Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence
If you or a loved one has been injured call my cell (954)500-FREE (3733)
Care for the Elderly
The elderly can be vulnerable to abuse if they are not able to care for themselves; fortunately, there are really good nursing homes in Florida that provide a healthy living environment. At times even in the best of facilities mistakes are made and not reported or go unnoticed. If you have a loved one that is a patient in a Florida nursing home then you should be aware of what care is appropriate and required.
Nursing homes are required to provide clean, comfortable living quarters. Privacy is important and so patients have the right to close their doors and staff members should knock before entering, unless there is a medical emergency. The patient may store personal items without fear that their possessions will be stolen. Telephones must be permitted and mail must not be opened. Visitors must be allowed during appropriate hours, and overnight visitation should be allowed in certain situations.
When a violation occurs, it must be reported within two years of discovering the violation and an attorney knowledgeable in the area of elder law should be contacted immediately. Sometimes proof is difficult, unless care has been taken to document the event. Even the best attorney cannot help unless there is sufficient evidence to support a claim.
What should you look for? Bedrails can be a significant cause of injury. In more than half of the bedrail incidents reported, the patient died. The most common cause is when the patient becomes lodged between the rail and mattress. The patient may not be strong enough to free themselves. They may lose the ability to breath which may cause death by asphyxiation or cardiac arrest. While bedrails do serve a purpose by preventing injuries caused by the patient falling out of bed and onto a hard floor, they should be appropriately designed for the mattress that is being used in order to be safe, but sometimes if a mattress is changed it may not be appropriate to use with the bedrail. One thing you can do is to check to see if you can push the mattress away from the bedrail and observe if there is a gap. If not, bring it to the attention of the staff and request an appropriate combination of mattress and bedrail.
Physical restraints may be permitted if medically necessary, but at times they may be used inappropriately as a convenience. Researchers have concluded that physical restraints are not safe and do not decrease the risk of injury; in fact, they can increase the risk of infections, bedsores, and strangulation. Loss of freedom of movement can also create emotional stress. Restraints can only be used on orders of a physician, and only after obtaining informed consent from the patient, or if the patient is not able to consent, then from a responsible member of the family. Use of restraints to punish a patient, or for convenience of the staff is prohibited.
Another fairly common injury is a fracture of the Femur, which is the longest bone in the human body and is commonly known as the thighbone. A break is very serious and can result in death of the elderly person if not treated quickly. If this type of fracture occurs out of negligence of a staff member, it may go unreported for some time for fear of reprisal from the employer. The most common occurrence is from a fall, improper supervision, and being improperly moved from a bed to a chair which can result in falling.
Infections occur quite frequently and are sometime not preventable even with the best of care, but certain infections do occur through improper care. For example, in the use of contaminated catheters. Scabies which is a skin infection is caused by a small mite that bites and causes reactions. Loved ones
should pay close attention. Visit often if possible you may be the only one who notices early enough to prevent an injury or death.
There are things you can watch for if you have a loved one in a nursing facility. Improper medication management, staff not repositioning the patient as necessary to prevent bedsores, Isolation of the patient who is either forgotten or secluded without any type of social contact for other than legitimate medical purposes. Malnutrition, dehydration, falls, and other events due to negligent care. These are some of the reasons why so many lawsuits are filed and the reason why medical facilities tend to be more careful because a finding if negligence can be very costly.