Top Five Kinds of Nursing Home Neglect Injuries
Nursing home neglect is far too common in Florida’s long-term care facilities, largely because of understaffing. This problem affects as many as 70 percent of the nursing homes in the Sunshine State.
Understaffing could mean a lack of people to properly care for residents. Under-qualification is a related problem. To deal with increased resident population, some nursing homes hire individuals who are not qualified to fill certain positions. For example, a Licensed Vocational Nurse may perform duties that a Registered Nurse should handle.
A Tampa personal injury attorney may be able to obtain substantial compensation in nursing home neglect claims. Perhaps more importantly, legal action brings nursing home neglect out of the shadows and into the light.
Many people are surprised that malnutrition is one of the most common kinds of nursing home neglect.
When people get older, their senses degrade. They no longer feel hungry at mealtimes. Furthermore, food no longer looks good, smells good, or tastes good. As a result, they do not eat the food they receive. And, because of understaffing, there is no nurse or other worker at the table to make sure residents eat.
There is an underlying issue as well. Many facilities do not have registered dieticians that help prepare nutritious meals.
Malnutrition is a serious health problem of its own. Furthermore, malnutrition makes other health conditions worse. A patient’s weakened body does not have the strength it should to fight mild infections. So, these minor problems become major issues.
Resident on Resident Abuse
Once again, many people are surprised that this form of neglect is so high on the list. And, once again, understaffing is usually the underlying problem.
Many older adults are child-like. Petty squabbles over things like a preferred seat on the couch can become violent if no one is there to referee the dispute. Moreover, many nursing home patients wander aimlessly into other peoples’ rooms. Many residents are highly protective of their privacy. So, unless there are staff members in the halls to redirect residents to their rooms, fights could break out.
Most elderly nursing home residents are physically frail. Therefore, a little force is sufficient to cause a serious injury.
If residents turn over in bed every few hours, pressure ulcers are no problem at all. But many residents cannot turn themselves over, perhaps because of weakness or perhaps because they are so heavily medicated. If no one makes rounds every few hours, bedsores could quickly become life-threatening.
On a related note, some patient care techs cannot recognize the signs of advanced bedsores. So, instead of sounding the alarm, they do nothing, and the injury worsens.
About 60 percent of nursing home residents sustain a serious fall every year. Even after they recover, most of these people can never live independently again.
Understaffing leads to many nursing home falls. Once upon a time, a patient care tech or other staffer was in the halls to redirect residents away from construction areas and other danger zones. But that’s generally no longer the case. And, since many older residents cannot see or avoid these hazards very well, there is a high risk of serious injury.
Many nursing homes are not as sterile as many hospitals. So, bacterial infections are rather common. Sometimes, these infections are not a problem. But to frail patients with pre-existing conditions, these infections can quickly become harmful or fatal.
Contact Experienced Lawyers
If you need legal assistance, we can help. For a free consultation with an experienced Tampa personal injury attorney, contact The Matassini Law Firm. We routinely handle matters in Hillsborough County and nearby jurisdictions.