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Cheyenne Personal Injury Law Blog

What to do with evidence of nursing home negligence

Perhaps you are like many other adult children in Wyoming who visit their aging parents in nursing homes as often as possible. Whether that, in your case, is once a month or several times a week, you no doubt worry about your loved one when you are away. While most caretakers provide high quality care according to state and federal laws and accepted safety standards, nursing home negligence still causes thousands of people illness and injury in this state and throughout the country every year.

Maybe you first suspected that your mother or father was being mistreated when you arrived for a visit and found him or her alone in a hallway, even though you know his or her medical records clearly state that supervision is needed at all times. When you talk to your loved one on the phone, does he or she sound especially agitated or worried? Did you inquire about a bump or bruise you noticed on your loved one and were not satisfied with the explanation you were given?

Nursing home negligence: Understanding patient rights

There are a multitude of individuals in Wyoming and elsewhere who reside in a care facility, some of whom might require frequent monitoring and assistance. When a nursing home resident does not receive the necessary standard of care, his or her health may be placed at significant risk in the process. Individuals or families with loved ones who reside in a care facility may find it helpful to understand the rights afforded to patients and the next steps to take should nursing home negligence leave a person with serious injuries, or worse.

There are a variety of laws in place to protect the well-being of nursing home residents. For instance, federal law prohibits care facilities and staff members from subjecting patients to discrimination. Such facilities are also required to treat all patients with respect and to protect them against any form of abuse, emotional and physical alike.

Nursing home negligence: When state inspections reveal problems

If Wyoming state inspectors assess the state of a particular nursing home, administrators should have nothing to worry about if the facility is doing its job and is adhering to all state laws and accepted safety standards. Sadly, nursing home negligence is problematic in this state and others. When substandard care is being provided, state inspections might not go so well.

A recent string of inspections in another state revealed several problem issues in a particular facility. The nursing home was cited for having dirty floors and failing to maintain a sanitary, comfortable environment for residents. Inspectors also found that several urinals at the facility were not cleaned in a timely manner. 

How many Wyoming facilities affected by nursing home negligence?

There are many nursing homes in Wyoming. Residents in some facilities are elderly people who can no longer live independently due to mental or physical decline. Others may be living in nursing homes on a temporary basis, perhaps recovering from surgery and in need of short-term, rehabilitative care. While most care providers adhere to protocol and act in accordance with the highest level of accepted safety standards, there are also some workers who place residents at risk for nursing home negligence injuries.

There is no excuse for substandard care in an assisted living facility. It does not matter if a particular center is short-staffed or if workers feel overworked. It also does not matter that some residents may be difficult to care for because of special needs such as dementia or simply because they are ornery. None of these issues makes it okay to mistreat those who have entrusted their care to licensed professional care providers.

Nursing home negligence: Investigation prompted by woman's death

Wyoming residents with family members who live in nursing homes may want to follow a case pending in another state. Patient safety is a top priority and loved ones often worry whether their elderly family members are receiving quality care in facilities in this state and across the country. One family is concerned that nursing home negligence may have caused their elderly loved one's death.

The 90-year-old woman, who had Alzheimer's disease, was found dead on a bench outside the nursing home where she lived. Such news would be troubling enough for a family; yet, the woman's loved ones became further disturbed as they learned the details of the events that led to the startling discovery. The special needs patient had reportedly been involved in an argument with a nursing home employee not long before she died.

Nursing home negligence: What to do if the unthinkable happens

No Wyoming nursing home patient should ever suffer injury or illness because a licensed caregiver fails in his or her fiduciary duty to keep the patient safe. State laws, industry protocol and standards of care help protect patients by governing the performance of those who work in nursing homes. When nursing home negligence occurs, it is especially tragic because such incidents are typically preventable.

Do you know how to recognize signs of possible neglect or abuse when you visit your loved one in a nursing home? If you notice anything that doesn't seem right, such as foul odors from soiled bed sheets, bruises or other marks on your loved one's body, or a change in attitude or demeanor that suggests he or she is stressed or afraid, it warrants further investigation. If you're not satisfied with the explanations you are given by workers, administrators or your family member, it is a good idea to trust your instincts and investigate further.

Nursing home negligence: Issues that warrant investigation

When a loved one resides in a Wyoming nursing home, it is important to regularly review his or her circumstances to make sure needs are being met and high quality care provided. If something does not seem quite right, it is always best to further investigate the situation. Sadly, many patients suffer serious illness or injury every year from nursing home negligence, and even fatalities have occurred.

Patients suffering cognitive decline are at great risk for negligence and abuse. This is due, in part, to the fact that they are not always aware of their surroundings or coherent enough to file a complaint if they are mistreated. Any sign of neglect or abuse is reason enough to ask questions of administrators.

Decedent's family says nursing home negligence was cause of death

When a person resides in a Wyoming nursing and rehabilitation facility, he or she may be staying there permanently or on a temporary basis. If a particular resident has moved into a nursing home at age 80 or beyond, it is likely that he or she was simply unable to continue living an independent lifestyle due to factors associated with the aging process. Many elderly people experience adverse health conditions, including those that impair physical and mental capabilities. What might not be (and should not be) expected, however, is that nursing home negligence might occur to worsen a person's condition or place his or her life at risk.

A family whose 84-year-old loved one was living in a nursing home in another state has filed a legal claim citing such issues. They have filed a wrongful death lawsuit after their family member resided at the facility for nearly a month. Sadly, he died not long after being transferred to a hospital, and the family's legal claim states that nursing negligence caused his death.

Nursing home in another state sued for negligence

A nursing home two states away is accused of failing to properly take care of a patient, resulting in her death. The victim's surviving family members have filed claims against the facility and specific staff members whose alleged negligence contributed to her demise. Those in Wyoming who are going through similar trials as this family may be entitled to take the same action.

According to reports, on March 18, 2019, a 58-year-old woman fell in the bathroom when she attempted to go alone after staff members at the Hillcrest Health Care Center failed to respond when she pushed her call light. As a result of that fall, she fractured two vertebrae. These fractures went undiagnosed for weeks, however, because her medical providers supposedly failed to run proper testing and instead gave her pain pills and prescribed physical therapy.

Do you have grounds for a nursing home negligence claim?

As loved ones age, they may find it difficult or impossible to keep living in an independent environment. Many people in Wyoming and elsewhere qualify for assisted living. Once an elderly parent transitions to life in a fully-assisted living facility, his or her adult children may worry about nursing home negligence.

It is definitely not an irrational fear. Sadly, hundreds, if not thousands of people suffer illness or injury every year because of licensed care providers' negligence. In worst cases, such injuries may be fatal. Not every nursing home resident who has suffered damages because of worker negligence is elderly. Many patients were merely in transition care, perhaps recovering after surgery or a car accident, and needed to stay in a nursing facility until they could return to their own homes.