Year after year, the elder population grows. Consequently, more and more families are forced to decide whether to place their loved ones in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Often, our seniors have special needs that are beyond the ability of the family, or even a part-time care giver. Sadly, just because a family member is placed into a long-term care facility does not mean that they are necessarily going to be taken care of. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities have struggled to keep well-trained staff in the past. With the influx of new residents, over-worked staff are pushed to the limit in order to care for an expanding number of beds. The staff-to-resident ratio is now more stretched than ever before, and neglect cases are becoming a common occurrence. Nursing home neglect comes in many shapes and forms, and can result in all types of physical injuries, including disfigurement and permanent disability.
Disfigurement and Permanent Disability is a Serious Problem at Nursing Homes
Disfigurement and permanent disability can often be the result of a fall. Many of the cases handled here at Schenk Smith involve catastrophic loss and physical injury resulting from falls. The country’s elderly, and nursing home residents particularly, are more susceptible to falls. This is due to advanced age, mental incapacity, mobility problems, and coordination deficiencies. Despite what many may think, falls don’t just happen when the resident attempts to walk without assistance. Falls often occur in many other scenarios. Often falls are in full view of the staff. For example, transitioning from bed to walker, or to and from the bathroom. Obviously, seniors are more likely to suffer grave injuries from a fall than younger persons. This makes falls a serious health issue for nursing home and assisted living facility staff.
Nursing Home Staff May Be Held Liable for Physical Injuries
Georgia nursing homes and assisted living facilities may be held liable for the injuries due to falls. These facilities are mandated by law to take appropriate steps to lessen the likelihood of falls. Beginning with an assessment of each resident’s specific risk, nursing homes must then take certain precautions. For example, ensuring that the rooms of high fall-risk residents are within proximity to the nurses station, or implementing hourly rounding procedures. When facilities do not implement these precautions, they can be held responsible for the damages caused.
Sometimes, nursing home staff fail to properly assess the extent of injuries after a fall. For example, failure to assess a fractured bone may result infection and later amputation. In other words, without prompt and attentive care after a fall, non-life-threatening injuries may result in disfigurement or permanent disability. When this happens, the nursing home can be held responsible for the complications caused by their negligence.
Intentional, Wrongful Conduct By Nursing Home Staff May Cause Permanent Disability
Disfigurement and permanent disability can also be a result of intentional, wrongful conduct by nursing home staff. Inadequately personnel, charged with attending to more and more residents, leads to severe injury. In order to complete all tasks during a shift, nursing home staff may get inappropriately physical with residents. This includes physical restraints, improper holds, inappropriately administering sedatives, and isolation. Sometimes, especially when residents lack the mental capacity to make the staff’s job easier, or even where the resident is non-cooperative, the staff may hit or punch the resident. Whether out of frustration, punishment, or to deter the uncooperative behavior, there is absolutely no excuse for such action. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as the guilty staff, may be held liable for injuries resulting from physical abuse and neglect.