Many elderly people in Massachusetts rely on nursing homes to provide them with safe and competent care in their declining years. But when nursing home abuse occurs, many families must look to the courts to find compensation for the harms they suffered.
Nationwide, Medicare had to pay out nearly $5.1 billion to persons staying in skilled nursing facilities. Skilled nursing facilities consist of nursing homes that provide residents with daily nursing care or therapy sessions. However, many of these facilities have not been in compliance with the federal rules for quality of care, and in some cases were a danger to or neglectful of their residents. In fact, it is estimated that in 2009 one out of three patients entering nursing home care found themselves in facilities that did not even meet the federal standards of basic care.
Skilled nursing facilities must develop a care plan for residents that will then be distributed to the resident’s doctors and other caregivers. However it is estimated that one out of five times, these plans did not comprehensively address all the resident’s healthcare needs. Unfortunately, when residents receive sub-standard care, it is the government that must cover the costs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is addressing these concerns through a comprehensive review of its regulations and practices.
When a nursing home resident is injured or abused while receiving nursing home care, it may be possible to bring a lawsuit against the nursing home and its employees. Negligent supervision and care, negligent hiring and negligent maintenance of the facilities and equipment all may give rise to nursing home liability. To prevail, the victim must show that they were owed a duty of care by the nursing home, that the nursing home failed to meet the duty of care and that the nursing home’s breach caused the injury suffered.
When a loved one is injured in a nursing home, a negligence law suit may be one way to hold the nursing home and its employees accountable. Furthermore, it may provide nursing home residents and their families with the financial resources they need to recover from the incident.
Source: Boston Herald, “Medicare paid $5.1B for poor nursing home care,” Feb. 28, 2013