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Nursing home claims on the rise.

Wallace and Graham’s attorneys are assisting families with nursing home malpractice and injury claims.  We are investigating cases of nursing home patients who fall and are injured, serious elder injuries from abuse and lack of care, and nursing home wrongful deaths. 

Also, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed a new spotlight on nursing home care. For elders inside of nursing homes this virus poses a great risk.  It is very important for nursing home operators to invest the time and money in managing and protecting these facilities.  

And these nursing home settings, which are also known as “congregate care” settings, have proven to be entry points for the disease to spread further to our communities.  The first large reported outbreak in the United States was in Washington State at a nursing home facility called the Life Care Center of Kirkland.  That nursing home was linked to dozens of coronavirus deaths in February 2020.  Government inspectors found a range of problems in how the facility prepared for and managed the Coronavirus danger. 

Wallace and Graham is now representing family members and elders regarding an outbreak at a facility called the Citadel at Salisbury.  This nursing home had a large outbreak which family members believe was preventable and badly managed.  The official government figures for illness and death from that facility as of June 12, 2020 came up to 168 cases of the COVID-19 illness and 18 deaths.  Wallace and Graham believes the real numbers are still higher.

However, the problems with nursing homes unfortunately go beyond COVID-19.  In recent years, more and more nursing home facilities have been taken over by private, for-profit operators.  This trend has led to dangerous situations in which the desire to maximize profits for the company has resulted in efforts to cut costs and lower quality of care.  The elders have suffered from lack of care, bedsores, broken bones and other serious problems.

Meanwhile, more and more families have had to put their loved ones in these facilities.  The population of older citizens with Alzheimer’s disease and other infirmities is increasing. Some families have sent their elders and loved ones to adult care homes for assistance.  Others have had to go to skilled nursing facilities which provide greater care for more disabled patients.  The problem, according to studies on the subject, is that the quality of care can often leave much to be desired.

Many for-profit nursing homes are understaffed.  This is a labor-intensive industry.  But some of the owners and operators offer poor pay and little management support.  Often, they put profits over people.  The result that there can be high employee turnover.  And skilled nursing staff do not have the support they need.  When residents lack adequate care, some of the resulting incidents can include:

  • Severe falls, causing broken bones and fractures.   Residents may fall out of beds that lack proper bedrails, or, they can fall to the floor when there is not enough staffing to care for them and help them go to the bathroom, for bathing, etc.
  • Large and dangerous bedsores on the patients.  These bedsores result from a breakdown of skin health.  When residents are left too long unattended, bedsores can develop and grow worse.
  • Death due to lack of timely medication, diet and attendance.  Many nursing home patients need to stay on regular medication to avoid catastrophic consequences.
  • Abuse of disabled and elder residents.  Sometimes it can be hard for family members to know if abuse is occurring to their loved one, because they may not be in a position to speak for themselves. 
  • Failure to provide private-pay services.  Many residents may have family members and sponsors who are paying out of their own pocket for special or optional services, private rooms, or additional care.  However, for-profit cost-cutting efforts can result in skimping on services or worse. 

Wallace and Graham attorneys are investigating claims by nursing home residents and their families about serious injuries of their loved ones.  We believe this is a very important issue as our population grows older and ordinary families rely on these homes for care.

FAQs

What are the signs of physical abuse?

Signs of physical abuse can include unexplained injuries, bruises, broken bones, broken eyeglasses, and signs of being restrained such as rope marks.

Also, abuse can result from the use of unnecessary medical procedures performed in order to claim reimbursement from insurance or Medicare. 

What are the signs of emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse of an elder can often be more difficult to spot than physical abuse.  The signs include negative behavior by caregiver toward the patient in your presence, and withdrawn behaviors on the part of the patient. 

What are the signs of sexual abuse?

Evidence of sexual abuse can include bleeding or bruising around sex organs, unexplained sexual disease, and torn or stained underclothing. 

What are the signs of financial abuse?

There have also been reported cases of financial abuse and of caregivers taking advantage of a patient’s financial situation.  Examples of this can include forging the patient’s signature, having donations made to phony charities, and having the patient participate in phony raffles.  Look for suspicious financial activity, missed bill payments, and sudden changes in financial condition.