Contrary to popular myth, there is a difference between abuse and neglect. Generally, nursing home abuse is intentional. An individual might not intend to harm the victim, but the act itself was not accidental. On the other hand, neglect is a lack of ordinary care. In this context, that duty of care is usually rather high. Nursing home residents depend entirely on staff for almost everything.
Under staffing, a problem which affects as many as 95 percent of long-term care facilities, is usually the root of nursing home abuse and neglect cases. Understaffed facilities cannot properly supervise and care for all their patients. Under staffing usually puts too much pressure on remaining employees. They must do several jobs at once and the stress often causes eruptions.
Ultimately, the nursing homeowner is usually responsible for both abuse and neglect damages. Liability theories in abuse claims usually include negligent hiring or negligent supervision. Owners have a responsibility to hire top-quality caregivers. Neglect claims usually involve the respondent superior rule. Employers are legally responsible for their employees’ negligence.
In both these situations, a Rockford personal injury attorney can usually obtain compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Resident on Resident Abuse
In a way, many nursing home residents are child-like. Petty disputes over things like a preferred table at dinner or a spot close to the TV often escalate. And, if there is no staffer there to step in, the conflict becomes violent.
Additionally, many nursing home residents are very protective of their limited privacy. When other residents innocently wander into their rooms or their personal space, the offended resident reacts violently. Most nursing home residents are physically frail. So, a tiny amount of force is enough to cause a serious injury.
Many nursing home residents spend lots of time alone, either as punishment or because there is no one to watch them. Enforced isolation has a severe adverse emotional effect.
Nursing home caregivers are in a position of trust. Many unscrupulous workers abuse this trust. Some flagrantly steal money or valuables from residents. Others are more subtle. Perhaps they tell a resident their grandson is in jail and needs cash to get out. Other workers trick residents into signing legal documents.
On a related note, institutional financial abuse is an issue as well. Some nursing homes initiate guardianship proceedings so they can gain control of their residents’ financial resources.
If patients turn over in bed every few hours, pressure ulcers are not a problem. Bedsores are also not a problem if staff detects them early enough. But if bedsores are untreated, they quickly become life-threatening. Pressure ulcers are especially a problem in understaffed facilities. Perhaps no one makes rounds or perhaps the staffer assigned is not qualified to detect bedsores.
Staff on Resident Abuse
As mentioned above, a little force usually causes a serious injury. That includes things like pulling a resident out of bed, physically blocking a resident’s path, or pushing a resident onto a bed.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
Elder abuse or neglect victims and their families have legal options. For a free consultation with an experienced Rockford personal injury lawyer, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. We routinely handle matters in Winnebago County and nearby jurisdictions.