Nursing home wrongful death information

Over a million people are patients in nursing homes throughout the country and approximately another million are residents in assisted living facilities. People who require long-term care make up a rapidly growing percentage of our population. And, unfortunately, they’re also one of the most vulnerable segments of our population.

For most people, it is a very difficult and emotional decision to move a family member to a nursing home. But, when that decision is made, you expect the facility to provide a safe, caring, and supportive environment.  However, many residents of nursing homes die in a wrongful death scenario due to abuse or neglect.

Nursing home abuse is a serious concern. A survey of nursing home residents indicated that up to 44% of residents reported that they have been abused at some time in their residency. The abuse can be physical, sexual, psychological, or take the form of financial exploitation.

If you’ve had a parent, grandparent, or other loved one that has died as a result of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, you may be able to receive compensation for your pain and suffering as well as for any death-related expenses by initiating a wrongful death claim.

In order to have a successful legal case against the nursing home and its staff, you need to be able to provide proof that the facility and/or its staff acted negligently in the care of your loved one or that the abuse was intentional. 

Common causes of wrongful death in nursing homes

Wrongful deaths in a nursing home occur when the staff fails to provide proper care for a patient or intentionally causes the patient harm. Some common causes of wrongful death in nursing homes include:

  • Slips and falls
  • Infections
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Physical abuse
  • Repeated falls

Medical malpractice in nursing homes occur when the treating physician fails to diagnose or properly treat a patient’s illness. Or when nurses who have direct contact and care responsibilities for the patient fail to notify the physician or the patient’s family about significant changes in the health or behavior of the patient. Additionally, negligence may be the result of misuse or overuse of medications.

Doing your research

It’s very important that you do your homework before making the final decision on a nursing home for your loved one. Schedule an appointment to meet with the facility director as well as the nursing director and arrange to take a thorough tour of the nursing home.

The Medicare Nursing Home Checklist provides some good suggestions about what to consider when selecting possible facilities:

  • The facility should have Medicare and Medicaid certifications
  • Residents should look well cared for
  • A warm and positive interaction between patients and staff should be taking place
  • A fall prevention program is in place

Nursing homes are highly regulated by both public and private agencies at the state and federal level. Even so, there are still a lot of questionable facilities throughout the country. Do online research to get statistics concerning:

  • History of violations
  • Number of severe violations
  • Rate of staff turnover has a search tool that lets you compare nursing homes in your area.

If your loved one ended up dying in a nursing home and you feel that negligence or abuse was involved, you’ll need the services of a personal injury attorney with experience handling wrongful death lawsuits.

Scott S. Harris, California wrongful death attorney, has more than 30 years of experience handling medical malpractice and wrongful death claims. Contact the office to schedule a free consultation.