, medicine, toileting, grooming, stimulation, and turning. When a nursing home fails to provide treatment, care, goods or services necessary to preserve a resident's health, safety, or welfare, and the resident suffers injury, the facility may be negligent. Examples of nursing home negligence include:

  • Failure to provide food or water or failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration
  • Failure to assist in personal hygiene
  • Failure to provide safe, clean and decent living conditions
  • Failure to provide adequate treatment and services for incontinent residents
  • Failure to provide appropriate supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents
  • Failure to provide adequate medical care and acquire and dispense proper medications, as well as failure to ensure that residents are free from serious medication errors
  • Failure to prevent a resident from developing pressure sores; or, if a resident already has pressure sores, failure to provide proper treatment to promote healing.

Nursing homes that receive federal funds through Medicare or Medicaid must comply with federal laws that require the home to provide a high quality of care. The federal regulations require:

  • Sufficient staffing of nurses
  • Assessment of the patient's functional capacity no more than 14 days after admission and no less than once every 12 months thereafter
  • The development of a care plan within 7 days of the functional capacity assessment. The care plan includes measurable objectives and timetables to meet the patient's medical, nursing, mental and psychosocial needs.
  • Prevention of the deterioration of the patient's ability to perform basic life functions, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, and communicating. If a patient is unable to perform basic life functions, the nursing home must provide the necessary services to provide good nutrition, grooming, and personal and oral hygiene.
  • Ensure that patients receive proper treatment and assistive devices to maintain good vision and hearing.
  • Prevention of the development of pressure sores. If pressure sores already exist, the nursing home must provide the necessary treatment to promote healing, prevention of infection, and prevention of future sores.
  • Provide appropriate treatment for incontinent patients in order to restore as much normal bladder function as possible and prevent bladder infections
  • Provide adequate supervision and assistive devices to prevent accidents
  • Maintain proper nutrition and hydration
  • Ensure that patients are free of significant medication errors
  • Care for the patient so as to maintain or enhance the patient's quality of life
  • Ensure that the patient can choose activities consistent with his or her interests and plan of care
  • Provide supervised medical care for each patient by a physician
  • Provide 24 hour physician services in case of an emergency
  • Provide pharmaceutical services
  • Maintain proper clinical records on each patient in accordance with accepted professional standards
  • Administer the facility in a way that attains or maintains the highest practical physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each patient

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