Choosing a nursing home for a family member, or for yourself, heralds immense life changes. Nursing home residents often have to move into the nursing home to maintain their quality of life as they age.
A nursing home can help with medical care in aging individuals who can no longer manage their own medications and needs, help with toileting and bathing, and provide improved quality of life that many seniors can no longer enjoy in their own homes.
Unfortunately, not all nursing homes provide the standard of care residents expect before they move in. In fact, in some cases, nursing homes can actively abuse their residents, leading to serious injuries or increased risk of illness.
Did your loved one suffer neglect in a Bronx nursing home? Do you want to understand more about your loved one's rights or the compensation deserved following nursing home neglect? Retain the Bronx nursing home abuse lawyers. Call Dolman Law Group for a free consultation and to learn more about your legal rights.
Why does Nursing Home Neglect Occur in the Bronx?
Every instance of nursing home neglect in the Bronx occurs for its own reasons. In some cases, poor training or inadequate staffing levels might be to blame. Under other circumstances, the carelessness of a staff member could be the cause. The following are some of the most common causes for neglect in a nursing home setting.
1. Understaffed Nursing Homes
Many times, nursing homes do not have adequate staff members to cover their needs. They may have too few nurses per patient, or inadequate staff members to ensure that they meet the needs of all the residents in the nursing home. As a result, nurses and other staff members may find themselves stretched too thin to cover the needs of all patients. Patients may have to wait to receive the care that they need.
2. High Staff Turnover
In a nursing home that does not take adequate care of its staff members or where residents do not receive an adequate standard of care, high staff turnover can occur. Residents do not get a chance to know individual caregivers or form relationships with them because they move out so fast.
New staff members may have a steep learning curve and a high adjustment period when they first start work. As a result, they may struggle to keep up with the needs of all the patients on the floor.
3. Poor Training Protocols
Sometimes, even during times of relatively low turnover, staff members do not receive adequate training to know how to handle resident needs and care. They may receive only basic training and supervision from other staff members, causing them to miss aspects of patient care.
4. Lazy or Negligent Employees
Sometimes, despite proper training, employees simply do not provide the high standard of care that nursing home residents deserve. They may cut corners to save time and energy, rather than providing a high standard of patient care. As a result, patients' overall health and mental wellbeing may begin to deteriorate.
5. Inadequate Nursing Home Policies
Some nursing homes do not have the policies they need to demand a high standard of care for every resident. The nursing home's policies may fail to address concerns like resident bathing, feeding residents, or dealing with medical conditions. Substandard care at the nursing home means that employees may not pay adequate attention to resident needs.
6. Inadequate Funding
In addition to the other challenges faced by nursing homes, many nursing homes, especially state-funded nursing homes that rely on Medicare payments, do not have the funding they need to provide a high standard of care for residents. As a result, many patients may go without the care they need.
Common Symptoms of Nursing Home Negligence in the Bronx
Nursing homes bear a high duty of care to provide what their residents need. Some seniors, as they age, require assistance with even the basic tasks of daily living. Many seniors move into a nursing home in the first place because their loved ones can no longer provide the high standard of care they need to maintain their quality of life, especially as medical needs increase.
Others may already have suffered abuse at the hands of a loved one and needed to move into a care facility. When nursing homes fail to provide that high standard of care, they can commit negligence against their residents. Signs and symptoms of negligence may include:
Signs of Malnutrition
When Bronx nursing homes fail to provide adequate food for their residents, those residents may begin to show signs of malnutrition. They may have brittle hair, skin that bruises easily, and lose weight rapidly. Malnutrition can also cause residents to suffer injury more easily.
Nursing homes must make adequate water and other beverages available to all residents. In addition, they should ensure that patients who require a higher standard of care, including patients with Alzheimer's and dementia, have a caregiver who will help them eat and drink. Unfortunately, some patients may still develop symptoms of dehydration.
If a patient must remain completely bedridden, even the most careful nursing home staff cannot always prevent bedsores entirely. Bedsores should not, however, become increasingly infected, and should receive prompt treatment. Bedridden patients should get moved regularly and have their sheets changed to keep them clean and in good condition.
In addition to meeting the nursing home residents' physical needs, employees should also help meet the emotional needs of those residents. They should offer conversation and care, show compassion in conversations and interactions, and avoid using offensive language. A patient who shows signs of emotional withdrawal may indicate emotional abuse at the hands of nursing home staff.
Wandering and Elopement
Part of providing nursing home residents with a safe place to live is ensuring they are unable to put themselves in danger. For some nursing home residents, a significant threat to injury involves wandering or elopement.
When residents wander the facility or leave it entirely, they could encounter an array of dangers. These circumstances could be especially problematic for residents that are unable to care for themselves.
Increased Symptoms of Previously Managed Conditions
Many seniors already have significant medical conditions when they go into a nursing home. They may need to take medications daily or receive regular medical interventions to manage those conditions.
Often, however, seniors already have a protocol in place to manage their medical needs. If the nursing home staff does not adhere to those protocols, it can cause symptoms of those conditions to worsen.
For example, a patient with diabetes who previously managed blood sugar well through diet and insulin, may suddenly have a lot of highs and lows if the nursing home fails to administer medication properly.
One of the common signs of neglect is infections. When nursing home residents are not properly monitored, minor injuries could become infected. The same is true for infections that occur following surgical procedures. The staff of the nursing facility has a duty to change bandages and care for their wounds, and their failure to do so could allow infection to spread.
Frequent Injuries, Especially Preventable Injuries
Nursing home staff cannot have eyes on all patients every minute. Sometimes, patients may slip and fall with no clear reason or no way to predict it. A patient usually steady on his feet, for example, might slip and fall in the bathroom or while getting out of bed, leading to a hip fracture or traumatic brain injury.
If a nursing home resident suffers a preventable injury, on the other hand, it may signal negligence on the part of nursing home staff. For example, if a patient with a high known fall risk falls out of bed because the nurse who came in to administer his evening medications failed to raise the rail on the side of the bed before leaving, it could signal negligence.
Likewise, you should take note of frequent injuries in loved ones. If your loved one gets taken to the hospital several times due to injuries, or if your loved one regularly seems to have new bruises or small cuts when you come to visit, you may suspect the nursing home staff of negligence.
Bronx Nursing Home Negligence: Determining Liability
Most often, if your loved one suffers negligence in a Bronx nursing home, the nursing home itself will hold liability for that negligence. In some cases, however, other parties may share liability for the injuries suffered because of nursing home negligence.
Imagine, for example, that a doctor who works in a nursing home fails to provide care for your loved one's conditions. The doctor might, for example, fail to prescribe medications promptly, or fail to order treatments for known medical conditions altogether. That doctor may share liability for any damages your loved one suffers due to that neglect.
To determine liability, an attorney may also consider where the staff member or members that committed acts of negligence came from. For example, some nursing homes, especially those suffering from high staff turnover, may choose to bring in employees through a staffing company. That staffing company may handle its own background checks before sending employees over to the nursing home.
If the staffing company sends an employee with a known history of neglecting patients or one who does not have the right certifications to work in a specific position, the staffing company may share liability for negligence committed by a staff member.
Seeking Compensation After Bronx Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing home negligence can leave your loved one with significant injuries, high medical bills, and a distaste for nursing homes in general. Contact a Bronx personal injury attorney to learn more about your loved one's legal rights, including how much compensation you can expect. Many nursing home negligence claims in the Bronx contain the same basic elements.
Increased or Additional Medical Expenses
Many seniors already have significant ongoing medical expenses related to the conditions they already have. Nursing home negligence, however, can lead to additional medical expenses. Your loved one may require hospitalization to recover from dehydration or malnutrition.
If your loved one suffered an injury in a fall due to negligence, he might need significant treatment: surgery, hospitalization, and rehabilitation. For example, if your loved one suffers a broken hip in a slip and fall, it may necessitate a full hip replacement, including long-term physical therapy.
Your loved one may also need to go through multiple follow-up appointments to ensure that he recovers from his poor treatment at the hands of nursing home staff. For example, if a patient with heart disease does not receive the right food and medication for his needs, he may struggle with increased heart problems for some time after the neglect.
As a result, he may need to go through several treatments to help get his health back to normal.
After suffering neglect in a nursing home, your loved one may not want to go back to that particular home. Often, the family will come together and find a better place for a senior who did not receive the right treatment in a nursing home.
In other cases, your loved one might need a nursing home that offers a higher standard of care due to increased illness or injuries suffered due to neglect.
Moving can prove extremely expensive, especially for seniors. Not only do you need to consider the cost of a moving truck and/or movers, you may need to put down a deposit at a new nursing home. Sometimes, you may also find your family needing to come up with increased funds to pay for your loved one's new nursing home.
Typically, the higher the level of care needed by the resident, the more the nursing home costs. Some families may struggle with those increased costs. Luckily, you can include many of them as part of your nursing home negligence claim.
Emotional Distress, Pain and Suffering, or Loss of Enjoyment of Life
For many nursing home residents, neglect leads to a significant shift in overall enjoyment of life or ability to enjoy life. Some residents may grow depressed. Others may suffer due to their increased lack of physical capability.
A nursing home neglect claim can help provide some compensation for your loved one's suffering. Contact an attorney to get a better idea of what compensation your loved one deserves for the pain and suffering he faced at the hands of nursing home staff.
Bronx Nursing Home Negligence FAQ
After seeing that a loved one suffered abuse in a nursing home, you may have a variety of questions about your loved one's legal rights. Below, find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding nursing home negligence in the Bronx.
1. How do I Know My Loved One Has Suffered Negligence in a Bronx Nursing Home?
You may suspect that the nursing home staff has not provided your loved one with the high standard of care he deserves, but how do you know that he has suffered actual negligence? What should you look for when determining nursing home negligence?
Start by looking at your loved one's overall quality of care. Does the nursing home staff appear attentive? Do they respond when he asks for something? How does he act around them? Then, take a look at his standard of living.
If you visit two or three days in a row and notice him wearing the same, dirty outfit each time, for example, it could indicate neglect. You may also suspect neglect if he starts to smell or if you notice signs that he can no longer effectively manage a medical condition he previously had no trouble managing.
You should also start to suspect neglect if:
- Your loved one elopes, or leaves the nursing home, without permission, when he needs regular supervision—a patient with Alzheimer's or dementia who manages to slip out without supervision, for example.
- Your loved one shows signs of malnutrition or dehydration.
- Your loved one suffers more than one serious injury, or your loved one suffers many small injuries.
- Your loved one tells you any stories of neglect, even if they do not seem to line up.
Any time you suspect neglect, even if you do not have concrete evidence, contact an attorney concerning your next steps.
2. What Should I Do If I Suspect My Loved One Has Suffered Neglect in a Bronx Nursing Home?
If you suspect that your loved one has suffered neglect in a nursing home in the Bronx, you need to take immediate action to help protect your loved one from further neglect and ensure that he gets the treatment he needs.
Make sure you:
- Encourage him or her to make an appointment with an outside doctor, or make that appointment yourself. A doctor can look over your loved one's condition and treat any injuries or increased illness resulting from nursing home neglect. A doctor's report can also help assess your loved one's overall treatment, including identifying signs of malnutrition or dehydration that you might not note in a casual examination. Further, the doctor's assessment helps provide vital evidence that can prove nursing home neglect.
- Collect evidence. Take pictures any time your loved one suffers an injury while in the nursing home. Note specific dates and times of any events. For example, if your loved one elopes from the nursing home, make sure you note the date, the time, and how long it takes to locate him again as well as who actually locates him. If you come in to visit and notice your loved one wearing the same clothing, note the date and time, and take a photo so that you can show evidence. The more evidence you have, the easier it may prove to establish nursing home neglect.
- Contact an attorney's team as soon as possible. Ideally, get in touch with a Bronx nursing home negligence attorney as soon as you suspect neglect. An attorney can advise you about your next steps and give you a better idea of what neglect your loved one may have suffered and your family's right to compensation. That can ensure an independent investigation before a coverup can take place.
- Report signs of neglect to a supervisor or senior staff member. Sometimes, overworked nursing home staff may not realize that a resident has suffered neglect if it goes unreported. Report the neglect to someone in power to help decrease the odds that it will occur again in the future. Take care not to report neglect to the staff member directly responsible for your loved one.
- Remove your loved one from the facility, if needed. If you suspect severe neglect, or see signs of increasing illness or increasing problems, you may want to remove your loved one from the nursing home as soon as possible.
3. My Loved One Claimed He or She Suffered Neglect in a Bronx Nursing Home, But We Have Not Seen Any Signs of it. What Should We Do?
Always take allegations of neglect seriously and investigate them as soon as possible. Some patients, especially those with Alzheimer's or dementia, might mistakenly report neglect where none has occurred.
For example, a loved one with Alzheimer's might tell you that he or she has not eaten for three days, or that the nursing staff “never bring breakfast.”
Further investigation might reveal that they always receive meals on time, and have simply forgotten that they received them that day. Ignoring those allegations, however, could result in further neglect, which could cause more serious symptoms and problems.
4. My Mom Suffered a Broken Hip in a Slip and Fall Due to Negligence at Her Bronx Nursing Home. She Cannot Go Back There Due to Her Increased Need for Care. How Much Help Can We Expect Paying for a New Nursing Home?
If your loved one must move into a nursing home that offers a higher standard of care, including more medical assistance or further patient monitoring, due to negligence in a past nursing home, you can include compensation for additional expenses as part of the nursing home negligence claim you file against that nursing home.
You should keep in mind, however, that the nursing home's insurance policy may limit the compensation your loved one can receive due to negligence, and that additional payment may not continue indefinitely. You should also not expect the nursing home negligence lawsuit to pay for an ongoing stay in a much higher-quality nursing home than the one you initially chose.
Consult a Bronx attorney to learn more about how those limitations may apply to your loved one's claim.
5. What Right to Compensation do I Have If My Loved One Died Because of Negligence in a Bronx Nursing Home?
If your loved one dies due to the negligence of a nursing home, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim.
In general, you have grounds for a wrongful death claim if:
- Your loved one would have had the right to a nursing home negligence claim, had he lived.
- You have a direct relationship to the deceased.
Generally, the deceased's spouse has the first right to file a wrongful death claim. Next, the deceased's surviving children have the right to file a claim. In some cases, if no other family members have the right to a claim, the deceased's estate may file a wrongful death claim.
Typically, the compensation issued in a wrongful death claim includes:
- Compensation for the deceased's pain and suffering. Many seniors face substantial suffering in a nursing home because of the negligence of nursing home staff. Even after identifying negligence, your loved one may go through significant suffering while trying to regain strength.
- Compensation for any medical expenses suffered by the deceased before his death. Your loved one does not have to die of neglect in the nursing home itself for you to file a wrongful death claim. Any time your loved one dies because of negligence, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim. That claim can help compensate your family for any medical expenses faced before the loss of your loved one.
- Compensation for your loss. Losing a family member can create a gaping hole in your life. While a family member in a nursing home may not provide financially for the family, you may rely heavily on your loved one's advice and support. A wrongful death claim cannot bring your family member back, but it can provide some financial compensation for your loss.
6. How long does It Take to Settle Bronx Nursing Home Negligence Claims?
It can take time to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for the losses your loved one suffered. An attorney can provide you with a better picture of the timeline associated with filing and receiving compensation for a claim.
You may need to factor in:
- Time to understand exactly what medical ramifications your loved one may face due to neglect. Some seniors bounce back relatively quickly once they receive normal care. Others, however, may have ongoing medical challenges as a result of neglect or poor care.
- Rounds of negotiation. Sometimes, the insurance company that covers a nursing home will require you to go through several rounds of negotiation to reach an agreement that works for both you and the insurance company. Each round of negotiation can add to the time needed to settle the claim.
- Mediation and/or court. If you have to take your loved one's nursing home neglect claim to court, it can extend the time needed to reach a settlement agreement.
7. What Happens If My Loved One Dies Before We Reach a Settlement Agreement in a Bronx Nursing Home Negligence Claim?
If your loved one dies while negotiating a settlement for a nursing home neglect claim, you may need to transition to a wrongful death claim for your family to seek the compensation needed for your loved one's losses. You can move forward with a claim even if your loved one passes away.
8. Who Pays My Loved One's Medical Bills Following Bronx Nursing Home Negligence?
Your loved one will need to make arrangements to handle the medical bills associated with nursing home negligence claims just like he would for any other medical bills.
You do, however, have some options that can make it easier to manage those medical bills.
- Use your loved one's insurance. Insurance can help provide vital assistance paying for many medical expenses. Your loved one's insurance will likely, for example, cover many of the expenses associated with previously diagnosed conditions. You should also provide your loved one's medical insurance information if there is a need to visit the emergency room due to negligence on the part of the nursing home staff.
- Get compensation through a nursing home negligence claim. A nursing home negligence claim can help provide compensation for medical expenses your loved one faces because of that negligence. Thanks to that compensation, your loved one can receive the care he needs.
In some cases, the nursing home may make arrangements to take care of medical expenses directly: providing care through a doctor employed at the nursing home, for example. In other cases, you may need to make arrangements for care on your own. Talk to an attorney about the best way to manage your loved one's medical care following any case of negligence.
9. Do I Need an Attorney to Manage a Bronx Nursing Home Negligence Claim?
Yes. It's extremely valuable to have a Bronx attorney on your side when managing any nursing home negligence claim.
An attorney can:
- Help collect evidence of negligence or abuse. Sometimes, it can prove difficult to collect evidence of negligence. While abuse may leave clear marks on your loved one, negligence may not prove so obvious. An attorney can help collect much-needed evidence.
- Provide you with an assessment of your loved one's rights. By working with an attorney, you can ensure that you fully understand how much compensation your loved one deserves and how to manage your claim.
- Negotiate for your family. Your family may already have more than enough to deal with, especially as you manage your loved one's medical needs. An attorney can help manage the legal aspects of the case so that you can focus on helping your loved one recover as much as possible.
10. How Much Time does My Loved one Have to File a Negligence Lawsuit?
A civil lawsuit represents your loved one's best opportunity to obtain financial compensation for the abuse or neglect they experienced. As is the case with any civil lawsuit, there is a time limit that comes with filing an abuse case. This deadline is commonly known as the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations can vary based on the type of lawsuit filed. The statute of limitations for nursing abuse claims in the Bronx is generally governed by CVP § 214(5). This statute is directed at privately-owned facilities. When abuse occurs in government-owned nursing homes, the amount of time to file a lawsuit could be much shorter.
Our firm could evaluate your loved one's abuse case and advise them on how much time they have to file suit.
For privately owned nursing homes, lawsuits related to abuse or neglect have a three-year statutory period. That means your loved one has three years from the date of their abuse to file a lawsuit. Should they fail to do so prior to the expiration of the statute, they could miss out on any financial recovery.
Did Your Loved One Suffer Negligence in a Bronx Nursing Home?
Nursing home abuse can take a terrible toll on elderly residents who want little more than to live out their golden years in peace. Negligence and abuse can bring that peace to an end while placing the resident in danger of both physical and emotional trauma.
It can be possible to hold an abuser (or the facility that allowed the abuse to take place) accountable through the civil justice system. By pursuing a personal injury case, your loved one could recover monetary damages and secure a measure of justice for how they were treated.
If your loved one suffered negligence in a nursing home in the Bronx, a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney coould help. Contact Dolman Law Group today for a free consultation.
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