Nursing homes have a duty to care for people who are too ill to live independently and who require more care than their family members can provide for them at home. No one expects patients in nursing homes to make a miraculous recovery, but the nurses and other staff members at nursing homes have the task of preserving nursing home residents’ health as much as possible. When nursing home residents’ health gets worse, it could just be a consequence of their old age or chronic illness, or it could be because of negligence or errors on the part of the people who were tasked to care for the patients and trained in how to take care of them. A North Dakota personal injury attorney like Tatum O’Brien, Tim O’Keeffe or Sara Monson can help you determine whether negligence played a role in the injury or illness of your relative who is in a nursing home.
What are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Many instances of neglect in nursing homes stem from the fact that the nursing homes are understaffed. Therefore, the nurses simply do not have time to spend sterilizing equipment to prevent infections, feeding patients, and generally looking after patients’ well-being and guarding against accidents and dangerous situations. Here are some common signs of nursing home neglect.
- Pressure Ulcers: Also known as bedsores, these types of injuries can happen when a bedridden patient is left in the same position for too long. They are especially dangerous because they can become infected.
- Nosocomial Infections: Nosocomial infections are infections that are widespread in hospitals and similar institutions but uncommon among healthy, non-institutionalized people. An example is MRSA, a skin infection that is difficult to treat with antibiotics. Adequate infection control procedures are especially important for preventing nosocomial infections.
- Broken Bones: Osteoporosis is a common condition in elderly people in nursing homes; it is characterized by bones that are fragile enough to break with much less trauma than would be required to break a healthy person’s bones. Falls are a common cause of bone fractures in people with osteoporosis, even when these falls would only cause minor bruises to a healthy person. Common fracture sites are the wrist and hip. Failure to observe proper fall prevention measures can amount to nursing home neglect.
Failure to Seek Medical Attention
Some cases of nursing home neglect involve nursing home staff failing to call a physician or take a patient to a hospital in a timely manner. If the patient’s prognosis would have been better had he or she received treatment sooner, it could be a case of nursing home neglect. In some cases, though, this is grounds for a wrongful death or medical malpractice lawsuit.
Contact O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys Today
Personal injury cases in Fargo, including those involving nursing home neglect, require the skills of an experienced attorney. Contact O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys in Fargo, North Dakota to discuss your case or call 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002.