In the Bluegrass State, nursing home owners have a moral and legal responsibility to take care of their residents. Vulnerable older people need special protection from harm. Furthermore, according to Kentucky law, nursing home residents are invitees. They have specific permission to be on the property, and their presence benefits the owner financially. Therefore, in terms of resident safety, owners have a very high level of responsibility.
As a result, if owners do not fulfil this responsibility, a Lexington personal injury attorney can usually obtain substantial compensation for victims. These damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Perhaps more importantly, legal actions force nursing home owners to take their safety responsibilities seriously.
It’s hard to believe that malnutrition is a problem in Kentucky nursing homes. But it happens, and it happens frequently.
As people get older, their senses often degrade. They no longer feel hungry. Moreover, food no longer looks, smells, or tastes good. As a result, these people often don’t eat. Nursing homes should have dieticians or other staffers who circulate among tables and ensure that residents eat. Unfortunately, mostly because of cost concerns, this oversight is usually missing.
Typically, mild malnutrition is not in and of itself dangerous. But mild malnutrition makes people more vulnerable to some of the other injuries on this list. Malnutrition also makes injury or illness recovery much more difficult.
Statically, falls send most people to nursing homes. Also statistically, most residents fall at the long-term care facilities. Subsequent falls usually have serious physical and emotional consequences, particularly if the victim has a pre-existing condition.
Physically, falls usually cause head injuries and broken bones. Among older people, such injuries are normally permanent. Emotionally, many repeat fallers are so afraid of falling against that they essentially become prisoners in their own rooms.
Property negligence usually contributes directly to resident falls. For example, many nursing homes are almost constantly under construction. It’s easy for residents to wander into dangerous areas, especially if no one is watching them.
Pressure ulcers are perhaps the classic nursing home negligence injuries. A lack of care is almost always the sole cause of these injuries.
If people turn over in bed at least once every two hours, bedsores are not a problem. After about two hours, pressure ulcers begin forming, especially on the knees, thighs, ankles, and other bony parts of the body.
Early stage bedsores are usually not a problem either. If the victim shifts positions, the bedsores usually go away on their own. But if nothing happens, these injuries quickly become serious and even life-threatening.
Here’s where nursing home negligence comes in. Many residents cannot shift positions themselves. They rely exclusively on nursing home staff in this area. Again mostly for financial reasons, some facilities do not do regular staff rounds, especially on holidays and other low-census times. Other facilities hire under-qualified individuals who cannot spot early stage bedsores and effectively intervene.
These injuries are one of the fastest-growing kinds of negligent injuries. Once again, they are almost always tied to understaffing concerns.
Nursing home wandering, which was touched on above, is one common scenario. Many residents wander aimlessly. Sometimes, these sojurns lead them to other residents’ rooms. Most nursing home residents are very protective of their privacy, so they are not happy when people drop in unannounced.
Inadequate supervision in common areas is another scenario. Essentially, many older adults are like young children. Squabbles often break out over something like a preferred table in the dining hall.
In both situations, staffers in the halls or in common areas could prevent problems before they start. But in understaffed environments, such roving “hall monitors” are usually the first positions to go.
Many older adults are so physically frail that a tiny bit of force, like a mild push, could cause a fall or another serious injury.
In the COVID-19 era, sanitation is more important than ever. Over a third of all coronavirus deaths in the United States have occurred in nursing homes. And, COVID-19 is just the latest in a series of deadly infectious diseases which have swept across parts of, or most of, the world. More of these infections are sure to follow.
Now that the worst of this crisis has passed, many nursing homes might relax sanitation, masking, visitation, social distancing, and other safety measures. However, nursing homes still have a duty to keep residents safe. Given their extreme vulnerability, nursing homes should arguably abide by a higher standard of care in this area.
Negligence is a serious issue at area nursing homes. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC.After-hours and virtual visits are available. #goodelawyers