Nursing homes are necessary and important to the healthcare needs of the elderly. When a loved one is in a nursing home, it is critical that you can trust that they are being well cared for. Although most nursing homes provide a safe and positive environment for their patients, things are not always as they seem. Nursing homes must turn a profit for their owners, and negligence is often a byproduct of cutting costs. Sometimes, cost-cutting results in negligent hiring or poor training and can even result in intentional abuse of patients. Sadly, patients can be reluctant to report incidents of abuse and neglect out of fear or embarrassment, or sheer inability to communicate, so families of patients should stay vigilant.
If a nursing home has injured a patient, whether directly or as a result of negligence, it can be held liable for damages. To prove negligence, a victim or their family must demonstrate that: (1) the nursing home breached a duty of care; (2) the patient’s injury was caused by that breach; and (3) the injury was caused by the nursing home or someone employed there. An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in New Jersey can locate the right medical experts that can testify about proper treatment or practice in a given situation. Not all cases require expert testimony. In some situations, the abuse or neglect is so obvious that it would be apparent to a judge without the need for expert testimony. However, certain cases, such as those involving medication error or medical malpractice, will likely benefit from the testimony of a knowledgeable expert.
Some of the more common situations in nursing home abuse cases include the following:
Breach of Statutory or Regulatory Rights. In many states, there are statutes or regulations that establish the minimum standard of care a nursing home must provide. An experienced lawyer can help determine whether the nursing home responsible for a resident’s injuries breached one of these rules. Even if they did not break any law or breach any rules, they can still be held liable for damages in many situations.
Inadequate Training. Nursing home staff should be thoroughly and adequately trained. Not only should they be trained at the start of their employment, but training should be regular and ongoing to keep employees up to date on all the latest safety regulations.
Medication Errors. A medication error is a mistake that occurs while preparing or administering medicine. In most nursing homes, medication is administered when a staff member or nurse completes a “med pass,” the dispensing of medication to a patient as ordered by the physician. In certain states, unlicensed nursing staff members are permitted to administer the medication. Common mistakes include crushing or cutting pills that should not be cut, inadequate fluids or food with medication or antacids, failure to properly mix meds, improper administration of eye drops, improper administration of medications to be used with enteral nutritional formulas (ENFs), improper use of inhalers, and allowing patients to swallow sublingual tablets.
Negligent Hiring. More than 90 percent of nursing homes employ at least one individual with a criminal conviction. Sometimes, nursing homes cut corners when hiring in order to reduce costs. Negligent hiring can lead to patient abuse or theft of patient’s property.
Third-Party Responsibility. Over 4 million elderly people are victimized by psychological or physical abuse or neglect every year. In some cases, nursing home staff members, outside contractors, food vendors, or manufacturers of medical equipment and supplies may be held liable instead of or in addition to the nursing home.
Understaffing. Many nursing homes are severely understaffed, which can result in neglect and other problems, such as medication errors, bedsores, abnormal patient weight loss, or intentional abuse due.
If you or a family member residing in a nursing home has been injured, and you suspect that abuse, negligence, or malpractice may be to blame, contact an experienced New Jersey nursing home abuse lawyer at Davis & Brusca, LLC today at 609-786-2640 or contact us online.