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Cheyenne Personal Injury Law Blog

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.

It is important to recognize signs of nursing home negligence

When elderly loved ones need more care than family members can provide, it is common for the family to seek outside help. Often, individuals utilize nursing facilities to ensure that their loved ones receive round-the-clock care and the attention they need to keep their health up. Unfortunately, nursing home negligence can occur, and some individuals may suffer.

If Wyoming residents have loved ones in nursing facilities, they certainly want to understand when those loved ones may be suffering from neglect or abuse. Physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse and even sexual abuse can take place in these trusted facilities, and it can be a shock to family members to learn that their loved ones have been mistreated. At first, it can be difficult to know if wrongdoing has occurred, which is why it is important to recognize the signs.

Government database flags facilities for nursing home negligence

Many elders in Wyoming live in nursing homes. The events that may have led a particular resident to choose this option often vary from patient to patient. However, those residing in such facilities should not have to fear that nursing home negligence will cause them injury, illness, or, in worst cases, death.

A U.S. government website has implemented a database that flags nursing facilities with a warning icon if they have received "severe citations" for abuse, neglect or exploitation. A spokesperson for the federal government said the idea behind the warning flag system is that nursing home companies can compete for highest quality care. The government rep also said that having a facility flagged should serve as incentive to the nursing home in question to come into compliance with the law.

Nursing home negligence likely the cause of man's death

Many Wyoming residents are adult children of parents who currently reside in assisted-living facilities. Some nursing home patients are permanent residents in their facilities, while others stay on a temporary basis, such as during recovery after a serious surgery or accident-related injury. A woman in another state said her 66-year-old father had been doing superbly well after a recent kidney transplant but apparent nursing home negligence turned his successful recovery into tragedy.

The man had a fistula in his forearm due to a dialysis catheter. A care and supervision plan was in place that required nursing home staff members to check on the patient every two hours. This system was being used because there is a known risk of hemorrhage with forearm fistulas.

Is staff shortage a key factor toward nursing home negligence?

Many Wyoming readers know what is like to be overworked. When a company simply does not have enough employees on the payroll to cover all the duties necessary to keep a business functioning properly, the workers that do exist often have to double their workloads. This can lead to extreme fatigue, low morale and other problems; in fact, some say staff shortages and overworked employees are key issues in many nursing home negligence cases.

Providing efficient care to all patients is part of every medical worker's highest priorities. Each patient in a nursing home has unique needs and health history. One medical journal reported a direct connection between nursing workload and patient safety incidents, including mortality.

Why does nursing home negligence occur?

When you entrust the safety and well-being of your loved one to a Wyoming nursing home, you can reasonably expect care providers to offer the highest quality of care. There is no excuse for nursing home negligence. So, why does it happen?

Many people believe that nursing facilities are often understaffed. Fewer employees putting in long hours might spark a fatigue problem among staff members. Being tired, however, is no reason to place patients at risk for injury by disregarding protocol or safety regulations.

Daughter files nursing home negligence claim on mother's behalf

Many adult children in Wyoming assist their aging parents with daily living needs. Especially when a parent has transitioned to a nursing facility, a son or daughter is often on hand to help address any problems that arise. If a parent has been declared incapacitated, such as when suffering from dementia, an adult child or other immediate family member may have grounds to act on the victim's behalf if nursing home negligence occurs.

This basically what is happening in a case from another state. An 88-year-old woman was allegedly attacked by a fellow resident in the nursing home where she resides. Staff members reportedly stopped the assault in action but for some reason did not immediately report it to the proper authorities.