Forms of Nursing Home Negligence
ELI5: Negligence

If you’ve got a loved one in an assisted living facility, you know just how difficult the situation can be. In a lot of these cases, it’s clear that a relative needs a little extra help caring for themselves but, even after families find a good residential living facility, they continue to worry about whether or not their relative is getting the care they need. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, and you’re concerned that they may not have gotten the appropriate level of care, it’s important to know that your loved one may be eligible for compensation for their injuries.

Negligent Supervision

Negligent supervision is a broad concept. When discussing nursing home negligence, negligent supervision can apply to employees and residents. Those working in the assisted care facility have a responsibility to provide residents with an appropriate level of supervision. If employees allow cognitively impaired patients to go outside unsupervised, the assisted living facility may be liable if a resident is injured while outside. In the worst cases, an impaired person can go outside in bad or very cold weather and if not found quickly the result can be tragic. So, the facility is responsible for ensuring that they provide their residents with an appropriate level of supervision. But they’re also responsible for ensuring that their employees are supervised as well. For example, if an employee begins diverting pain medicine, and infects a patient with a blood-borne illness in the process, the facility could be liable for the infection if their lack of supervision allowed the employee to divert the pain medicine.

Premises Liability

Slip and fall is the most classic example of a premises liability lawsuit. Obviously, a nursing home is responsible for making sure that all spills are cleaned up in a timely manner. But they’re also responsible for ensuring that the facility doesn’t pose any risks toward the patient. For example, if the air conditioner stops working, the facility needs to make arrangements for the patients to have a comfortable environment, and repair the air conditioner as soon as possible. If the facility was to fail to act, and a patient had a heat stroke, the facility could be liable for the patient’s heat stroke. Assisted living facilities also need to make sure all hazardous waste is properly disposed of, and the environment is free of hazards that could cause illness. Security of the facility is also important to make sure that people that belong inside stay inside, and those that don’t stay out. 

Negligent Hiring

Nursing homes are responsible for making sure the people they hire have the proper qualifications and do not have a history of harming patients intentionally or otherwise. An assisted living facility needs to take reasonable measures to verify that their employees really do have the education, certification, and qualifications they’re alleging to have. If an assisted living facility fails to do this, and a patient is harmed because of it, they may be liable for the patient’s injuries. Alternatively, if an employee has a known history of harming patients at previous jobs, and then they harm a patient at their present place of employment, the assisted care facility could be liable since they hired a person they knew, or reasonably should have known, could harm a patient.

Negligent Retention

An assisted living facility is responsible for firing employees who pose a danger to patients. If a patient is harmed by an employee, and the assisted care facility doesn’t take enough reasonable precautions to prevent another incident from occurring, the assisted care facility could be liable if another patient is injured by the employee. A nursing home may also be liable for terminating employees if it turns out that the employee does not have the necessary qualifications to do the job they’ve been hired to do. So, if a nursing home finds out one of the CNAs doesn’t have the proper certifications, that nursing home could be liable for any injuries the employee causes if they continue to knowingly employ someone without the proper training and certifications.

When to Be on the Lookout

If you have a loved one in an assisted living facility, it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of abuse and neglect. Even the best facilities can hire the wrong employees. Pay attention to any unexplained bruises or injuries you loved one has. If your loved one is sick, or has a minor injury, pay attention to the length of time it takes for them to get the care they need. If illnesses go on too long, they can become life threatening. It may also be a good idea to pay attention to other residents in the facility. If other residents have poor hygiene, lots of injuries, or appear to be malnourished, it may be a good idea to pay close attention to the care your relative is receiving.

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