Nursing Home Negligence or Injury: Who Is Responsible?
The decision to place an elderly loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility is one that most families do not take lightly. They do so to make sure that their loved one receives proper medical care and attention. They also do it to protect their loved ones from the harmful effects of deteriorating mental or physical conditions. When you entrust the care of your loved one to a nursing home, you expect that they will receive quality care, their needs will be met, and they will be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, elderly people may suffer neglect or abuse while in a long-term care facility. When this happens, it is critical to determine who is responsible.
Is the Nursing Home Responsible for What Happened?
Nursing homes provide medical treatment, food, hygiene, and shelter to their residents. The dependence of nursing home residents on their caregivers means that nursing homes have a legal duty to their residents. They must provide a level of care to every resident that is reasonable based on nursing home industry standards, and the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act. If a resident suffers injury or abuse, the nursing home may be held responsible, especially if the abuse occurred due to:
- Negligent hiring and retention of nursing home staff. This can include the failure to perform background checks and verify qualifications
- Negligent training of staff members
- Negligent maintenance of equipment (wheelchairs, walkers, and other instruments)
- Failure to monitor staff members
- Intentional abuse of a resident by staff members
- Unnecessary or harmful physical restraint
- Failure to provide food, water, and other necessities
- Failure to provide medication or proper medical attention
- Exposure to safety and health hazards
- Failure to provide adequate security
If the facility or any of the facility’s employees’ negligent actions caused your loved one harm, then you may be eligible to pursue legal action to remedy the situation. The nursing home contractually agreed to provide care for your loved one. If the nursing home staff failed to uphold their duty, the facility may be liable for injuries and illnesses that your loved one suffered. You have every right to hold them accountable.
Who Is Responsible
Abuse and neglect can occur in a number of ways. In a nursing home setting, your loved one will interact with staff members, other residents, and visitors. If your loved one suffered neglect or abuse while in the care of the nursing home, it is necessary to determine exactly who is responsible. This may include:
- Nurses and Caregivers :- These individuals are tasked with providing residents medical attention, dietary assistance, help with hygiene, and general care. They provide a critical service to the elderly patients in their care. All staff members must behave responsibly and professionally at all times. If they neglect to fulfill their duties or if they intentionally harm a resident, the caregiver and their employer may be held accountable.
- Maintenance Staff :- Nursing home facilities require constant maintenance and upkeep. The maintenance staff has a responsibility to keep the premises free of potential hazards that could cause harm. This means cleaning up spills to prevent slip-and-fall accidents. They need to keep hallways, stairways, and walkways free of debris. They should ensure that residents are not exposed to any unnecessary hazards while on the nursing home’s property.
- Other Residents :- Your loved one will likely have frequent interaction with other residents of the facility. This sense of community is a notable benefit of elder care facilities. Unfortunately, reckless or intentionally harmful actions by another resident can cause severe harm. Nursing home staff need to monitor residents at all times to protect vulnerable residents from harm by other residents. Unfortunately, they may fail in this duty.
- Visiting Family Members :- Visitors to the facility need to be monitored at all times and should not be allowed to cause residents harm. You have a right to expect that the nursing home staff will monitor visitors to the premises appropriately.
What Action Can Be Taken?
If your loved one has suffered neglect, abuse, or exploitation in a nursing home, there are three main types of recourse that you can take. The first is requesting a thorough investigation from an adult protective services agency. Kentucky’s adult consultative services branch can be reached through the state website. The second is contacting the authorities and pressing criminal charges against the responsible party. The third is civil action through an abuse or neglect lawsuit. This action is taken to remedy the situation and recover damages for injuries as well as the unnecessary pain and suffering.
In the case of nursing home abuse, you might pursue a civil action against:
- The individual responsible for the abuse or neglect.
- The owner of the facility for its negligent hiring and training practices, failure to provide a safe environment, or failure to ensure that it’s care met reasonable industry standards.
- A vendor that supplies staff or services to the nursing home if the vendor may be liable for neglect or abuse.
By filing a lawsuit against the parties responsible, you may be able to recover financial compensation for the suffering your loved one endured. By taking this action and holding every liable party responsible, you may be able to effect real change and prevent this type of treatment from happening to other nursing home residents. You are not only protecting your family and doing the right thing for them, but you may be helping other families avoid additional suffering as well.
Get the Help You Need
The attorneys at Becker Law Office will not stand for abuse or neglect in our country’s nursing home facilities. For years, we have stood up for families in Kentucky and we have helped put a stop to the mistreatment of the elderly in our community. If your loved one has suffered abuse, neglect, or exploitation in a facility that you trusted to care for them, we are here to help your family and all of the families who have been victimized seek justice. Don’t wait another minute longer to talk with a knowledgeable attorney if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect. Contact a Kentucky nursing home abuse lawyer by filling out a contact form on our site, chatting with us live 24/7, or by calling us at (888) 517-2321 today.