Placing an aging parent in a nursing home is always a serious decision. Sometimes it may be necessary to place a loved one that is incapacitated in a facility that can provide better care than the family. Every family must consider the pros and cons of this decision and choose the best care option for the affected family member. However, no matter how wisely and deliberately you choose, you cannot avoid the reality of the perils that may await your loved ones in nursing homes.
Most nursing homes are licensed by the state in which they are located. In addition, they must meet certain standards in order to be eligible to bill Medicare or Medicaid for patient services. Some nursing homes do their job better than others do. Poorly managed nursing homes often have higher than average patient accidents. They may be understaffed or simply fail to schedule enough personnel to ensure the safety of frail, elderly residents. In some cases, the salaries paid to patient care workers are so low that it affects morale. That still is not justification for a nursing home's staff to allow its residents to be injured or neglected.
The Centers for Disease Control reports that 75% of all nursing home residents will fall each year. Of these, almost 2,000 will suffer a fatal injury related to their fall. Even more shocking is the fact that most nursing home patients will fall more than once within a one-year period! Routine inspections of nursing homes can reveal violations that nursing staff and the home's owner should be held liable for legally. A nursing home's failure to correct these violations can compromise the care of the loved one or parent that you have entrusted to them.
Along with falls, medication accidents, bedsores and even elder abuse by poorly trained staff members are common in nursing homes. If you suspect that a nursing home is negligent, you should consult a personal injury attorney to protect your parent or loved one. You and your attorney must intervene to prevent further injury to your family member and the other patients.