Families choose to place elder loved ones in the care of nursing homes because the loved one is unable to take care of daily needs alone. In many cases, this decision is difficult, but loved ones feel that nursing home care will be better than the care that can be provided at home. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is common. Nursing home abuse puts patients 300 times more at risk of death than patients that do not suffer abuse of neglect. When nursing home abuse is so severe that the patient dies, it is considered wrongful death.
Nursing Home Wrongful Death Causes
Nursing home abuse is often the cause of wrongful death, but can be difficult to identify in some cases. Verbal, emotional, and financial abuse of nursing home residents is very common and can be just as harmful as physical abuse. Patients often begin to feel trapped and helpless, which can cause the mental state to deteriorate. Patients may begin to manifest physical symptoms after enduring emotional stress for a period of time. Physical or sexual abuse can cause conditions to develop and can worsen patients’ existing conditions.
Neglecting patient needs is a form of abuse and can be very harmful. Patients may begin to develop bedsores or other physical ailments from not being properly bathed or turned. Patients’ muscles may begin to atrophy from lack of use when patients require mobility assistance. Patients may also begin to suffer the consequences of malnutrition or dehydration when neglect includes failure to provide sustenance.
One of the underlying causes of nursing home neglect and even abuse is understaffing. Many nursing homes are run or owned by corporations that place profits above care and attempt to keep costs low by keeping a high patient to nurse ratio. This makes it difficult for the nurses on staff to properly care for each patient. Nurses may also become frustrated and become more prone to abuse due to stressful situations and overwhelming patient needs.
Nursing Home Wrongful Death Cases Florida
It is estimated that nursing home abuse and wrongful death cases are severely underreported. It is estimated that as many as 90 percent of nursing home residents may be the victims of some type of abuse or neglect at least once. If a loved one dies as a result of nursing home abuse, family members may be able to hold the nursing home accountable for the unethical actions that lead to death.
Preventing Wrongful Death in Florida
Family members and loved ones can help to prevent wrongful death in nursing homes by visiting often and watching for signs of abuse. Signs of abuse may be subtle, and can range from cuts and bruises to worsening hygiene and signs of emotional withdrawal. Loved ones should be removed from the nursing home immediately if there is suspicion of abuse.
Wrongful Death Liability
Nursing home facilities are usually held liable in the case of wrongful death. If a staff member directly caused or contributed to the death, the staff member may be held accountable, as well. In some cases, wrongful death lawsuits may cause nursing homes to be closed down and staff members to lose the ability to work in the medical field.
Proving Wrongful Death
Loved ones must be able to provide wrongful death attorneys with certain information to file a successful lawsuit against a nursing home. All information regarding medical conditions upon entry into the nursing home should be compiled. Any medical records from after the patient was entered into the nursing home may also be helpful. If possible, photographs depicting possible abuse may be helpful in a lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within a certain amount of time as dictated by state statute of limitations laws, so loved ones should contact an attorney as soon as possible to begin legal actions.
Nursing Home Wrongful Death Compensation Orlando
Compensation for wrongful death in nursing homes is mainly about holding the nursing home accountable for unethical actions that caused a patient to die. Filing a lawsuit will punish the nursing home and any staff members that may have contributed to the negligence or abuse for failing a patient. Immediate family, life partners, financial depends of the deceased, and distant family members may all be allowed to collect compensation for the emotional suffering resulting from the loss of a loved one.
“Elder Abuse & Neglect.” HelpGuide.org. HelpGuide.org. Web. 31 Oct. 2014. <http://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/elder-abuse-and-neglect.htm>
“Statistics/Data.” National Center on Elder Abuse. Department of Health and Human Services. Web. 31 Oct. 2014. <http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/Library/Data/>
“Wrongful Death: Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect.” Nursing Home Abuse Center. Nursing Home Abuse Center, 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 31 Oct. 2014. <http://www.nursinghomeabusecenter.org/nursing-home-abuse-resources/wrongful-death.html>