When is a nursing home liable?
Understaffing – Nursing homes and other long term care facilities are required to maintain an adequate number of caretakers at all times. Nursing home understaffing can lead to improper care, inadequate care, patient or caretaker injuries, and even abuse. Nursing homes and other care facilities can be found negligent if they have maintained an inadequate level of properly trained staff.
Inadequate Training – In a situation similar to understaffing, nursing homes and care facilities can be found negligent or liable for injuries that occur as the result of inadequate training for staff. Specialized training on how to handle disabled, disoriented, immobile, or uncooperative patients are just a few examples of the specialized training required for nursing home staff.
Medication Errors – Most patients in nursing homes or other care facilities require one or more medications to be administered in the proper dosage at the proper time. If a patient is injured by a prescription drug error, the physician, pharmacy, or pharmacist can be held accountable. Similarly, if a patient is injured by an error in administering the medication (missed dosage, multiple dosages) the care facility can be found liable.
Negligent Hiring – Care facilities are required to hire properly educated, trained, and accredited staff. It is incumbent upon the nursing home to properly screen its employees and to verify that all certifications, training, and education have been confirmed for each employee. Similarly, background checks should be performed to ensure employees have no record of abuse or violence. In cases where injuries occur as the result of negligent hiring practices, nursing homes and long term care facilities can be found negligent.
Falls and Injuries – Falls and injuries in nursing homes are all too common occurrences. Some of these are unavoidable accidents. Others, however, are the result of improper care, inadequate training, failure to follow procedure, and other preventable causes. Nursing homes can be found liable for fall injuries if negligence can be demonstrated.
Bed Sores – Also known as pressure sores, pressure ulcers, and decubitus ulcers, these are present on as many as one in every ten nursing home patients. These sores, if improperly treated can lead to serious health consequences like debilitating infection. The improper care and treatment of bedsores can be an indication of inadequate care and nursing homes can be liable for damages.