Residents of Nursing Homes Have Rights
Nursing home abuse and neglect is a problem faced all over this country, especially in Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. When you entrust the care of a loved one to a nursing home, you expect your loved one to receive the utmost care, compassion and conern. However, many times nursing homes fail to meet those expectations which results in the neglect or abuse of your loved one. When this happens and your loved one is seriously injured or dies while in the car eof a nursing home, you need an experienced lawyer who will advocate for your loved one’s best interests.
When choosing a lawyer, consider working with Schachter, Hendy & Johnson, P.S.C. We have been helping the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati community for years by providing honest, straightforward and compassionate representation. Our experienced nursing home attorneys can help protect the rights of your loved one by holding the nursing home accountable and responsible for neglecting your loved one.
We assist clients with nursing home abuse and neglect cases involving:
Dehydration & Malnutrition
Most Falls Causing Injury or Death are Preventable
Most nursing home residents come into a facility with several ailments and medical conditions. Many times these ailments and conditions put them at a higher risk of falling than other residents. This is why every nursing home must conduct an individualized assessment of each resident for being a Fall Risk. Also, during the resident’s stay at the nursing home these Fall Risk Assessments must be repeated and updated as sometimes the resident’s condition can change. Sadly, proper assessments are not always done or are not updated when they should be which puts the safety of the resident at risk of severe injury or death.
If your loved one has suffered a severe injury or death from a fall that you feel was avoidable and preventable, you need to contact an experienced nursing home attorney immediately. Injuries and deaths from falls can be due to several different factors. Our experienced nursing home attorneys will investigate to determine factors such as:
- Was a proper Fall Risk Assessment performed?
- Should the Fall Risk Assessment have been updated?
- Were the proper Fall Risk prevention tools in place such as slip-resistant socks, tag alarms, bed alarms, etc.?
- Where did the fall occur?
- What time of day did it happen?
- Is the fall documented in the records?
- Do the records conflict with other records?
- Was the fall witnessed?
- Had your loved one had a history of falls?
- Had your loved one previously fallen at the facility?
- Was the facility understaffed?
- Was your loved one left unattended at the time of the fall?
Pressure Sores are Avoidable with Proper Care
Nursing home residents can be at a high risk for developing pressure sores, which is a very serious, painful and sometimes life-threatening injury.
"Pressure sores" owe their name to the observation that patients who were bedridden and not properly repositioned, would often develop ulcerations or sores on their skin, typically over bony prominences. These pressure sores, which result from prolonged pressure, are also called “decubitus ulcers”, “bed sores,” and “pressure ulcers.”
Pressure sores are a localized area of tissue injury that develops when soft tissue is compressed between a bony prominence and an external surface for a prolonged period of time. The external surface may be a mattress, a chair or wheelchair, or even other parts of the body. The soft tissues of the body, such as skin and muscle, depend upon blood vessels to carry nutrients to the tissues, and to remove waste products. Pressure sores result when prolonged pressure prevents sufficient blood flow to supply the tissues with nutrients. The resulting pressure sore represents the death of the involved soft tissues.
It is important to note that pressure sores do not always result from being in bed. Some of the most severe pressure sores can also result from sitting for a prolonged period of time. Thus, the location of the pressure sores can depend upon the position of the patient. For individuals who are bed-bound, the sores are most likely to form on or around the heels, the hip-bone, and the lower back or tailbone. Pressure sores may also develop in a variety of other areas, including the spine, ankles, knees shoulders, and head, depending upon the position of the patient.
Pressure sores are more likely to develop persons who are at higher risk due to one or more risk factors. A number of risk factors have been identified which put individuals at higher risk. Once a person is identified as being at increased risk for pressure sores, measures should be undertaken to reduce or eliminate those risks. Thus, healthcare providers must be aware of these risk factors when caring for patients in order to prevent the unnecessary development of pressure sores. While risk factors may vary depending upon the particular circumstances, the following represents a list of the most common:
- Confinement to bed, chair, or wheelchair
- Inability to change positions without help
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Poor nutrition and/or dehydration
- Decreased mental awareness
Most pressure sores can be prevented, and those which have formed need not necessarily get worse. Each patient’s individual circumstances must be taken into consideration by the caregiver in order to develop a plan of care which will best assure the patient will not unnecessarily suffer from a pressure sore. Many times severe pressure sores are the result of the nursing home:
- Failing to conduct a proper Pressure Sore Assessment, known as the Braden Scale (http://www.bradenscale.com/images/bradenscale.pdf)
- Failing to re-assess or update the Braden Scale during the resident’s stay
- Failing to turn a patient or follow the patient's turn schedule
- Failing to regularly bathe a patient
- Failing to change a patient's soiled clothing and bed linens
- Failing to treat an already present wound
- Failing to maintain proper nutrition and hydration
- Failing to use appropriate support and/or pressure relieving devices
- Understaffing of nursing home facilities
- Improper documentation/charting
Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes is Far Too Common
Sadly, many nursing home residents die not of natural causes, but rather due to the neglect of the nursing home. This can be a very difficult and upsetting loss and our experience nursing home attorneys can help find out what really happened to your loved one.
Our lawyers will aggressively fight to learn to truth of what happened to your loved one. Although no amount of money can justify the loss of a loved one, we will do everything possible to hold the nursing home accountable and responsible for the wrongful death of your loved one.
When you retain our services, we begin investigating immediately. Our experienced nursing home team will look into the corporate conduct of the nursing home, the staff members' history, prior violations of the nursing home, thoroughly review the nursing home records, look for falsifications in charting or documents and find the source of negligence and the cause of the wrongful death.
There’s No Excuse for Dehydration and Malnutrition
Every individual needs proper amount of nutrition, including abundant fluids, to maintain his or her health and life. When a nursing home fails to provide the food and water a resident needs to maintain his or her health, the resident can suffer greatly. The injuries that result from dehydration and malnutrition can be detrimental to a nursing home resident, and the nursing home is liable for the damages.
It is important that family members watch for and recognize early symptoms of dehydration and malnutrition in a nursing home, which could include:
- Sudden or unusual weight loss
- Confusion and disorientation
- Dry skin
- Cracked lips
- Sores in the mouth
- Sunken eyes and dark circles around the eyes
- Exacerbation of current medical conditions
- Abnormal Blood work and Lab results
Neglect that causes dehydration and malnutrition can lead to serious health issues, including:
- Broken bones from falls due to weakness
- Pressure sores
- Acute renal failure