Nursing Home Litigation

Nursing Home Litigation

Helping handsRepresenting New Jersey Clients in Nursing Home Legal Matters

The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 states that every nursing home resident has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, free from abusive and negligent behavior. Today, there are more than 1.5 million people being cared for in nursing homes every year. Nursing homes, and the people who work in them, sometimes cause physical, mental or psychosocial harm. These cases can be intentional or the result of negligence.  Nursing home malpractice is a widespread, growing form of abuse in the United States. Sadly, these situations are substantially under-reported.

We believe that it is your right to start legal proceedings against nursing homes if someone you care about is hurt because of abuse or neglect. Not everyone who resides in a nursing home is old, but everyone is vulnerable to being victimized. Perpetrators of neglect or abuse include employees, administration, volunteers and other residents.  Abuse, while typically physical, can also come in the form of emotional and financial abuse.

Nursing homes are required to maintain adequate staffing levels to prevent neglect and/or abuse from happening. If the nursing home does not maintain these minimum standards of care, they may be held accountable for the injuries caused. If you or a loved one needs the quality legal services of Cohn Lifland, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Causes for Litigation

Nursing homes have an obligation to treat patients well. In some cases, legal intervention is necessary. Cohn Lifland has handled countless cases of physical and sexual abuse, including assault and battery, unreasonable physical restraint, unnecessary restriction to one’s room and cases where caretakers were caught slapping, pushing, shaking and beating residents. Our firm has effectively litigated matters of medical neglect, including poor access to medical services and medication errors. Cohn Lifland assists families through neglect in care, including unsanitary conditions, failure to assist in personal hygiene, failure to protect from health and safety hazards, and failure to prevent dehydration, malnutrition, falls and bedsores. If you need an experienced law firm to passionately advocate on your behalf, contact Cohn Lifland.

Picking the Right New Jersey Nursing Home

When picking a nursing home, it is important to do your research. No matter how hard you try to select the best nursing home for your loved one, there are times when things do not work out well. As a consumer and protector of your loved one, it is not only important to research the nursing home before you select it, but also monitor your loved one’s care once he or she is admitted. We suggest that you dine with your loved one to see how and what they are eating. Listen for how staff responds to cries for help. Smell for overpowering, continuing odors that may be a sign of unsanitary conditions. Speak to the staff and ask if they work a lot of overtime and double shifts. Monitor how the staff interacts with each other. If you see disrespectful conduct from staff who work more than they should, this could be a sign of an overworked and overstressed staff. Monitor how residents spend their afternoons. A good nursing home will have a schedule of activities. If your loved one is bound to the room, activities should be brought to him or her.  

There are deficiencies in nursing homes. Some function well and some do not. You and your loved one may be pleased with the first home you join. If you are not, you need to act quickly and, in some cases, consider your legal options.

Neglect

When a loved one has been neglected in a nursing home and  bedsores or contractures develop, you are their best advocate. Work within the nursing home first in order get the care that your loved one needs. You should make sure that the staff is on top of the situation and force them to provide acceptable care. When you are satisfied with the level of care, consider your legal options. You should document any problems by taking photos of evidence you believe is important, including unsanitary conditions and bedsores. When you speak with an attorney, he or she can assess your situation, guide you through your legal options, and passionately advocate on behalf of your family.

Bedsores

A bedsore is an injury that develops when a patient is not moved. Pressure develops in a given area that breaks down the tissue, leading to the formation of an ulcer. The most prominent area where this occurs is at the very base of the spine. Bedsores also develop on the heels of the feet. If the heels are not elevated or they are pressing against the mattress, bedsores can develop. Unfortunately, when you visit your loved one, you will usually not be able to monitor for bedsores. Most of the time, you are not dressing them or helping them take showers. You are seeing them in bed. The hospital is supposed to be documenting them, and the staff is supposed to be changing their position frequently. If you believe that your loved one is not monitored, checked, supervised and cared for appropriately, contact an attorney.

Contractures?

A contracture is a medical condition in which normal, elastic and flexible skeletal muscle tissue turns into rigid, inelastic and fiber-like tissue. Muscles and tendons may become shortened and stiff in a fixed position, preventing normal movement. Contractures are the result of prolonged periods of inactivity and immobility. Contractures are preventable. If they are allowed to develop, one would need medical intervention to alleviate the problem. Often, the nursing home staff is to blame for the condition. In some cases, unnecessary restraints have led to cases of contractures developing. Nursing home staff members are obligated to work with residents to increase mobility in the fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles in order to avoid contractures. Over time, patients who suffer from contractures are less and less able to care for themselves. In addition, when a resident of a nursing home develops a contracture, they are harder to be cared for by the staff. If your loved one’s nursing home is not caring for your family member adequately, this condition can result is a decline in quality of life. If you believe your loved one has developed a contracture because of the negligence of the nursing home staff, contact our firm today.

Contact Cohn Lifland

Cohn Lifland believes that nursing homes have an obligation to offer excellent care for residents. When they don’t meet the standard of care mandated by the law, our firm intervenes on behalf of the victimized families. In order to protect your loved one from the pitfalls of a poor nursing home, it is important to consider legal action when faced with signs of neglect and abuse. A variety of factors can lead to the need for litigation. Allow our compassionate team of attorneys to evaluate your case and educate you on the law. We will passionately and effectively litigate your matter if the case goes to court. If you need our quality legal services, contact Cohn Lifland.  

Contact:

Lee S. Goldsmith, M.D.

Cohn, Lifland, Pearlman, Herrmann and Knopf LLP
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