As we get older, our medical needs can often get more complicated. Many of us have seen or use medicine organizers to keep track of and safely use the meds necessary to keep us as healthy as possible. It is also our expectation that those caring for us will take special care to ensure the right medication at the right time.
Caring for the elderly can at times be a complicated task that requires collaboration among various groups. Primary care physicians, emergency doctors, dieticians, and the individual under care all have a voice in the needed medication.
What makes the caretakers different than the individual under their care is that there is a legal obligation known as the duty of care. This duty is where we get the idea of negligence from and how we attain any legal remedies.
To prove negligence, your nursing home attorneys will need to prove three things: duty, breach, and damages. By being under the care of a nursing home, there is a duty on all workers to take care of those in the home. The breach is the action or lack of action that falls below a certain standard of care. Damages are the harm that is suffered by the victim.
The start of your expectations should be communication. Communication should include caretakers, residents, and any other relevant parties, including those with power of attorney. Ideally, this communication will result in a well-executed plan of care. This plan should include how much medication, the method of dispersal, when to disperse the medication, and acceptable combinations when applicable. Just as with any care plan, deviations can have severe effects including the worsening of health problems, and in extreme cases, death.
A nursing home should also be properly equipped and staffed to provide adequate care for all of its residents. Staffing issues may result in rushed treatment and subpar results that are unacceptable for those in the care of the home.
When a nursing home is found to be negligent, there may be public health citations, fines, and other forms of public reprimand. These will all help your case if they are tied to the plaintiff as they will adjudicate negligence. This may also show a pattern that will be relevant to your damages.
If the nursing home is extremely negligent it may rise to the level of nursing home abuse. This requires the same elements as negligence but also includes a certain level of willfulness.
Serious injuries can and do occur due to dehydration. You or your loved one may need extensive medical care or even long-term care in the recovery effort. Fortunately, it is possible to recover some of those losses, including:
To determine the value of your case, your attorney will make use of financial losses, quality of life, and injuries to create an argument that gets you the best possible outcome.
Many nursing home residents rely upon prescription medications for optimal health. Many medications need to be given in a particular dose and at a particular time of day. Some medications require ongoing laboratory testing to verify that the proper dose is being given. Some medications have certain side effects that need to be monitored. Many drug names sound alike and physicians and pharmacists can make errors in prescribing and dosing. Sometimes a new medication is prescribed that interacts with another the resident is already taking. Some of the worst medication errors occur with blood-thinning medications that can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening bleeding episodes.
State and federal law requires that nursing home residents undergo periodic assessments of their health conditions and specific needs. These assessments then lead to the creation of a unique plan of care for the resident. The care plan is then implemented for the resident. In order for this process to work effectively, the initial assessment must be thorough and accurate. The care plan then needs to be created and followed diligently.
Unfortunately, resident assessments and care plans are not always created and implemented properly. This can cause situations where the resident is not cared for properly or one of the resident’s physical limitations is completely overlooked. Situations of understaffing or poorly trained care providers often contribute to the problem.
Sometimes the most important part of nursing home care is that very simple things be done for the resident on a careful and consistent basis and then accurately documented. This allows for the creation of a record than can be analyzed and assessed for trends and changes in condition. What is the resident’s weight? How much has the resident been eating and drinking? Are the resident’s vital signs stable? Have there been any reactions to medications? Has the resident been engaged in activities? Has the resident’s skin been assessed? If the resident is a risk for falling, have the fall precautions been followed? Should the doctor be called? Have the laboratory results been reviewed? These questions point out how a resident’s care providers must be on the careful lookout for subtle changes in a resident’s condition. The failure to identify, document and report changes can be harmful and even deadly for the resident.
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If you or a loved one have been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you may be eligible for financial compensation.