With many members of our society and the Baby Boomer generation growing older, the demand for skilled nursing home care and health care services is on the rise and will continue to grow. Unfortunately, there are fewer nursing home facilities available today than in the past years and the goal is profit. The result is that these large nursing home companies place profit over people.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) Nursing Home Data Compendium published in 2015, the number of nursing homes in the U.S. has continued to decline since 2005. According to the CMS report, the vast majority of nursing home facilities are “For-Profit.” The CMS Report can be viewed here.
WHAT IS NURSING HOME ABUSE & NEGLECT?
It can be present in many different forms. Commonly, nursing home neglect is related to failure to ensure adequate care and attention is provided leading to dehydration, falls, malnutrition, bed sores or pressure ulcers, infections, medication errors, over medication, unlawful restraint, or outright physical abuse by other residents or staff. This type of neglect is typically the product of under staffing and inadequate training by the nursing home companies.
Nursing home abuse and neglect cases in Tennessee can be difficult and complex. They are covered by Tennessee laws applicable to medical malpractice cases, and as such are subject to many requirements not common in other personal injury and wrongful death cases.
We have the resources these cases require. Nursing home abuse and neglect cases require fast action and thorough investigation. The entire medical chart must be obtained as soon as possible and experts must be consulted. In addition to obtaining the medical records and consulting with experts, we employ private investigators to seek out the crucial information that is often not documented in the medical chart. In addition to reviewing the lack of medical care and attention, there must be a thorough investigation into who will be the correct defendants. Commonly, nursing home companies will establish many subsidiary companies and Limited Liability Companies to operate a particular nursing home. There may also be a different company that employs the nurses and staff at a particular nursing home. Identifying the correct companies that will be at fault is a crucial step in the investigation process.
WARNING SIGNS OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT
While a nursing home abuse and neglect case can arise from many different situations, the following are common signs to look for that may indicate a loved was the victim of abuse or neglect:
- Complaints about painful blisters or abrasions
- Bed Sores or Pressure Ulcers
- Unexplained, new or frequent Injuries, bruises or cuts
- Significant Weight Loss
- Abrupt Changes in Physical Conditions or Mental Alertness
- Recurrent Falls
- Falls soon after admission
- Frequently soiled bedding and clothes
- Sudden Personality Changes
- Unexpected or unexplained transfers to the hospital
- Transfer to hospital with sepsis (infections)
- Refusal of Visitation;
- Attacks and Assaults by other residents
- Wandering outside of the Facility or elopement
If you believe a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, don’t stand by and hope things get better. In today’s medical world, we must all be proactive towards our medical care. You should, first, report your concerns to the administrator and management at the nursing home. If the concerns are not appropriately addressed or if conditions continue to worsen, it may be time to consult an attorney.
ABITRATION AGREEMENTS – BEWARE OF THE FINE PRINT
At the time of admission to a nursing home, the patients and their families are understandably in a very vulnerable state. We all know that when we’re admitted to a healthcare facility, there will be several forms to sign. What many don’t realize is that within those forms and papers the nursing home gives you to sign is a contract which requires that the resident or his/her family participate in binding arbitration instead of a jury trial should an incident occur. These agreements waive the patient’s constitutional rights to a jury trial, and, instead, require that all disputes go through a private, confidential arbitration process. These agreements serve only the nursing homes. They require that a paid arbitrator decide your case instead of jury and whatever the arbitrator decides is final. Often these agreements also require that the resident pay half of the arbitration expenses, which can be several thousand dollars in some instances and place a huge burden on the patient. No matter what the nursing home tells you, DO NOT SIGN. If the nursing home tells you that you must sign the arbitration agreement to be admitted to the facility, make them put that in writing or record the conversation.
We handle nursing home cases all over Middle Tennessee, including the following areas: Columbia, Spring Hill, Nashville, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Lawrenceburg, Pulaski, Lewisburg, Winchester, Tullahoma, Fayetteville Waynesboro, Centerville, Hohenwald, Shelbyville, Linden, Maury County, Lawrence County, Williamson County, Rutherford County, Davidson County, Giles County, Marshall County, Bedford County, Wayne County, Hickman County, Lewis County, Lincoln County, Coffee County, Moore County, and Perry County.