Understaffing, an issue which affects over 90 percent of the long-term care facilities in Fayette County, is at the heart of most nursing home negligence claims.
In addition to direct effects, understaffing has some indirect effects. Employee morale is usually low, and turnover is usually high, in understaffed environments. Additionally, many facilities cope with understaffing by hiring less-qualified employees. For example, a nursing home might hire a patient care technician to do a job that a licensed vocational nurse should perform.
All these problems add up to nursing home negligence, which is unintentionally injuring nursing home residents. The most common forms of nursing home abuse are outlined below. A Lexington personal injury attorney might be able to obtain substantial compensation in these cases. That compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
These injuries are the most common, and also the most serious, kind of nursing home neglect injury. Most nursing home residents fall during their stays, and most of these victims cannot live independently ever again.
Nursing home owners have a duty to keep premises reasonably safe for residents. Owners must quickly address issues like wet spots on floors and other fall hazards both inside and outside the facility.
Liability attaches if the owner knew, or should have known, about the hazard. Victim/plaintiffs must establish knowledge by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
Understaffing contributes to falls because, in many cases, the facility does not have staff members that help residents stay away from construction zones and other hazardous areas. Additionally, when residents fall, they might lie helpless for several minutes before assistance arrives.
Understaffing also contributes directly to bedsore development. Pressure ulcers usually develop on bony areas of the body. These injuries are not a problem as long as the person turns over in bed every two hours. But in an understaffed facility, staffers do not always make regular rounds, especially on weekends and other low-census periods. Additionally, instead of three or four people making rounds, there might only be one person. One person might not be enough to turn a resident over in bed.
If these injuries are caught quickly enough, they are relatively easy to treat. But if they fester even for a short time, they quickly become life-threatening.
This injury might seem like an unlikely entry in our top five list. But if the facility is understaffed, malnutrition is all too common.
Many older people have dull senses. Food no longer looks, smells, or tastes good. As a result, these individuals often do not eat. Properly-staffed facilities have dieticians or other staffers who circulate among the tables and ensure that residents are eating. Understaffed facilities do not have such workers.
Malnutrition is dangerous enough in and of itself. This condition also makes some other injuries, such as bedsores, worse.
This form of nursing home neglect is one of the fastest growing kinds of negligence. SInce many residents are physically frail, a tiny bit of force could cause a serious injury.
Understaffing directly contributes to resident-on-resident violence. Nursing home residents tend to wander aimlessly. If they wander into another person’s room, there could be a confrontation. Ideally, the facility should have staffers in the halls to ensure that these incidents do not happen.
Furthermore, many older adults are, emotionally, like young children. Petty squabbles in common areas sometimes become violent. That’s especially true if no one is there to separate the individuals and mediate the dispute.
If there is no one to watch residents, they often stay alone in their rooms for hours at a time. This isolation has both emotional and physical effects. Many nursing home residents are already lonely. Enforced isolation makes them even more depressed. Additionally, isolated residents do not get the medication or attention they need to maintain their physical health.
Nursing home neglect comes in various forms. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these cases.