Nursing Home Injuries

At McDonald, Levy & Taylor one of our goals is to encourage nursing homes to consistently offer quality care to their patients. We believe that if nursing homes are held accountable for injuries that they negligently cause that the long term effect will be a dramatic increase in the quality of care in nursing homes. Our nursing home litigation attorneys are well versed in the complexities of nursing home lawsuits. For example, Mr. McDonald has successfully handled extremely complex nursing home cases.

 

Click here to review our videos concerning Personal Injury Lawsuits.

 

Negligence in caring for patients in nursing homes can arise in many ways. Nursing home litigation attorneys often see injuries arising from:

  • Improper care of bedsores, more properly known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers
  • Incorrectly administering medicine
  • Falls
  • Failure to keep the patient hydrated and well fed
  • Providing inadequate or improper medical care
  • Physical or mental abuse
  • Improper use of restraints
PICKING A NURSING HOME

The best way to prevent such terrible injuries from occurring is to pick a high quality nursing home. When picking a nursing home, experts advise you to:

 

1. Check the Web. One of the best places to start is the website of the state where the prospective homes are located. In Tennessee, go to http://health.state.tn.us/NursingHomes/index.htm.
2. Look close to home.Once you have a list of facilities, start with the ones nearest your home. It’s not only more convenient for you, it will likely increase the care that the patient will receive. That’s because the nursing home staff is keenly aware of the residents who get regular visitors and they tend to bestow just a bit more care on those patients.
3. Pop in unannounced.If your first visit is during regular business hours, don’t make an appointment – you’ll get a better idea of how the facility is run. Just walk in and ask for the administrator, who should be on site. If not, ask for the next person in charge to show you around. Be sure to ask about the ratio of caregivers to residents or seek a copy of the staffing schedule. Do you smell urine, feces, or other bad odors?
4. Look for residents – in the right places.If you see them in activity areas, dining rooms, and outdoor areas, that’s good. If you see them being changed, dressed, or toileted, it means the facility doesn’t value their privacy – or dignity. Also, look for restraints being used on the residents – things like wheelchair trays, vests that keep patients sitting upright, or other devices that restrict movement. Although restraints may be temporarily necessary in a medical emergency, better nursing homes work to meet residents’ needs using restraint-free methods.
5. Check out the food and drink.Ask to see the kitchen where the residents’ meals are prepared. A good nursing home will have no problem with this request. (In fact, most will invite you to have a meal in the dining room with the residents.) Is the kitchen clean? Does it smell good? Are dry goods properly stored on shelves off the floor? Ask to see inside the refrigerator. Is the food covered? Also find out the following: Is there a licensed dietician on staff? Is there a list of resident food allergies and dislikes on record? Is fresh drinking water easily accessible? Dehydration is a special risk for nursing-home residents.
6. Chase the paper.All long-term care facilities must provide their most recent state inspection survey (Form 2567). The report lists the most recent violations found by state inspectors. Even the best of nursing homes can have problems sometimes, so read the report carefully, weigh the severity of each problem, and question the administrator about how the infractions have been corrected.
7. Join the residents.All nursing homes are supposed to support both family and resident councils – groups that work to ensure proper care and treatment of all residents by communicating concerns and needs with facility managers and ombudsmen. There should be a schedule of these meetings posted. Ask to sit in on one and you’ll get a sense of what’s going on within the facility. Ask questions. You’ll get frank answers.
8. Come back – again and again.Once admission is completed, make sure there is a patient care plan on file. This document, required for all patients, includes an outline of care requirements including dietary needs, medications, and rehabilitation directives. The most important thing you can do is to visit often, to make sure the patient’s care plan is being followed, and to consistently monitor his or her care.
When you finally make a decision, be aware of the documents you sign in the admitting process. Most nursing homes will ask you to sign an arbitration agreement where the patient and/or the family give up the right to have an injury suit heard in court and decided by a jury. Many legal experts believe that arbitration strongly favors nursing homes and would advise not to sign an arbitration agreement. Many nursing homes will allow the patient to reside there even if the agreement is not signed and many agreements provide that the agreement can be revoked within a period of time. We strongly advise not to sign an arbitration agreement.
 

 

SIGNS OF NURSING HOME NEGLECT OR ABUSE

  • Bedsores
  • Unsanitary and Unclean Conditions
  • Skin Rash
  • Infections
  • Poor Personal Hygiene
  • Skin Tears
  • Depression and Withdrawal
  • Weight Loss
  • Being Found Outside the Facility
  • Bruises and Other Signs of Injuries
  • Fear
  • Inability to Communicate
  • Unexplained Injuries
  • Reports of Being Mistreated
 (If you or a family member has been injured as a result of the care received in a nursing home, we look forward to hearing from you.)

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