The staff at nursing home facilities have a responsibility to ensure the safety and care of their elderly residents. When elderly residents pass away due to negligent acts of either nursing home employees or administrators, it may be considered a wrongful death.
Wrongful death is a preventable tragedy that claims the lives of elderly loved ones that otherwise would have lived many more years. While elderly loved ones often die in nursing home facilities, they should never die due to the negligence of the staff or management.
Causes of Wrongful Death in Nursing Home Facilities
The death of an elderly loved one is difficult enough, but to learn that the death was a result of negligence or abuse by the nursing home staff is heartbreaking and likely to provoke frustration and anger. The following are common causes of wrongful death in nursing home facilities:
Seniors in nursing homes are often prone to developing infections due to their thin skin, or the fact that they are either bedridden or wheelchair-bound which may result in bedsores. Untreated bedsores, also known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers, are easily treatable in early stages but can cause life-threatening medical issues or even death if left untreated. If left untreated, bedsores are just one of the many causes of wrongful death in a nursing home facility. Additionally, if the nursing home does not properly clean the common areas or residents’ personal areas, bacteria and other viruses can grow and spread, leading to serious issues. For example, sepsis infections can be fatal for seniors in nursing homes, especially when compared to other conditions that typically put nursing home residents in the hospital.
Lack of Supervision
Nursing home residents often suffer from a lack of mobility or issues with their strength. They may need assistance getting in and out of bed, in or out of a wheelchair, or help to go to the bathroom. Often unsupervised residents may try to attempt these activities by themselves. If an elderly resident suffers a fall, this may lead to broken bones, internal damages, a traumatic brain injury, or even death.
Additionally, some residents may attempt elopement if left unsupervised. Elopement from a nursing home is when an elderly resident with cognitive issues such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may leave the nursing home facility due to confusion. Once the elderly resident is out of the control and care of the nursing home, they may become injured or die in an accident.
Nursing homes must provide for the basic needs of residents and ensure their health, safety, and comfort. If the nursing home staff does not provide basic needs such as water or nutritional food, residents can quickly become dehydrated or malnourished. Residents may also experience substantial weight loss or gain, which can lead to death.
Additionally, neglect can include leaving residents unattended for long periods of time in which they soil themselves, causing an increased risk of infection or bedsores which can lead to serious medical conditions or death. Elderly nursing home residents are in these facilities because they are unable to care for themselves. Any form of neglect by nursing home staff or management could lead to a wrongful death.
Most elderly residents of nursing homes require medication for different medical conditions. Nursing home staff members must follow a strict protocol to ensure that each resident receives the proper medication, at the proper time, and in the proper amount. Additionally, nursing home residents must take certain medications with food or water. In other cases, nursing home residents must swallow or apply medication to their extremities.
In many cases, elderly residents may have illnesses that require a strict medication schedule such as dementia, an illness where sufferers may participate in wandering if they do not receive the correct medication dosage. If an elderly resident of a nursing home is ever over or undermedicated, provided the incorrect medication, given the incorrect dosage of medication, or had the medication administered improperly in any way, it can lead to death.
Wrongful Death Claims
If your elderly loved one suffered any form of neglect or abuse that led to their death, you may face medical bills, funeral costs, or other unexpected expenses. You have the right to receive compensation on behalf of your elderly loved one who suffered neglect at the hands of the nursing home employees or management.
Immediate family members such as spouses and children, as well as some other family members in certain cases, can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved one. However, there are strict deadlines regarding the time frame in which these family members may file a wrongful death claim.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If your elderly loved one passed away due to the negligence of the nursing home staff or management, you have the right to receive compensation for their suffering and death. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 933-4159 to help you begin the process to receive compensation for your elderly loved one’s death.