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Nursing homes, often called rest homes, convalescent homes, or assisted living facilities, provide residential care for elderly or disabled people. A nursing home is typically a facility for people whose physical ailments or limitations do not warrant being in a hospital, but who cannot live on their own or be cared for at home. Care is provided 24/7 by nurses and physicians on staff. Placing trust in these medical professionals can be a big decision for any family, since many patients may stay in these facilities for an extended period of time or even live out the rest of their lives there. The last thing someone would want is for their loved one to experience nursing home neglect or abuse, but sadly, it does happen. However, if there is evidence of abuse, the nursing home can be held accountable for the harm caused to a person and their family.
Unfortunately, the medical staff who are entrusted to take care of the patients sometimes do the complete opposite and cause them harm. Abuse of a nursing home patient can range from physical to verbal and even sexual. Many nursing home residents may be immobile and bed-ridden due to their physical disabilities. This means they are more vulnerable to certain types of abuse. For example, if a resident is complaining because he or she is in pain, the caregiver might become irritated and hit or strike the resident. Similarly, if a patient is taking a long time to transfer from his or her bed to a wheelchair, the worker may get impatient and push or shove the patient, causing them to fall down. The resulting injuries to the patient can include welts, bruises, lacerations, head trauma, fractures, and more.
Verbal abuse can involve an employee screaming or yelling at residents, calling them derogatory names, or belittling them based on their physical ailments. Instances of sexual abuse can also take place if a patient is unable to fight back or call for help when a worker forces him or herself on a patient. Inappropriate behavior by caregivers can be due to mental illness or alcohol or drug abuse. The nursing home should thoroughly vet its employees by running background checks on prospective candidates before they are hired.
Neglect in a nursing home can happen for various reasons. Many facilities are understaffed, and employees may struggle to care for a large number of patients. If the nurse-to-patient ratio is not high enough, residents can go for hours without a nurse checking on them. If a patient does not receive his or her food or medication on time, the consequences can be devastating, and they may experience life-threatening dehydration or malnutrition. Failure to provide essential hygiene care can cause bed sores, which often turn into serious infections.
In addition, if the medical staff is not properly trained or briefed, mistakes can directly affect patients. For instance, if a nurse accidentally dispenses the wrong medication to a patient, he or she could have an allergic reaction. A severe reaction such as anaphylactic shock could ultimately lead to death. The nursing home is responsible for following standards and guidelines to ensure the best care for its patients.
If you or your loved one have been physically or emotionally abused during a nursing home stay, you should seek legal counsel. As a patient, you are entitled to certain rights to protect your safety and well-being. The experienced law firm of Goldberg Sager & Associates will carefully review the circumstances of your case to determine whether negligence played a role in your injuries. If so, we will work to hold the nursing home accountable. To schedule a free consultation, contact a compassionate New York City nursing home negligence lawyer today at 718-514-9516.