Statistics show that more people are living longer these days, and as a result, many elderly people have to go to nursing homes after an extended illness or to rehab an injury. Often, an older person may live the rest of his or her life in a nursing home, depending on a family’s situation, finances, and medical insurance. Family members put their trust in the staff of a nursing home or assisted living facility to care for their loved ones. Unfortunately, patients can sometimes end up in worse shape than when they arrived due to nursing home negligence. Injuries can be caused by intentional acts or unintentional acts, but regardless of the reason, families whose loved ones have been harmed should consult with an attorney to determine their legal options.
Intentional Versus Unintentional Acts
Examples of intentional acts that may harm a patient include physical, sexual, or verbal abuse. Sadly, many nursing home patients are vulnerable to sexual assault because physical limitations make them unable to resist. In addition, there have been documented incidents in which a nursing home employee strikes or slaps a resident simply because the person is frustrated or impatient with a resident. These types of incidents may also involve verbal abuse such as a worker yelling at a patient, calling them derogatory names, or using racist slurs. Depending on where these incidents take place, they may have been caught on camera, providing evidence of nursing home abuse.
While unintentional acts of nursing home neglect may not have been done on purpose, they can also seriously harm a patient. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are not properly staffed, so workers cannot always tend to a patient’s immediate needs. If a resident is not bathed on a regular basis, he or she can develop bed sores, and if these are left untreated, they can cause serious and even life-threatening infections.
Understaffing often leads nursing home employees to work long hours, which can cause them to become overtired and have difficulty thinking clearly. This inhibition to an employee’s job performance can have a serious impact on patients’ health. For example, it is possible for a worker to administer the wrong medication to a patient. One documented case involved a nurse dispensing a number of pills to the wrong resident because he had the same last name as another resident in the nursing home. Luckily, the man survived, but it could have resulted in deadly consequences if the patient had been allergic to the medication given to him.
A nursing facility is responsible for properly staffing a nursing home and vetting employees. Routine job training and certification for nurses and doctors at a nursing home is important, ensuring that staff members follow the correct practices and are able to utilize the medical devices properly. Failure to meet the proper standard of care may be considered negligence, and a facility may be held responsible for injuries that occur as a result.
Contact a Chicago Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer
If your loved one has suffered an injury at an understaffed nursing home or assisted living facility, or if they have been the victim of nursing home abuse, you should seek legal counsel. At Pullano & Siporin, we are highly experienced in nursing home abuse and neglect cases. In one notable case, we obtained a $1 million settlement for the family of a man who died as the result of an infected bed sore while receiving care at a nursing home. Contact a Will County nursing home injury attorney at 312-551-1100 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help recover compensation for the harm done to your family.