Some nursing homes are safe, but others may be understaffed and poorly managed, making way for serious safety issues.
Entrusting your loved one to a care facility can be one of the most overwhelming yet necessary decisions you will ever make. Nursing homes generally look after adults who are too old or sick to live alone. Ideally, the facility should provide residents with high-quality care that can address their medical and daily needs. Many facilities strive to improve their services, while others face issues that go unaddressed. Among the most urgent issues that nursing homes typically face are complaints regarding safety and abuse.
Thankfully, technological advances, stricter government regulations, increased public attention, and renewed commitments to prioritize the residents’ welfare have somehow contributed to the improvement of safety measures and quality of care in nursing homes for the past few years. Nevertheless, residents continue to be at risk for abuse and neglect, leading to severe injuries and other types of damages.
Safety Issues That Nursing Homes Often Struggle With
Since most residents are already in a delicate condition when they arrive at nursing homes, it becomes even more essential for you to be aware of potential safety issues. Even if there are programs that report on deficiencies in care, this does not always mean that nursing homes take appropriate steps to deal with safety issues promptly.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), the safety issues that nursing homes commonly encounter can fall under the following categories:
Sometimes, staff members fail to provide timely services to meet patient needs when it comes to giving food and liquids, attending to incontinent care, preventing falls, and caring for bedsores.
This can include physical abuse or violence, as well as emotional, financial, and sexual abuse.
Nursing homes can deny patient rights like prohibiting them from leaving their rooms, refusing treatment plans, or transferring to another facility.
Quality of Care
This includes medication errors, incorrect medical care, inadequate monitoring, and other preventable mistakes that can lead to health deterioration and even death.
Residents can also suffer from environmental hazards in the facility, like extreme heat or cold.
The HHS revealed that problems with the quality of care gave rise to the greatest number of consumer complaints. Unfortunately, it is usual for states to delay in conducting investigations associated with nursing home complaints.
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How Nursing Homes Address Complaints About Safety
Nursing homes that place a high value on the safety and comfort of residents make an effort to think of ways to deal with complaints and upgrade customer service. Most of the time, these facilities start with conducting surveys and scheduling regular reviews of their policies. The input of patients and their families are instrumental in reducing complaints and ultimately avoiding the tragic consequences of abuse and neglect.
Care facilities can also refer to resources that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture compiled. These include recommendations for preventing problems with staffing, medication errors, falls, and infections.
What to Do if You Are Worried About Your Loved One’s Safety
Knowing your rights and responsibilities is vital if you want to protect your loved one. You must be aware of what nursing homes are not supposed to do and what rights you and your loved one have under federal and state laws. For instance, federal law mandates that nursing homes should treat residents with dignity and respect. More importantly, it is illegal for caregivers and other staff members to abuse residents physically and verbally.
You and your loved one have the right to complain to the nursing home without fear of retribution. Keep in mind that it is best to talk to the administrator or supervisor, no matter how trivial the issue may seem. It does not take much for a slight problem to develop into a dangerous situation. If you feel you have not resolved the matter, you can file a report with your local law enforcement, Adult Protective Services, or citizen advocacy groups.
You can also seek legal action against the nursing home when there are incidences of abuse and neglect. You may be able to pursue damages for suffering and other losses. A nursing home abuse lawyer can investigate your case and advise you about legal recourse.
Ben Crump Law, PLLC, Can Help You Get Answers
To ensure that your loved one’s nursing home is safe, you will need to do your research. If, however, your loved one’s safety and wellbeing were already compromised by a nursing home, you can take legal action. The team at Ben Crump, PLLC, is here to listen and help you find justice.
Call us today at (800) 959-1444 so we can evaluate your case at no cost to you.