There is a difference between nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect. Abuse is an intentional injury and neglect is an unintentional injury. Arguably, understaffing is the root of both problems. As many as 90 percent of nursing homes are dangerously understaffed. Workers are often stressed out, and like all of us, sometimes vent their frustrations in inappropriate ways. Furthermore, as outlined below, understaffed environments often breed negligence.
The nursing home owner is typically responsible for neglect injuries. The respondeat superior rule states employers are liable for the negligence of their employees. Because of this rule, a Rockford personal injury lawyer might be able to obtain substantial compensation in nursing home neglect claims. The families need this compensation to pay for neglect-related medical bills. They also need and deserve compensation for their pain and suffering.
Resident-on Resident Abuse
Aimless unchecked wandering also contributes to resident-on-resident physical abuse. If a resident wanders into another resident’s room, a fight could break out. Emotionally, many older individuals are a lot like young children. Since they often have pre-existing conditions, a tiny amount of physical force could cause a serious injury.
Understaffing also contributes to violence in common areas. Petty disagreements over things like a preferred table at mealtime could escalate, especially if a staff member is not there to intervene.
If patients turn over in bed once every two (2) or three (3) hours, pressure ulcers should not a problem. However, many residents are too physically weak or over-medicated to turn themselves over, rendering them entirely dependent on staff members.
This dependency is a problem in understaffed environments. Instead of two (2) or three (3) staff members making rounds, there might only be one person who might not be strong enough to turn patients over. Furthermore, unless the staffer is a doctor or nurse, the person might not recognize early bedsore symptoms – when these injuries are not as serious. However, pressure ulcer get progressively worse.
Slip and fall injuries are the most common types of nursing home injuries. More than half of all long-term care facility residents fall every year. Most of these victims sustain permanent injuries preventing them from ever living independently again.
Nursing home owners have a duty of care to ensure their facilities are reasonably safe. That duty requires them to eradicate fall hazards. Therefore, they are liable for damages if they knew about a hazard and did not remedy the situation.
Understaffing often comes into play in these situations. Nursing homes should have people in place to ensure residents do not wander into construction areas or other hazardous areas.
Older people are particularly susceptible to construction-related falls. Many of these individuals have dim eyesight, so they cannot see some hazards. Also, many older individuals have gait disorders. When they slip, they cannot recover their balance.
Reach Out to a Hard-Working Attorney
Nursing home neglect often causes serious injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced Rockford personal injury lawyer, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. Home and hospital visits are available.