Too many nursing homes fall short of the standards they should meet in caring for our spouses, parents, and loved ones. When we place a loved one in a nursing home, we expect they will be safe, properly cared for, supervised, and treated with dignity. Trusting a nursing home with such a task is no small matter. Yet it is too common for nursing home patients to be injured on or off premises or sickened from improper medical care. Patients with cognitive problems such as Alzheimer’s or dementia face greater risk of injury when nursing homes fail to provide proper, supervised, quality care.
In response to growing cases of nursing home neglect and abuse, CMS launched a five-star quality nursing home rating system to help consumers decide on a nursing home for loved ones. In addition to looking at the CMS tool, families should rigorously research nursing homes on their own, asking plenty of questions and seeking out any available performance records.
Problems Found in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities
Poor care and unsafe conditions in nursing home and assisted living facilities can cause a wide range of injuries and illness. Here is a list of problems commonly found:
- Bed Sores: Elderly patients are especially at risk for developing bed sores on areas of thinning skin cover protruding bony areas such as shoulder blades, tailbone, elbows, and hips. Failing to intermittently turn patients in their beds may increase risk of bed sores, as does insufficient nutrition and hydration.
- Slip and Falls: Failing to make the nursing home environment safe can lead to patients slipping and falling on slick floors and tripping over obstacles. A fall can lead to broken bones, soft tissue injuries, head injuries, and pain.
- Wandering Off and Elopement: A nursing home should secure the facilities to make sure patients stay in supervised areas. When rooms and exit doors are not properly secured, a patient may wander off and injure themselves outside of the facilities. A patient may “elope” when they have a purpose in repeatedly trying to run away from the facility.
- Medication Neglect and Errors: Patients in nursing homes typically need specialized medical care including administering medication. Patients given the wrong medication, given the wrong dose, or miss a dose may suffer serious, sometimes fatal, consequences. These kinds of errors often happen when nursing homes are short-staffed with employees working long hours or when employees are insufficiently trained.
- Neglect and Unsanitary Conditions: Patients should be properly attended to. This is especially true with basic needs such as bathing, dressing, walking, eating, drinking, and taking medications. A neglected patient may go hungry, go thirsty, be unable to clean themselves, or be unable to go to the bathroom. If the patient or the environment is left in an unsanitary condition, the patient may be susceptible to injury, illness, and infection.
Elder Law and Litigation Attorneys Crucial in Protecting Patients
When nursing homes and their employees fall short of the standard of care our loved ones should receive, elder law attorneys stand up for patients and their families to help them get compensated for injuries. Nursing homes should be held accountable, and experienced elder law attorneys and litigators know what documents and evidence need to be gathered and how to get them.
Poor care in nursing homes can go unnoticed and unredressed because nursing home residents are a vulnerable group. It is our job as family members, friends, concerned citizens, and attorneys to make sure patients get the care they need and deserve.
If you know or believe that your loved one is the victim of poor nursing home care, contact our elder law attorneys at BRMM at (248) 641-7070 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.