What is Nursing Home Negligence, and How to Prove It?

Nursing home negligence is a serious and widespread problem that affects the health, safety, and dignity of many elderly and vulnerable people in Pennsylvania. Nursing home negligence occurs when a facility or its staff fails to provide adequate care and services to its residents, resulting in physical, emotional, or financial harm. Nursing home negligence can also be a form of elder abuse, which is a criminal offense in Pennsylvania.

A 2022 audit report by the OIG suggests that Pennsylvania nursing homes participating in Medicare or Medicaid programs need additional oversight to comply better with Federal requirements for life safety, emergency preparedness, and infection control. All 20 nursing homes that were audited had deficiencies related to life safety, emergency preparedness, or infection control, totaling 586 deficiencies. The report states that the health and safety of residents, staff, and visitors are at an increased risk due to these deficiencies.

If you or your loved one has suffered from nursing home negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses. However, proving nursing home negligence can be challenging and complex, as it involves various legal and medical issues. That’s why you need the help of a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer who can guide you through the process and protect your rights.

In this blog post, we will explain what nursing home negligence is, what causes it, what signs to look for, how to prove it, and how to seek legal help. We hope that this information will help you understand your options and take action if you suspect nursing home negligence.

Causes and Signs of Nursing Home Negligence

Nursing home negligence can have many causes, but some of the most common ones are:

  1. Understaffing: Many nursing home facilities do not have enough staff to meet the needs and demands of their residents. This can lead to inadequate supervision, delayed response, missed medication, and errors in care.
  2. Inadequate training: Some nursing home staff lack the proper training and qualifications to provide quality care and services to their residents. This can result in poor communication, lack of empathy, and incompetence in handling complex or emergencies.
  3. Poor supervision: Some nursing home facilities do not have effective policies and procedures to monitor and evaluate the performance and conduct of their staff. This can result in low standards, negligence, and abuse.
  4. Cost-cutting: Some nursing home facilities try to save money by cutting corners on the quality and quantity of care and services they provide to their residents. This can result in insufficient supplies, equipment, food, and activities.

Nursing home negligence can manifest in many ways, but some of the most common signs are:

  1. Physical injuries: These include bruises, cuts, fractures, burns, falls, and pressure ulcers (also known as bedsores). These injuries can indicate that the resident has been physically abused, neglected, or mishandled by the staff or other residents.
  2. Infections: These include urinary tract infections, pneumonia, sepsis, and COVID-19. These infections can indicate that the resident has been exposed to unsanitary conditions, poor hygiene, or inadequate infection control measures.
  3. Malnutrition and dehydration: These include weight loss, muscle weakness, dry skin, and fatigue. These conditions can indicate that the resident has not been receiving enough food, water, or nutrients to maintain their health and well-being.
  4. Psychological distress: These include depression, anxiety, agitation, confusion, and isolation. These symptoms can indicate that the resident has been emotionally abused, neglected, or isolated by the staff or other residents.
  5. Financial exploitation: This includes unauthorized or improper use of the resident’s money, property, or personal information. This can indicate that the resident has been financially abused or defrauded by the staff or other residents.

If you notice any of these signs of nursing home negligence, you should act immediately to protect the resident and document the evidence. You should also report the situation to the appropriate authorities, such as the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, or the local police.

How to Prove Nursing Home Negligence

To prove nursing home negligence, you need to establish four legal elements:

  • Duty: You need to show that the nursing home facility or its staff owed a duty of care to the resident. This means that they had a legal obligation to provide reasonable and appropriate care and services to the resident, according to the accepted standards and regulations in the industry.
  • Breach: You need to show that the nursing home facility or its staff breached their duty of care to the resident. This means that they failed to provide reasonable and appropriate care and services to the resident, or that they acted in a way that was negligent, reckless, or intentional.
  • Causation: You need to show that the breach of duty of care caused the resident’s injury or harm. This means that there is a direct and provable link between the nursing home facility’s or staff’s actions or inactions and the resident’s injury or harm.
  • Damages: You need to show that the resident’s injury or harm resulted in damages. This means that the resident suffered physical, emotional, or financial losses as a result of the nursing home facility’s or staff’s negligence.

To prove these elements, you need to gather and present various types of evidence, such as:

  • Medical records: These include the resident’s medical history, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. These records can show the extent and severity of the resident’s injury or harm, and how it affected their health and quality of life.
  • Witness statements: These include the testimonies of the resident, their family members, friends, visitors, and other residents. These statements can provide firsthand accounts of the resident’s condition and care, and how they witnessed or experienced the nursing home facility’s or staff’s negligence.
  • Photographs and videos: These include the images and recordings of the resident’s injury or harm, the nursing home facility’s premises and equipment, and the nursing home staff’s actions or behaviors. These media can provide visual and audio evidence of the nursing home facility’s or staff’s negligence.
  • Expert opinions: These include the opinions of medical, legal, or industry experts who can explain the standards and regulations of nursing home care, and how the nursing home facility or staff violated or failed to meet them. These opinions can provide professional and authoritative evidence of the nursing home facility’s or staff’s negligence.

However, proving nursing home negligence can also face some challenges and defenses, such as:

  • Contributory negligence: This is a defense that argues that the resident or their family members contributed to or caused the resident’s injury or harm, by failing to follow the nursing home facility’s or staff’s instructions, by withholding or providing false information, or by acting in a way that was negligent, reckless, or intentional.
  • Statute of limitations: This is a defense that argues that the resident or their family members waited too long to file a nursing home negligence claim and that the legal deadline has expired. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the injury or harm, or from the date that the injury or harm was discovered or should have been discovered.
  • Immunity: This is a defense that argues that the nursing home facility or its staff are immune from liability, because they acted in good faith, by the law, or in compliance with a government contract or program.

These challenges and defenses can make it complicated to prove nursing home negligence and to obtain fair and adequate compensation for the resident’s injury or harm. That’s why you need the help of a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer who can overcome these obstacles and protect your rights.

How to Seek Legal Help for Nursing Home Negligence

If you or a loved one has suffered from nursing home negligence, we are here to help you at RG Injury Law. Our proven track record of success in handling such cases has allowed us to secure millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. As the leading personal injury law firm in Pennsylvania, we specialize in nursing home negligence cases. We will:

  • Listen to your story and understand your situation
  • Review your case and evaluate your options
  • Investigate your case and collect evidence
  • Negotiate with the nursing home facility and its insurance company
  • File a lawsuit and represent you in court
  • Seek the maximum compensation for your injury or harm

You can count on us to treat you with respect and compassion while we fight for your justice and compensation. Don’t hesitate any longer, schedule your free consultation today by calling us at (717) 656-5000 or visiting our website at https://www.rginjurylaw.com/. You deserve the best legal representation possible, and we are here to provide it for you.

 

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