Nursing home fails to provide residents with heat, hot water

As our loved ones age, we put our trust and faith in nursing homes to provide them with the care they need. Unfortunately, nursing home negligence is a very real matter that has the potential to cause victims and their loved ones serious physical injuries and mental anguish.

The 25 residents of a Massachusetts nursing home have been relocated after a disturbing discovery was made. Apparently, the facilities were operating without heat or hot water for several days, due to a broken boilerplate. The situation was discovered by the daughter of one of the residents, who during a recent visit observed residents eating off paper plates and wearing coats indoors. In addition to sanitary concerns involving the lack of hot water for activities such as cooking and bathing, the lack of heat itself was of particular concern, due to unseasonably cold temperatures.

Town health officials promptly shut down the nursing home, and the residents were sent to other nursing homes in the state owned by the same company. The Board of Health had jurisdiction to take these drastic actions without seeking a court-order, because it was deemed necessary to protect the health of the public.

While the residents in this situation made it through the ordeal in good health, many of those suffering from nursing home neglect are not so lucky. Neglect can take many forms, but any actions or conditions that result in the failure to provide for the health and safety of residents, whether intentional or not, may be considered neglect.

Fortunately, there are legal actions that a victim of nursing home neglect can take. Victims may pursue a civil lawsuit on the grounds of negligence or in certain cases breach of contract. In the most extreme of cases, some states allow criminal charges to be brought against those engaging in elder abuse.

Elderly people can be particularly vulnerable to nursing home abuse, especially if they are already physical or mentally frail. A personal injury attorney may be able to provide more insight as to what actions a victim of nursing home neglect may take.

Source: woonsocketcall.com, “Nursing home shut down,” Joseph Fitzgerald, April 23, 2013