Nursing Home Negligence

Connecticut Nursing Home Abuse

If you or your parents or grandparents are in a nursing home, it is probably because you associate such facilities with care and attentiveness. That’s why nursing home negligence is such a serious problem. Many patients residing in nursing homes are unable to communicate instances of abuse or neglect because of physical or mental disabilities, or simply because they have no one to tell.

Nursing home negligence can be very serious, causing significant health problems and even death among victims. Examples of nursing home negligence include failing to provide adequate food or water, failing to provide appropriate hygienic care, overmedicating patients, using physical restraints unnecessarily, and physically or sexually abusing residents.

If you believe your loved one is being neglected in their nursing home contact the attorneys at Casper & de Toledo today and fight for your loved one’s rights!

Depending upon the injuries involved, these items are among those that a comprehensive investigation of a nursing home neglect case should examine: budgeting for food, patient care per day (determines the adequacy of staffing), the length of time devoted to each patient during the day, and adequacy of provision for nutrition. In some instances it is necessary to investigate the services of the institution’s professional dietary staff to determine whether the dietician is institution-based or is an outside contractor with much more limited resources. And as to dietary services, it should be determined whether or not the patient is receiving sufficient attention from a professional dietician.

As previously stated, many of the illnesses and injuries in a nursing home can be prevented. Patients are injured from falls and may be the victims of medication errors with results like sepsis, infection, pneumonia, operative site infection, delayed healing and pressure sores. Adequate staffing can prevent many of these conditions. Sepsis can be prevented, but if not prevented, it can be recognized early enough to be adequately treated. Adequate staffing and proper use of physical therapy can prevent falls and pressure sores. Aspiration pneumonia may be prevented with the use of a speech pathologist and/or a professional dietician.

Another major problem in dealing with nursing homes is often referred to as ‘corporate shell games’; you see one name on the building’s face, only to learn that an outside company is managing the nursing home because the owners seek to distance themselves from responsibility. If you try to create a flow chart for corporate responsibility, often you find a complex interwoven relationship between the holder of the nursing home license, the management company, a holding company, related corporations, limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships. To determine the entities responsible for the operation of the nursing home, it is often necessary to examine licensure files and Medicaid cost reports. To identify the real parties in control, it is sometimes necessary to examine loan documents to determine commonality.

Another issue that is a problem in suing a nursing home is the inadequacy of insurance. Often, a nursing home is insured with a PAC Man insurance policy. That means that the money that is consumed defending a case reduces the amount of coverage that is available for the injured nursing home resident. It is ironic that insurance companies, the medical industry and the pharmaceutical industry are always lobbying to reduce the attorney’s fees that an injured person can pay, yet here is a system that is calculated to reduce benefits by what is paid a lawyer.

Investigation of nursing home abuse or injury cases often leads us to explore such other documents as:

  1. nursing home survey forms;
  2. nursing home survey files;
  3. state survey files;
  4. offsite survey preparation worksheets;
  5. surveyor notes and worksheets;
  6. complaint forms;
  7. complaint form investigation reports;
  8. Dietary Food Service Policies & Procedures.

We will also look at the State Operations Manual and the industry guide known as the “Watermelon Book,” which are among our resources to interpret cases.

If you believe that you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home negligence, this form of medical malpractice needs to be reported immediately and the personal injury lawyers at our Stamford, Connecticut office may be able to help. It is important that you seek help both for your own situation and for the other residents.

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