Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Almost every family has had to make the difficult decision of sending a loved one to a nursing home so that he or she can get needed around the clock care or recover from an injury or illness. We expect that the medical staff will treat our loved ones with the utmost care and provide them with the medical treatment and services they need. Just as with infant children and toddlers, the elderly require a higher degree of care and supervision than a typical patient in a hospital. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect does occur, leaving families to deal with the consequences of the improper care and treatment rendered to a loved one.

At its heart, a claim arising out of nursing home abuse or neglect is a medical malpractice claim alleging that the nursing home and its medical staff were negligent by failing to render proper care to a nursing home resident/patient, i.e., the nursing home and its medical staff failed to comply with the applicable standard of care. For example, a patient may be at a high risk for the development of decubitus ulcers (known as pressure or bedsores) due to being bedbound or otherwise incapacitated. There are medical protocols and guidelines in place for such patients which generally require the medical staff to frequently rotate the patient while in bed, assess the patient’s skin integrity on a regular basis and properly document and quickly treat any pressure or bedsores that do develop. Failure of a nursing home’s medical staff to follow these procedures can have catastrophic consequences for a patient, including the development of very large pressure sores requiring surgical repair or even death if the sores become infected or will not heal properly due to a patient’s compromised condition.

Under certain circumstances, the Massachusetts Department of Public Heath will investigate an incident to determine whether a patient’s injuries were caused by any abuse, neglect or negligence on the part of the nursing home’s medical staff. Information contained in these reports can prove to be very helpful in investigating any claims on behalf of a patient or the patient’s family.

Proving a nursing home abuse or neglect case is not, however, an easy endeavor. Many patients injured in nursing homes have been residents of the facility for several years so there are often mountains of medical records to review – a process that can sometimes amount to finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. Sometimes questions arise as to the authenticity of the notations in a nursing home resident’s chart, such as when a record reflects that the nursing home staff was rotating the patient in his or her bed days after the patient was transferred to a hospital or other medical facility. In addition, many nursing home residents have a number of serious medical conditions that may complicate the analysis of whether or not an injury is directly related to an incident of neglect or abuse. Families whose loved ones have been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect need to find a personal injury law firm with extensive experience in investigating these claims – a law firm that has the resources and capabilities to meticulously comb through the record to gather the precise information necessary to bring a lawsuit for nursing home abuse or neglect.

SUGARMAN’s personal injury attorneys have extensive experience investigating and litigating nursing home abuse and neglect cases. Some representative cases involve claims for injuries or death resulting from a nursing home and its staff failing to follow fall prevention guidelines for a patient, failing to properly rotate a bedbound patient, failing to properly recognize signs and symptoms of an ongoing infection, failing to provide proper supervision to a patient with Alzheimer’s or dementia, and failing to follow nutrition guidelines for a patient resulting in malnutrition or death due to choking. Our attorneys are committed to helping you and your family and welcome the opportunity to discuss any potential claim with you. For more information regarding SUGARMAN’s nursing home abuse and neglect practice, please click on the below links.