Nursing Home Injuries and Your Rights

A New Kind of New Year’s Resolution
January 19, 2019

Published by The Law Offices of Scott Sobol

We all want the very best for the eldest loved ones in our lives and we endeavor to give them the highest quality care we can. Sometimes that means putting them in a facility where they can receive round-the-clock assistance or supervision. We look for the best place with the best staff where our loved ones feel confident and comfortable — where they can have loving help with the basic needs of bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, and getting around.

We want them to be as careful as possible, but no one can ever completely prevent an injury or accident from happening — especially with loved ones that have mobility issues. There are several types of injuries that can occur at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. These are a few to be on the lookout for.

  • Falls and Fractures – these are probably the most common type of injury as ambulating patients are at risk of falls due to osteoporosis and a lack of careful monitoring. Debris left in the hallway of the nursing home can contribute to falls, as well as slippery floors. There are certain precautions to be taken by the facility for those who are known fall risks, but not all facilities take the time to make sure that falls don’t occur. When an elderly person falls, it often leads to fractures of the hip, spine and wrist, often making them immobile and causing further health issues.
  • Bed Sores– the forming of bed sores is typically due to pressure on a particular body part for an extended period of time. Most common areas where bed sores develop are the heels of the feet and the coccyx(tail bone).
  • Concussions – this occurs as a result of a fall that also includes trauma to the head. Signs of a concussion after a fall can include a decreased level of consciousness, confusion, speech difficulties and sometimes, coma or death.
  • Spinal Injuries – these can be a further result of a fall or from dropping a patient during transport or transition.
  • Infections – infections can be a result of improper hygiene or bed sores for patients who are not ambulatory. Infections in the elderly can cause greater complications because they don’t heal as quickly as they do in younger patients.

Of course, some of these injuries are simply due to the limited mobility and physical control of the patients in nursing homes. However, if you suspect your loved one has been injured at their nursing residence due to neglect or abuse, you have rights under Florida Statutes 400.022 and 400.023. Additionally, in the unfortunate event that nursing home abuse and violation of rights causes death, the resident’s family is entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim. In a lawsuit, Florida nursing home statutes state that lawsuit plaintiffs (the patient or their family) must establish the following:

  • The facility owed a certain duty to the nursing home resident
  • The facility breached or violated this owed legal duty
  • As a result of the breach or duty, the resident suffered loss, injury, damage or death

As we always say, prevention is the best course of action. Look for nursing homes that have a proven track record of care (ask them for the average number of injuries that have occurred over the past five years), they must have hallways clear of debris and wet areas marked with signage, and have enough staff to maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychological well-being of each resident (according to state regulations).

If you have any questions about an injury a love one has suffered and want a review of the case, we want to help. Just give me a call either at the office or on my cell at (954) 854-1920.

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