Any nursing home lawyer with experience has been kept busy over the last few years due to the burgeoning problems associated with the quality of care of the aging population.
Nursing Home Lawyer-Helping The Helpless
Victims of nursing home negligence and their families are entitled to fair and just compensation for injuries or death caused by inappropriate care. Nursing home residents are among the most helpless and the most dependent of people within the healthcare system. They need someone to defend them.
Nursing Home Lawyer-Identifying The Injuries
Claims against nursing homes frequently arise from falls, bed sores, dehydration or other forms of neglect. Residents are entitled to treatment with dignity and to be represented aggressively. If you or a loved one have been the victim of nursing home neglect, contact an experienced lawyer. Brien Roche has a proven track record with over 35 years of trial experience. Contact Brien today if you are looking for aggressive, competent representation in the Fairfax, Virginia area, Washington DC or Maryland.
Bed sores, also called pressure sores, are the most common problem in nursing homes. Federal regulations set standards as to how these are to be prevented and if present how they are to be dealt with so they do not get worse.
Nursing home falls are frequently a violation of the mandate to provide reasonable care and are evidence of nursing home abuse. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA) sets out the minimal standard of care for nursing homes. A quick way to learn about this statute and its regulations is to obtain a copy of the Health Care Financing Administration’s state operation manual.
The theories of liability that may be asserted may range from negligence to breach of contract to res ipsa loquitur. The negligence may be based on the home’s failure to properly staff the facility, failure to properly assess the resident, failure to implement a care plan to prevent falls, failure to use safety devices such as bed alarms to notify the staff when a person gets out bed, failure to implement and follow an appropriate toileting program.
The breach of contract theory may be based upon the nursing home’s agreement to provide safe and reasonable care.
A res ipsa loquitur theory may be based on the fact that the home had exclusive care and control of the patient.
In addition, it is important to look at any applicable adult protection statutes that may buttress liability.
Nursing Home Lawyer-Pursuing The Claim
Some basic things that need to be obtained in the course of any such claim are:
- A copy of the annual survey conducted by state officials of the nursing home along with the complaint survey. These are all available to the public.
- A complete copy of the chart which, under federal regulations, must be provided within two days of the request. A colored copy of the chart should be requested as any irregularities in the use of pens will be more evident with a colored copy.
- A complete copy of the care plan of the patient.
- All documents that show what the nursing home has done to provide proper assistive devices to protect the patient from harm as required by law.
It is probably also important to retain the services of a nursing home expert who can determine whether or not the care plan was adequate to protect this patient and whether or not the care plan was complied with.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a nursing home fall, contact us.
See nursing home warning signs for more information.
Nursing Home Lawyer-Proving Damages
Nursing home abuse damages can be difficult to prove. In assessing the ability to prove damages in a nursing home abuse case it is necessary to consider several factors:
- Are you going to be able to separate the physical and emotional injury caused by the nursing home from the patient’s underlying disease or disability?
- How has the injury affected the patient’s prognosis?
- In a death case is it going to be possible to prove that the beneficiaries are in fact deserving of compensation?
Proving the actual damages is going to be very case specific:
- In a case where the patient has been injured or died as a result of the improper use of restraints then it is important to determine if in fact the patient asphyxiated. Asphyxiation is a slow and painful way to die and is frequently manifested by small spots of bleeding in the eye. That should be evident on the autopsy.
- In bed sore cases photographs and videos of the sores must be used early in the case and throughout the case in order to not only establish their relevancy but to get the defendant’s attention.
- In the case where the patient has been allowed to roam outside the home and thereby be exposed to the elements it may be necessary to have testimony from a geriatric psychologist or psychiatrist to describe the fear and hopelessness and pain experienced by this patient.
- In the case of physical assault by another patient it is necessary to establish foreseeability, i.e. that it was foreseeable by the nursing home that this other patient would engage in assaultive behavior.
Contact a Nursing Home Lawyer
Contact us today for more information on how Brien Roche can represent your Northern Virginia nursing home neglect needs.