There are many different kinds of nursing home neglect injuries. But they all have some things in common. Understaffing is a good example. As many as 90 percent of the nursing homes in Kentucky are seriously understaffed. This understaffing manifests itself in several different ways. A few of the more common ones are outlined below. Regardless of the specific problem, the bottom line is that understaffing hurts residents.
Nursing home owners are almost entirely responsible for nursing home understaffing. Owners have a legal and ethical responsibility to take care of their patients. Part of that responsibility includes a fully competent staff. If owners are lax in this area, a Lexington personal injury attorney can usually obtain needed compensation for victims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Pressure ulcers are typically only an issue in understaffed environments. Fully-staffed nursing homes have plenty of qualified employees making hourly rounds, even on weekends, holidays, and other low-census periods. But generally, employees don’t make regular rounds during such times. Alternatively, there are not enough people checking on patients or they don’t have the expertise to spot early-stage bedsores.
This area is critical. Early-stage bedsores normally heal by themselves, if the patient turns over in bed thus relieving the pressure. Late-stage bedsores are always serious and often life-threatening. Open sores such as these easily become infected and otherwise get much worse.
Unfortunately, slip-and-fall injuries are often part of the nursing home experience. About two-thirds of long-term care residents fall each year.
Once again, understaffing is often the issue. Mostly because of the rapidly-growing elderly population, construction companies are almost constantly renovating or expanding most area nursing homes. Well-staffed facilities have employees outside construction zones to keep residents from wandering into dangerous areas. Poorly-staffed facilities might have a “Keep Out” sign, at best.
Older people are highly at risk for such falls. Many nursing home residents fall at home or elsewhere, which is why they are in the facility in the first place. A prior fall elevates the risk of a subsequent fall. Prior incidents make fall injuries worse as well.
Lack of food is usually not a problem at nursing homes. The problem is that residents often don’t eat the food available to them. The body’s senses degrade as we get older. So, many residents do not feel hungry at mealtime. Making matters worse, food does not smell, look, or taste good. Therefore, they don’t eat.
Well-staffed facilities have dieticians or other professionals in dining halls who ensure that residents eat what they get. Understaffed facilities only have servers.
Occasionally, malnutrition is a standalone injury. Severe lack of nutritious food has a number of very ill health effects. More commonly, however, malnutrition makes other injuries worse, at least in the nursing home context. The aforementioned bedsores are a good example. Pressure ulcers intensify much faster if the resident’s body is less able to ward off the illness.
In the before times, when nursing home populations were relatively low, resident-on-resident assaults were almost unheard of. Things are much different now. At nursing homes which are often overcrowded, tempers often flare. That’s especially true since, as mentioned above, many residents wander aimlessly. If they wander into another resident’s private space, things could get ugly quickly.
Well-staffed facilities post employees in common areas whose only responsibility is to break up potential fights. Poorly-staffed facilities have no such safeguards. Making matters worse, many long-term care residents are so physically frail that a tiny amount of physical force, like a push or a shove, could cause a serious injury.
Infectious Disease Prevention
The coronavirus pandemic has thrust infectious disease prevention to the forefront. Older people with weaker immune systems are often unable to effectively ward off infectious diseases, like coronavirus and seasonal flu. Basically, older people get sick easier, and their illnesses are much more severe.
The standard of care in this area is quite clear. Facilities must strictly enforce social distancing, masking, sanitation, and other requirements. Many residents and visitors balk at such restrictions. However, nursing home owners cannot use such opposition as an excuse for not doing the right thing.
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. You have a limited amount of time to act. #goodelawyers