From studies presented by the National Council on Aging, an estimated one in 10 Americans over the age of 60 has suffered from some form of elder abuse. Some estimates show 5 million older Americans experience abuse each year, and elder abuse comes in many different forms: physical, sexual, emotional, confinement, negligence, deprivation, and financial. To prove your loved one’s pain and suffering in a nursing home abuse case, though, requires the collection of evidence.
Pain and Suffering in Nursing Homes
There are two ways that elderly residents of nursing homes may endure pain and suffering due to nursing home abuse.
- Elderly residents can experience pain and suffering in nursing homes when the resident has a medical condition that causes pain, and the nursing home staff is negligent and fails to provide an assessment of a resident’s pain or provide pain medication to relieve a patient’s pain.
- Nursing home residents can also experience pain and suffering in nursing homes due to direct physical or emotional nursing home abuse from the nursing home staff.
In the first case, the nursing home staff is negligent in their duty to provide appropriate medical care and treatment to their residents who suffer from pain due to a medical condition. In the second case, the nursing home staff directly caused the pain and suffering of the elderly resident due to their physical or emotional abuse towards the resident. Both types of neglect and abuse cause residents’ pain and suffering.
Nursing Home Resident Rights
The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA), which includes the Nursing Home Reform Act, specifically mandates that nursing home residents have the right to appropriate monitoring and relief from pain through accepted medical practices of pain management. Many states enacted guidelines that require nursing homes to cooperate with federal regulations to ensure that nursing home residents receive proper treatment for their pain and suffering. Pain and suffering needs immediate documentation, regular monitoring, and treatment according to doctor recommendations.
Additionally, a continual reassessment of the resident’s pain and suffering should occur to determine if there are any changes to the resident’s pain and suffering levels. Certain conditions need reassessment weekly, along with documentation. Unfortunately, documentation rarely occurs and can be an additional sign of negligence related to a resident’s pain and suffering.
Proving Pain and Suffering Due to Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
If you believe your elderly loved one in a nursing home has not received proper treatment for their pain and suffering, or believe that their pain and suffering is a result of abuse by the nursing home staff, you should contact both the supervisor of the nursing home and the attending physician.
If you believe that your elderly loved one endured pain and suffering due to nursing home abuse, you will need to prove that pain and suffering occurred. Some of the ways to prove pain and suffering include:
- If your loved one can communicate their nursing home abuse and pain and suffering, this will serve as valuable testimony in their claim.
- Demonstrating through medical records that the nursing home failed to document the pain and suffering of your elderly loved one.
- Obtaining your elderly loved one’s medication administration records (MARs) used by the nursing home staff that indicates that staff only administered pain medication on an as-needed basis. This evidence will prove that your elderly loved one suffered from pain, and a doctor prescribed medication, which staff did not give correctly, in a timely manner, or when they were in actual pain.
- Prescriptions from attending physicians indicating the resident needed pain medication.
- Obtaining all notes of doctors, nurses, or nursing home staff to determine if documentation of any pain and suffering exists (or the absence of documentation), as well as any pain medication provided (and possibly stopped or given erratically).
- Obtaining family member testimony that confirms that the elderly nursing home resident suffered from pain, which was unaddressed or poorly addressed by the nursing home staff. It is important to note that some ways to identify an elderly loved one suffering or in pain can include restlessness, grimacing, clammy hands or skin, sweating, groaning, or crying out in pain. These family member testimonies are particularly useful when an elderly resident has cognitive impairment issues such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Contact a Nursing Home Lawyer
If your elderly loved one suffered any kind of abuse in a nursing home that resulted in pain or suffering, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 794-0444 to help you prove their pain and suffering and ensure the protection of your legal rights. We do not shy away from tough cases, and we work on a contingency basis, so you do not pay any attorney’s fees unless you recover compensation.