As many of our families grow older, the demand for nursing homes is on the rise. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in 2020, people aged over 60 years stand at approximately 1 billion worldwide. WHO estimates that by the year 2050, the number of older ones will rise to 1.4 billion globally. In previous years, families would care for their aging parents and other relatives in their homes or invite them to live with them. Yet with the increase of pressure in time-consuming jobs, the time and energy of taking care of aging loved ones face a challenge. Some reasons, such as 24-hour medical care for the elderly ones, can influence the ability of family members to care for them at home.
This point is where some people approach nursing homes for help. How so? Nursing homes provide 24-hour care of personal and medical services to their aged residents. Entrusting your loved one to a nursing home is like trusting hospital doctors and facilities to provide the needed treatment for your loved one. What about if you find that the nursing home is neglecting the care of a resident? Or the negligence of the nursing home personnel results in the injury of your resident family member or friend?
Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Negligence?
Yes, you can. If a nursing home’s staff actions or inactions cause harm to its residents, you can file the case under the civil lawsuits court. In the USA, nursing homes that take part in Medicare and Medicaid must abide by the federal law of the Nursing Home Reform Act. Nursing home neglect falls under Medical Malpractice. Let’s begin by defining negligence in nursing homes.
What is Negligence in Nursing Homes?
In a nursing home, negligence is the failure of the nursing home’s staff to provide the basic care to its residents that can cause emotional, psychological, or physical harm. These basic care needs include needed medical care, food and water, and hygiene, to mention a few. Residents deserve dignity, respect, and privacy. How can we define the differences in neglect?
Medical neglect is when a nursing home staff does not provide the medicines and physical care to the resident.
Physical neglect is when the nursing home personnel do not provide hygiene (like proper bath services), adequate food and water, and suitable clothing for different weather. Lack of physical care includes not providing physical exercises for a bedridden resident to prevent bedsores, muscle degeneration, and other medical issues resulting from neglect.
Emotional neglect is when nursing home staff repeatedly ignores, criticizes, isolates a resident from other residents, and provides no supervision to the elderly resident.
How Can You Prove Negligence?
Providing proof of negligence is an uphill task, but not impossible. Because of circumstances, some elderly residents sometimes cannot speak. Thus, family members have to seek evidence. Seek legal help from a personal injury lawyer to outline the process of gathering the evidence you need to make a legal case. When you have sufficient evidence of neglect, the lawyers will then help you file a legal claim against the nursing home.
Before you reach the stage where you have to sue a nursing home for its negligence, take steps to ensure the safety and physical health of your elderly ones. How? Do your research on the nursing home you want to entrust to your loved one. What is its reputation? Do they have any lawsuits against them? Visit your aged loved ones every so often. Listen to them and note if they have any signs of neglect.