Why are Nursing Home Neglect Cases Important?
The transition into a nursing home is difficult for both patients and their families. It is a sacrifice, and residents rely heavily on the compassion and competence of nursing home staff and management to provide the best care possible. When nursing homes fail to provide the professional care they promise, and injuries and deaths result, they may be held accountable by Ohio law.
Questions about Nursing Home Neglect Cases
Nursing home neglect has been a serious issue for decades now, and the management of facilities must be held accountable when instances of negligence affect your family.
If an Ohio nursing home fails to provide the professional care they have advertised, and patient injuries and deaths result, the companies may be held responsible in Ohio courts. Large settlements have resulted from the families of victims filing injury claims against Diversicare, Genesis, ManorCare and Laurel homes.
Nursing home neglect injuries may result from understaffing, underqualified staff, bad management and poor communication. Abuse and neglect can result in dangerous bedsores and other serious infections. Common types of nursing home abuse may include:
- Physical Abuse
- Safety Hazards—slips and falls
- Improper confinement and isolation
- Emotional Abuse
- Failing to keep patients clean
- Failing to prevent malnutrition
- Sexual Assault & Inappropriate physical contact
- Bedsores and infections
- Identity theft, stealing money & forgery
- Overcharging patients and families
- Overmedicating patients
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates approximately 1,800 nursing home residents die from dangerous falls each year. Residents who survive falls may sustain hip or head injuries which can lead to permanent disabilities.
Because of the new surroundings and staff neglect, many newly admitted nursing home residents will suffer a fall shortly after their arrival. Understaffing is a big factor in these injuries, and the management of nursing homes have a responsibility to prevent falls and accidents.
Bedsores, also known as pressure sores, pressure ulcers, and skin lesions can be very painful and lead to more serious health problems if not treated promptly. Nursing home staff are well aware that patients confined to beds need to be turned regularly to reduce the risk of developing ulcers. However, when nursing homes are understaffed or fail to properly attend to residents, patients suffer the consequences.
Bedsores, also called decubitus ulcers, are injuries to skin and underlying tissue from prolonged skin pressure. Bedsores commonly develop on bony areas of the body, such as the heels, ankles, hips and tailbone. Common Contributing Factors for Bedsores:
- Pressure—bedsores are caused by pressure against the skin that limits blood flow to the skin. Blood flow is essential to delivering oxygen and nutrients to tissue.
- Friction—skin rubbing against clothing or bedding makes skin more vulnerable to injury.
- Overmedicated patients
- Understaffing at nursing homes
- Lack of sensory perception
- Nursing home neglect
- Medical conditions affecting blood flow—diabetes and vascular disease
People most at risk of bedsores have medical conditions that limit their ability to change positions on their own. Bedsores can develop quickly. Most sores heal with treatment, but some are more severe and lead to serious drug resistant infections. Other signs of nursing abuse include:
- Unexplained injuries
- Restraint marks
- Lack of hygiene maintenance
- Untidy living conditions
- Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts
- Bedsores and poor skin conditions
- Signs of dehydration
- Unusually sedated residents
- Weight loss
- Broken bones & fractures
- Bruising from unknown injuries
- A patient that withdraws socially over time
- Entirely non-communicative patient
- A fear of physical contact
Bedsores are categorized into four stages, based on their depth, severity and other characteristics. They include:
- Stage I—a persistent redness, swelling and tenderness on a patient’s skin.
- Stage II—a loss of some of skin thickness. Appears as a blister, abrasion or shallow crater.
- Stage III—damage to the full thickness of the skin. A deep lesion or crater is present.
- Stage IV—a complete loss of the skin. Muscle or bone is exposed.
A bedsore can advance quickly when patients do not receive proper treatment and care in a nursing home or assisted living center. There are various factors associated with developing bedsores, though most involve neglect, understaffing, overmedicating, a lack of nutritional care and patient immobility.
Common Sites of Pressure Sores
- Tailbone & Buttocks
- Shoulder blades
- Backs of arms & legs
- Back or sides of the head
- Lower back
- Heels & ankles
- Behind the knees
Complications of Bedsores & Skin Infections
- Cellulitis—an infection of the skin and connected soft tissues.
- Bone and joint infections—Infections from pressure sores can pass into joints and bones, damaging cartilage and tissue. Bone infections may reduce the function of joints and limbs.
- Cancer—long-term, unhealed wounds can develop into a type of squamous cell carcinoma
Nursing homes tend to settle out of court when accidents and wrongful deaths occur, and you may seek legal counsel to guide you through the legal process.
Your Right to Safety
Your Loved Ones Should Not Suffer in Their Homes
The elderly population in nursing homes and assisted living facilities around Ohio frequently suffer injuries like bedsores due to understaffing and neglect. Some underlying issues that lead to dangerous skin ulcers include improper medication, a lack of supervision, malnutrition, inadequate wound care, and a delay in sending patients to medical centers and hospitals. These severe injuries are almost always preventable, and nursing homes have a duty to ensure that residents are kept safe and as healthy as possible. Nursing home neglect may lead to severe infection, amputations, and death.
Good quality care in nursing homes includes evaluating medical quality, nurse staff levels, sanitary conditions, and health inspection reports. Overall staffing appears to be a huge factor in the level of care provided. Residents need continual attention and reports aim to monitor the average hours a day a patient receives care from registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses and certified nurse assistants.