Fairfield Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

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If a loved one was mistreated, injured, abused, or even killed at a nursing home or assisted living facility, you are probably shocked, angry, upset, or confused.  You may be wondering what comes next.  You may feel a bit apprehensive about looking for a Fairfield nursing home abuse lawyer.  These are all normal reactions.

This article breaks down all aspects of nursing home abuse, neglect, and mistreatment cases.  This article explains the many forms of nursing home abuse that can occur and what your legal options are as a victim or victim’s family member.  Whether you’re looking for basic information, or are in the process of looking for a personal injury lawyer in Fairfield, this article has you covered.

 

When to Consider a Fairfield Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Nursing home abuse occurs when a nursing home facility fails to prevent avoidable injuries to its residents. People seek out nursing homes for skilled care and attention. These people are usually elderly, frail, and vulnerable. The nursing home, its management, and its staff, therefore, must treat its residents with the utmost care and compassion.

Yet many nursing home facilities and their parent corporations view long-term care facilities as profit centers. Thus, there is a conflict at the heart of the nursing home industry. The residents need high levels of care, but nursing home corporations want to cut costs and turn a profit. 

Typical System Failures At Nursing Homes

When corporations focus on profits over patient safety, the consequences are disastrous and sad. Some of the common cost-cutting tactics that put nursing home residents at risk are:

  1. Inadequate staffing
  2. Unqualified nursing home staff
  3. High turnover of staff without proper employee screening
  4. Unsupervised staff
  5. Inadequate food budgets
  6. Lack of supplies
  7. Substandard equipment and devices
  8. Violation of healthcare rules

When facilities cut corners, they create highly dangerous conditions that often result in nursing home neglect and abuse.

Common Examples of Nursing Home Neglect, Injury, and Abuse

Bed Sores

Bed sores, also known as “pressure ulcers,” “pressure sores,”” pressure wounds,” or “pressure injuries,” are skin lesions caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin. When an elderly person is not turned and moved regularly, the pressure of a bed or wheelchair restricts blood flow and damages the skin tissue.

Compressed body tissue between a victim’s bone and the bed or wheelchair deprives that tissue of oxygen and nutrients, causing skin loss, tissue loss, infection, and even death.

The damage of bed sores starts at the soft tissue right below the skin. But the damage can quickly spread down to the muscle or even the bone. The medical term for bed sores is “decubitus ulcer.”

Bed sores are commonly found on the tailbone, hip, elbow, heel, shoulder blade, knee, ankle, back of head, buttocks, abdomen, under breasts, and between folds of flesh. The injuries caused by pressure wounds has been estimated to cost around $11 billion in medical treatment per year.

Proper nutrition, hygiene, and hydration can reduce pressure sores, but most importantly, turning and repositioning the patient can also help. 

Nursing home providers are required under federal law to implement plans to regularly prevent, treat, and heal bed sores.

If your loved one suffered a pressure ulcer or bed sore, you should consider reaching out to a Fairfield nursing home abuse lawyer to find out about your legal options.

Nursing Home Physical And Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse and physical abuse are well-known risks in the nursing home industry. Elderly and vulnerable nursing home patients have a diminished ability to protect themselves from abusive treatment. This could be due to a patient’s dementia, cognitive deficits, or medication side effects.

Physical and sexual abuse is outrageous and intolerable. This is especially true for the elderly, feeble, and vulnerable. The harm caused by physical abuse and sexual abuse is emotionally, psychologically, and physically destabilizing to nursing home patients.

Further, when nursing home residents have diminished abilities to communicate, such as those with dementia, they may not be able to report the abuse or even understand it. Abuse victims typically suffer from PTSD and other emotional disorders.

The federal regulations prohibit such physical and emotional abuse and mandate policies for training and prevention. Physical and sexual assault often occurs when a nursing home gets lazy in its hiring process and fails to run background checks on its staff.

Medication Errors at Nursing Homes

 

Careful medication management is vital to a nursing home resident’s health and safety. The average nursing home resident has 8 different monthly medications.

When providers neglect to carefully document a patient’s medication, fatal consequences can result. Medication errors can occur due to the following:

  1. Missed doses
  2. Mixing up doses
  3. Failing to monitor the resident’s response to dosage changes
  4. Administering smaller or larger doses than required
  5. Administering life-threatening amounts of narcotics (like excessive fentanyl).

Negligently administering medication is not just nursing home negligence, it is also medical malpractice. Federal law requires a nursing home to be free from medication errors.

Nursing Home Resident Escape and Wandering

A common fear among family members of nursing home patients is their loved one escaping or wandering the facilities. This is also called “elopement” in nursing home negligence cases.

Nursing home residents with impaired mental capacity, such as dementia are at a high risk of escaping or wandering.

Nursing home residents are at risk of wandering and escaping if they have a history of exit-seeking and say things like “I’m going home” or “I’m going to my car.” If the resident is highly active but suffers delusions, dementia, or hallucinations, they are an escape risk.

Unsupervised residents with wandering tendencies may become injured by:

  • Wandering into freezing cold or excessively hot weather
  • Wandering off the premises onto public roads
  • Wandering into areas dangerous for falls and burns like kitchens, laundry areas, roofs, or patios.
  • Resident wandering can lead to falls from windows, scalding injuries, drownings, head injuries, and many other serious harms. For that reason, it is crucial that a facility keep at-risk residents in locked units, secure dangerous areas with alarms and keypads, maintain video security, and keep close behavioral logs of such patients.

Dehydration & Malnutrition Caused by Nursing Home Negligence

When a nursing home accepts a resident, they must provide acceptable nutrition and hydration. By law, facilities must ensure adequate body weight and electrolyte balance of their residents.

Owners of nursing homes must not only offer sufficient fluid and nutritional intake, but they must also ensure that the resident consumes food and water. Residents with dementia may forget to eat or drink and may be unable to communicate thirst or hunger.

Facilities engage in nursing home neglect when their staff rushes through feeding rounds and do not ensure that the proper amount of food and water is consumed.

Falls and Drops at Nursing Homes.

Falls and drops are a common and serious problem at nursing homes. Of the 1.6 million nursing home residents, 50% experience at least one fall per year. 

Falls and drops are often caused by:

  1. Poor lighting
  2. Cluttered living space
  3. Uneven floors
  4. Wet areas
  5. Unstable furniture and wheelchairs
  6. Improper footwear

Residents are also at risk of falling due to the effect of aging on gait, decreased balance and strength, and medical side effects like dizziness. For these reasons, nursing homes must have adequate planning to prevent avoidable falls.

How a Fairfield Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Hold Wrongdoers Accountable

If your loved one suffered personal injury at a nursing home, you may have a claim for nursing home abuse or nursing home negligence. If your loved one was harmed due to the carelessness of the nursing home’s staff members, you may have a right to pursue compensation.

A Connecticut nursing home neglect lawyer will begin to investigate your case by looking at:

  • Medical records
  • State investigation reports
  • Incident reports
  • Personnel files of employees
  • The injured person’s assessment and plan
  • Nurse’s progress notes

There might be multiple wrongdoers that a nursing home abuse lawyer can hold accountable for your loved one’s injuries. Potential wrongdoers in nursing home abuse cases are:

  1. The licensed operator of the nursing home
  2. The owner of the property
  3. Parent companies of the nursing home (if part of a larger system of facilities)
  4. Management companies
  5. Outside services (physical therapy providers, laboratories, dietary providers)
  6. Doctors and nurses

Proving Nursing Home Abuse In Court

Nursing home abuse lawyers may sue the nursing home under two different theories.

Vicarious Liability v. Negligent Hiring

If the nursing home’s employee caused your loved one personal injuries while acting within the scope of their employment, the nursing home can be found liable under a “vicarious liability” theory. For example, if a nurse failed to reposition your loved one, causing her a pressure sore, then the nursing home is automatically liable for that negligent failure.

On the other hand, if your family member was physically abused or sexually abused, Connecticut nursing homes can still be held liable if they negligently failed to run a background check on the abuser. This is called “negligent hiring.” 

When a family member suffers personal injury because the nursing home inadequately screened, trained, or supervised the abusive staff member, you have a legal right to sue the facility directly for nursing home abuse.

Damages a Fairfield Nursing Home Abuse Law Firm Can Seek

A Connecticut nursing home abuse lawyer can help you recover financial compensation on behalf of a loved one. Connecticut law allows injured parties to recover money damages for:

  1. Physical pain and suffering
  2. Emotional abuse and mental suffering
  3. Medical expenses
  4. Future cost of medical treatment

Statute of Limitations for Suing a Nursing Home

The deadline to bring a nursing home case is two years from the date of the injury. Therefore, it is critical you seek out an experience Fairfield nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible to protect your claim.

 

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