Posts tagged with "Massachusetts Nursing Home Negligence"

Staffing Issues that Can Contribute to Nursing Home Negligence

Staffing Issues That Can Contribute to Nursing Home Negligence

It is always a tough situation when a loved one must transition to a nursing home. As a relative, you no doubt research nursing homes in your area in order to find the most suitable living environment, with the assurance that your loved one’s needs will be met and that they will be well taken care of.

However, quite often those living in a nursing home face abuse and neglect. When such circumstances occur to someone you love, you feel a great deal of anger. While you may not be able to reverse the damage that has been done, be it physical or mental, but legal action can ensure that you and your loved one receives just compensation, as well as assurance that those responsible for the negligence are held responsible.

You can also hopefully avoid any such negligent behavior by choosing a nursing home that is adequately staffed. While there may be a variety of reasons staff members elect to neglect the patients in their care, it is understaffing itself that more often than not directly contributes to nursing home negligence.

Reasons Why a Nursing Home May Be Understaffed

There are many reasons while a nursing home may experience staffing issues and a general shortage of competent staff. For starters, there is a shortage of healthcare workers and nurse practitioners in the United States, with a great need to fill thousands of future positions in nursing homes and healthcare facilities.

The growth of nursing homes across the United States has created many positions that just aren’t being filled quickly enough. A new nursing home may appear clean, efficient and appealing, but you should also be sure that it is fully staffed before choosing to administer a loved one there.

A nursing home may also be understaffed if its employees aren’t paid fairly. Low wages can lead to a high turnover rate (not to mention the fact that it doesn’t give workers a great incentive to perform their job well). A high turnover rate also means new staff must be trained, which essentially means staff that is unfamiliar with your loved one’s particular needs and daily routine. Low pay could also result in not too many applicants accepting a position, as they may seek a position elsewhere for higher pay.

When visiting nursing homes for consideration, ask some of the staff how long they have been there, if they enjoy working there and if much of the staff has been there very long. If they answer honestly, you can get a good idea of how well the place may be staffed and if the staff is happy there.

A nursing home may also expect too much of its staff. A staff member who must handle multiple responsibilities that are better served by additional staff members is unlikely to have the time to sufficiently see to the need of his or her patients.

And finally, nursing home management may simply refuse to hire the proper amount of staff in order to keep profits high.

Negligence: The Unfortunate Consequence of Nursing Home Understaffing

As you might have now realized (or even experienced already with a loved one currently in a nursing home), understaffing can cause serious problems in a nursing home, especially patient neglect. Such neglect isn’t always intentional — as mentioned above, staff members can often be overwhelmed with many responsibilities and daily tasks, making it hard to give their patients the time and care they require.

Additionally, staff that isn’t treated properly by management or paid poorly can become disgruntled. As employee morale suffers, so too does their work ethic, and the overall work dynamic can lead to instances of abuse or neglect.

With many patients dependent upon nursing home staff for a large amount of care, neglect can lead to physical injury, psychological trauma and even death. Patients that are suffering from limited mobility are dependent upon their caregivers to help them move in order to avoid maladies such as atrophy or bedsores.

Additionally, receiving medication and food at the proper times, being provided with regular bathing and grooming, and help with going to the bathroom are all basic needs that can be overlooked or neglected due to understaffing.

Legal Repercussions of Nursing Home Understaffing

Nursing homes have a legal obligation to provide proper care for the patients within their walls. Failure to do so can often result in strict fines, and rampant episodes of neglect and abuse have served to shut down many nursing homes. Additionally, nursing homes have been sued for wrongful death and/or illness of patients in their care that suffered due to neglect.

With understaffing being recognized as one of the leading causes of abuse and neglect in nursing homes, it is being viewed more and more as a crime. Staffing violations should be reported so as to ensure that no patient suffers needlessly.

If you or a loved one has experienced abuse or neglect in a nursing home, contact the law office of Colucci Colucci Marcus & Flavin, PC. Our personal injury attorneys can help you take the necessary steps to receive just compensation and/or justice in cases relating to nursing home understaffing and neglect. You may call us at (617) 698-6000, or you can also contact us online to set up your free initial consultation.

Nursing Home Abuse

Tales From Our Files – Unreported Nursing Home Abuse

Both state and federal laws mandate that nursing home facilities report serious cases of abuse to local police, yet a recent National Public Radio report citing an investigation conducted by the Office of Inspector General reveals that more than one-quarter of serious cases of nursing home abuse were not reported to authorities. Shockingly, some of these unreported cases of abuse involved injuries that were so severe that their victims ultimately required emergency room care.

Federal Law Mandates

Some of the cases are particularly infuriating. One elderly woman was sexually abused after being brutally beaten. Federal law mandates that an event of this magnitude be reported to police “within two hours” or risk a $300,000 fine. The nursing home purposely failed to comply with this rule, however. “Instead”, says Curtis Roy, Assistant Regional Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, “…they cleaned off the victim, [and] in doing so, they destroyed all of the evidence that law enforcement could have used as part of an investigation into this crime.” Remarkably, the nursing home didn’t alert the victim’s family until the following day. Equally shocking, it was the victim’s family that first alerted the police, not the facility. Once local police became involved, the nursing home actively tried to dissuade any ongoing investigation into the attack.

Unreported Nursing Home Abuse

Mr. Roy’s comprehensive investigation, which covered 33 states, revealed that the majority of the unreported cases involved sexual abuse of elderly patients.   Mr. Roy concluded that a relatively simple change of protocol by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services likely holds the key to uncovering a facility’s unscrupulous practice of failing to report abuse to the authorities. By merely cross referencing a nursing home patient’s Medicare claims with their contemporaneous claims from an emergency room visit, an incident of abuse or neglect can be suspected or inferred. Once a patient’s emergency room diagnosis is scrutinized, authorities can better appreciate whether a resident was a victim of a crime such as physical or sexual assault.

By most estimates, approximately 1.4 million Americans currently reside in our nation’s nursing homes. That number is expected to balloon as more from the “baby boomer” generation reaches retirement age.

It is important to point out that abuse in a nursing home setting is not the norm nor is it inevitable. By employing simple awareness and vigilance, however, a resident’s family can discourage, prevent and/or detect incidence of nursing home abuse.

Dino M. Colucci, Esquire, is the founder of Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C., a law firm dedicated to representing victims of nursing home neglect. For many years he has lectured and served as an adjunct Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School. He has also been consistently named as a “Super Lawyer” by his peers as published by Boston Magazine.

Nursing Home Neglect

How to Tell If a Nursing Home Is Neglecting a Loved One

Nursing homes and other assisted living care facilities are businesses a family hires to look after elderly loved one who can no longer safely look after themselves. Sadly, a lot of these places let folks down and nursing home neglect is a growing problem in America as the Baby Boomer generation ages and more of its members require assistance.

It’s common to find nursing homes that are understaffed or that lack adequate services, but the average person may not be able to tell which places are superb and which ones allow people to suffer. If you suspect your loved one isn’t being taken care of properly, try these simple strategies.

 

Ask Questions

Go right up to staff and ask them how many people are on duty, and how many seniors they are looking out for. Don’t be afraid to ask people about their credentials and qualifications. Do you see mostly teenagers and college students working there?

If something looks odd or out of place to you, ask about it. Is another resident in a wheelchair just left in the hallway facing the corner? Don’t be shy, ask what is going on.

 

Listen to Complaints

Most people being taken care of in nursing homes still have their wits about them, and if your loved one is talking about a problem, take them seriously. The seniors themselves are often the best source of information about problems in the nursing home. If they say someone else isn’t being taken care of properly, follow up on it and see if it’s true.

 

Pay Attention to Injuries

Does your senior have strange sores on their hips, heels, ankles or tailbone? That’s most likely a bedsore, and it’s the most common sign of nursing home neglect. These sores come from someone left lying in bed all day without being turned or moved.

Broken limbs are also a problem, and this can come from a senior who tried to move on their own and fall, such as if the staff doesn’t respond to their requests for help. That’s not the fault of your loved one, that’s a neglect issue and it needs to be followed up.

 

What Can You Do?

If someone from your family has been neglected at a nursing home or other care facility, give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 or contact us and we can talk to you about your rights and what you can do next.

Three Things You Need to Hold a Facility Liable for Nursing Home Negligence

We’re always eager to take on nursing home negligence cases. There’s a large industry that far too often takes advantage of people and consistently understaffs its facilities, despite making a lot of money from families and the government. People get hurt when the staff can’t stay on top of everyone’s needs, and if you know someone who has been hurt please give us a call and we can talk about the legal options you have.

We are happy to explain to you over the phone or in person as to what is needed to make a case against a retirement home. In the meantime, here’s an overview of the three basic steps needed:

 

Liability

Just like any other personal injury case, a nursing home negligence case requires that the resident was harmed while they were under the care of the defendant. Was the resident hurt because of the negligent actions of the nursing home staff or administration?

As an example, we’ll use bed sores, which are the most common type of nursing home negligence injuries we see. Bed sores happen when someone is allowed to lie down for long stretches at a time and the pressure of their weight on a surface harms the body. We need to show that the resident received these injuries while lying in a nursing home bed owned by the defendant.

 

Causation

Causation means that the injury was caused by the actions of the staff or administration. In our bed sores case, did staff members fail to turn over or move the patient from time to time? Were there too few people on staff to keep up with each and every nursing home resident? It’s not enough that the injury occurred while at the nursing home, it also has to be caused by the actions or lack of actions from the people who work there.

 

Damages

Lastly, now that we’ve established where the bed sores occurred and why they occured, we have to show that the bed sores harmed the senior we represent. Bed sores are an actual injury, and they are both easy to spot and easy to demonstrate that they are harmful. We can then show the medical intervention needed to care for the victim. These have to be actual sustained injuries, not potential injuries that were narrowly avoided.

With liability, causation and damages all demonstrated, we are able to continue the case and seek compensation from the nursing home who causes the inexcusable injuries. Remember, we’re the experts, you don’t have to come to us with the proof of liability, causation or damages. We will investigate to make your case as strong as it can be.

The most important thing you need to do is contact us as soon as you suspect there is a problem, as the sooner we get started the better your chances will be of receiving justice. You can visit our website at www.ColucciLaw.com or give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657.

Nursing Home Negligence, why is it on the rise?

Is the incidence of nursing home negligence growing?

The biggest reason people go from a regular home to an assisted living facilities isn’t because they want to play shuffleboard or have lunch with the neighbors – it’s because they need assistance from trained staff members to help take care of them. In many cases assisted living patient care, can lead to nursing home negligence and abuse.

So why so much Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse?

The problem we see with nursing home negligence and abuse is that far too many nursing homes have a lack of staff. These are private businesses trying to bring in a profit, which we accept and understand. Unfortunately, some of those nursing home corporations decide to increase their profits by cutting down on the number of staff members.

That is to say, some assisted living facilities don’t have enough people on hand to actually assist with everyone’s living! This leads to frail people trying to walk to the bathroom on their own without assistance and falling. It leads to people being left alone to stare at the walls all day. It leads to needless suffering, misery and even death. It leads to nursing home negligence and abuse lawsuits.

We take quality of life issues very seriously, and stamping out nursing home negligence is a crusade at Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin. If your loved one has been harmed by a negligent or understaffed nursing home, please give us a call.

The problems come from retirement homes where the staff has too much to do or little oversight. In those places, residents are left to fend for themselves half the time and become disengaged.

An effective nursing home has a full staff of eager, helpful and kind people who take an avid role in the care of your loved ones. They get involved, they interact, and this leads to a decrease in accidents and a better quality of life. That’s the kind of assisting people need.

Find out what you should watch for to see if your nursing home facility is up to par on nursing home standards!