What Constitutes Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?

Nursing homes and long-term care facilities have a legal duty to take proper precautions to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of residents.  When facilities fail to meet the required duty of care, they can be held liable for the injuries and damages suffered by residents.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

It’s unconscionable how seniors are sometimes abused and neglected in nursing homes and long-term facilities.  Abuse and neglect can result in:

  • Bedsores.  “Bedsores” are a form of ulcer that can develop on the pressure points of those who are bedridden if they are not properly cared for.  They are also referred to as pressure sores or pressure ulcers.  Bedsore prevention usually requires turning bed-ridden or limited mobility residents on a prescribed schedule.  If not treated, bedsores can lead to life-threatening physical complications, including sepsis (a blood disease that can be fatal) and cellulitis (skin and soft tissue infection).
  • Falls and Fractures.  Often those in nursing home and long-term care facilities are injured in falls.  Typically nursing home falls occur when a resident who should have an attendant while walking does not have such an attendant.  In some cases, because of their condition, residents should not be allowed to walk, as there may be a high risk of falling, even when there is nothing on the floor that may cause a trip or fall. 

In other cases, residents may fall from tripping, or may slip on wet surfaces.  Some residents may require rails for a bed; if these are not used, the resident may fall out of bed.  It’s important to fully understand a resident’s condition when a fall occurs in order to be able to assess potential liability.

  • Choking.  Some residents are unable to swallow solid food, often as a result of a stroke or other medical condition.  When these residents are not served the proper food for their condition, choking in a nursing home can occur, which can lead to trachea damage or death.
  • Malnutrition or dehydration.  To a person in declining health, malnutrition or dehydration can lead to serious consequences quickly.
  • Medication Errors.  Medication errors can include being given the wrong medication, being given the wrong dosage (either too much or too little medication) or not being given the required medication at the required times.   When medication errors occur, severe consequences can result, including seizures and death.
  • Injuries from Wandering (“Elopement”).  Lack of supervision (allowing residents to wander from a nursing home facility), can lead to injuries and death when residents leave nursing homes.  Such wandering is often referred to as “elopement.”
  • Physical and Sexual Abuse.  Tragically, in some cases nursing home residents can be hit, slapped, tied down, wrongfully restrained, or even abused sexually.  Nursing home abuse should never be tolerated. 
  • Mental Abuse.  Threats, harassment, and intimidation are some of the types of abuse that may be suffered by nursing home residents.  Those entrusted to care for our seniors can easily manipulate them into believing that they can not report bad treatment; otherwise, they will suffer retribution.
  • Dignity.  Residents of nursing home and care facilities have dignity rights that must be respected.  Hygiene, answering call bells, and being treated with respect are all a part of dignity rights.  When these rights are not respected, New York statute provides the residents may bring a lawsuit for violating a resident’s right to be treated with dignity. 
  • Abandonment. Residents should not be left unattended for long time periods in which their needs are unmet.
  • Theft of Money or Personal Property. Residents may be the victims of unscrupulous caretakers who steal their property.
  • Unsanitary Conditions.  Unsanitary conditions can lead to infections, disease, and other ailments, not to mention the affront to personal dignity.

 Other Injuries.  Other maltreatment can results in conditions including:

    • Weight gain or loss
    • Septic shock
    • Gangrene
    • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Wrongful Death.  Tragically, each year nursing home residents die from injuries, neglect, abuse, and other preventable events.  Those responsible need to be held accountable.

We Fight For Our Clients When They Have Been Abused or Neglected

As New York nursing home injury, neglect, and abuse lawyers, we serve clients throughout the state of New York. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation so that we can learn about your case or the case of your loved one.  Once we have this information, we can advise you as to whether we believe that a case for nursing home negligence exists.

To get started, please call our office today to schedule an appointment and case evaluation at a time that is convenient with your schedule.

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103 W. Seneca Street, Suite 301
Ithaca, NY 14850
Telephone: (607) 272-5590
Fax: (607) 272-5594

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