nursing home negligence

Nursing home care in New York provides much-needed support to many families that find it difficult to care for their elders at home. Most such long-term care facilities provide thorough details regarding the medical support staff, equipment, and amenities available on the premises and promise to provide the best possible care to the elder whom you commit to their care.

When you make the tough decision to place your loved family member under the care of a nursing home for a fee, you have every right to expect that they will be provided the promised level of care and support. While most long-term care and assisted living facilities in NYC do provide reasonable care, it is vital that you remain alert to the possibility of negligence in these places that may cause nursing home injury to your loved ones.

How Prevalent is Elder Abuse or Neglect in Nursing Homes in NYC?

A 2014 study released by the US Inspector General showed that 33% of persons admitted to nursing homes suffer harm due to insufficient care and monitoring. Another 2017 survey of 624 nursing homes by the New York State Department of Health revealed 13,440 cases of abuse or neglect of elders. Of these cases, 1,270 involved instances of violence, threats to withhold care, and actual neglect.

These figures are indeed alarming, for they point to the dangers our elders face in a system where profits are seen as more important than providing humane care. If your loved one has suffered an injury or illness due to negligence of nursing home care, it is important that you consult a knowledgeable attorney who has prior experience in dealing with nursing home abuse cases in New York City.

Types of Injuries Caused By Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse

Abuse or negligence or medical malpractice in a nursing home can cause its residents to suffer several different types of injuries. The most common examples include:

  • Bruises, lacerations, cuts, and scrapes
  • Sprains and injuries to soft tissue
  • Head, neck, and back injuries
  • Broken bones due to falls leading to hip fractures
  • Organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia
  • In cases of severe abuse, the outcome may be even death

Hip Fractures

Fractures of the hip are one of the most common types of nursing home injuries and are quite likely to result in death. In fact, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that close to 55% of patients in nursing homes who suffered a hip fracture lost their ability to function independently within 6 months of the fracture. The study also found that 36.2% of patients with such a fracture in nursing homes died within 6 months of sustaining the injury.

Falls

Falls are quite common in nursing homes where patients may not be adequately supervised or assisted and therefore, they get out of bed or walk around alone. In some cases, when no assistance is provided to elders who call for help to go the bathroom, they may be forced to make the trip alone, and suffer a fall. The absence of bed rails and patient restraints may also cause elders to fall out of the bed in which they were sleeping.

Bed Sores

Bedsores are yet another common type of injury that arise due to poor nursing and medical care. Patients who are immobile and cannot turn around independently when lying in bed need help to turn at least once every two hours or so. When such care is not provided, bed sores or decubitus ulcers are a definite possibility, especially in the lower spine region. Bedsores can be extremely painful and if not treated correctly, they can result in severe systemic infections.

A patient who has passed urine when lying in bed and not been provided the necessary cleaning care may also develop sores due to the dampness in contact with their skin.

Accidents

Patients with impaired memory or dementia have been known to wander out of the nursing home premises when unsupervised. Such elders are quite likely to be hit by bicyclists or motorists when they wander onto a busy road.

What are the Causes of New York Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?

Neglect and abuse of elders in nursing homes may be a result of several factors. The most common ones include one or more of the following:

  • Inadequate nursing home staff
  • Incompetent medical or nursing staff
  • Inadequate amenities to meet elders’ requirements
  • Unscrupulous nursing home employees who have been hired without a thorough background check
  • Insufficient maintenance of the nursing home premises
  • Lack of necessary medical equipment or equipment in poor working condition
  • Inadequate cleaning and sanitation of the nursing home premises

Types of Abuse That Elders May Suffer in Nursing Homes in New York City

Abuse in nursing homes may take different forms including physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. These may be perpetrated by nursing home staff or, if supervision is lax, even by other residents of the nursing home.

  • Physical abuse covers acts of hitting, punching, pushing, dragging, slapping, burning, or other acts that cause physical harm to an elder.
  • Emotional abuse refers to acts of threatening, name-calling, using harmful language, and manipulative behavior with elders.
  • Unwanted touching or sexual behavior without the consent of a nursing home patient constitutes sexual abuse.
  • Mismanagement of an elder’s funds or assets and/or taking away their possessions is a form of financial abuse.

How to Detect Nursing Home Abuse in New York?

When you place your loved one in a nursing home, it is with implicit trust in the persons who manage and run it. Neglect and abuse may be things that you think happen to other people but definitely not to your family member. However improbable the idea seems to you, it is vital to keep an eye out for the following warning signs that indicate that your loved one may be facing neglect or abuse in a New York City nursing home:

  • Sudden, unexplained, extreme weight loss
  • Untreated cuts, wounds, bruises, or bedsores
  • Bruising in a manner that indicates the use of restraints
  • Torn clothing
  • Poor personal hygiene that manifests as an unpleasant odor
  • Lice or fleas or dirt on the patient or in their room

If you notice any of these signs in your family member who is being cared for in a nursing home, it could be an indication of neglect or abuse and you ought to take steps to combat it with the help of a dedicated NYC nursing home injury lawyer.

Steps in Filing a Complaint Against Nursing Home Abuse in NYC

If you find a loved one at the receiving end of abuse in a New York nursing home, here are the steps you need to take immediately:

  1. First, remove your loved ones from the facility where they are housed.
  2. File a complaint by calling the Nursing Home Complaint Hotline that functions 24/7.
  3. Fill out and submit the Nursing Home Complaint Online Form provided online by the State of New York.

Staff members of the nursing home who have witnessed the mistreatment or neglect of an elder may submit an Incident Reporting Form through the Health Commerce System.

All complaints are directed to the Centralized Complaint Intake Unit and treated with due seriousness. This body conducts a meeting with the patient, the staff of the nursing home, and any other persons who are relevant to the case.

Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in NYC Today

If your loved one has suffered abuse and neglect in a New York nursing home, all the persons who were charged with caring for them may be liable for any injuries sustained.

If your loved one has been victimized, you can claim compensation for the medical expenses incurred as well as the pain and suffering and emotional distress that they have undergone. You could also recover money for the expense involved in moving to a new nursing home, loss of enjoyment of life, and for any financial exploitation that may have taken place. 

Proving abuse and neglect in New York nursing homes is not a simple task. The legal process to seek compensation for your loss and damage suffered often includes federal as well as state regulations and testimony from medical experts well-versed with geriatric care. Managing all this on your own while you struggle to come to terms with the dreadful experience of your loved one being hurt can be quite an uphill task.

At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, our elder abuse attorneys have several years of experience in handling such cases of nursing home negligence in NYC. We can help review your case to determine liability for the neglect and engage leading medical and healthcare professionals to prove that the nursing home breached the legal standard of care.

Our attorneys will also file all the necessary paperwork and attend legal proceedings and make sure to build a strong case that gets you the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. To learn more about how we can help you, do call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 1-800-660-2264 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.

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