Nursing homes, convalescent homes and elder care facilities can be held liable when acts of negligence, neglect and nursing home abuse cause harm to residents. Many acts can leave a care facility liable, including:
- Failure to keep premises reasonably safe and hazard-free
- Negligent hiring of employees
- Negligent supervision of residents
- Failure to keep common areas and resident rooms sanitary and clean
- Failure to provide standard medical care
Rules on Care Standards
If a care facility accepts Medicare reimbursement, it must follow federal rules on the minimum standard of care. Facilities must ensure that:
- Residential environments remain as hazard-free as possible
- Each resident is adequately supervised and assisted, as a way of preventing accidents
If a home does not comply with these rules and a resident is subsequently hurt, the facility can face litigation.
In the residential care setting, interventions and safety measures can protect patients with memory deficits and conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. However, some patients may become injured despite these protections. If a home cannot provide constant supervision to such residents, it can be found in violation of federal regulations, and it can face legal action.
Signs of Poor Care
Putting a family member in a skilled care facility is never an easy decision, and it can be frustrating for a family to learn that the care a relative is receiving falls below acceptable standards. Families should look for the following signs that a resident may not be receiving adequate care.
- Substantial emotional or physical changes
- The staff’s unwillingness to answer questions
- Inadequate, hurried or disorganized staff
- High staff turnover rates
- The resident’s reluctance to deal with certain staff members
- Unanswered phones and call lights
- An adherence to the status quo
- A family member’s gut feelings
It Can be Difficult to Prove Liability
When residents are injured in care facilities, it may not be obvious as to what went wrong and who should be held responsible. Available evidence may be incomplete and biased in favor of the nursing home. In such a case, the family’s first step should be to consult an experienced nursing home abuse attorney.