How Common Are Cases Involving Nursing Home Negligence Or Abuse?
Nursing home cases are part of a broad category of cases we call ‘vulnerable adult cases’ in Arizona. Any adult who is unable to care for themselves and depends on someone else to assist them with the majority of their daily activities is categorized as a vulnerable adult. Abuse in a nursing home can happen in a hospital setting or in a standard nursing home or skilled care facility. It can happen in an assisted living or senior independent living setting as well.
Anytime someone does not meet the standard of care that applies to that kind of caregiver, whether it’s a nurse, a certified nursing assistant, or a doctor, and the victim is a vulnerable adult, there is a potential vulnerable adult claim. The state statute that deals with these claims is the Adult Protective Services Act (APSA). Unfortunately, these claims are very common.
Who Could Potentially Be Held Liable In A Nursing Home Negligence/Abuse Case?
Any licensed individual who is supposed to be giving care to a person in a nursing home or other care giver setting can be liable for falling below the standard of care. There are many ways in which a caregiver can fall below the standard of care, or the level of care that a licensed person is required to observe. Proving that they fell below the standard of care can be difficult and require hiring experts in the nursing or adult care industry. A violation of the Adult Protective Services Act may be negligent medical care, or it may come from mishandling a patient or dropping a patient. Claims can arise when adults with dementia are not given proper supervision and wander off or fall. Decubitis ulcers, or bed sores, are another common problem for adults who cannot change position in bed without assistance.
Can I Represent A Loved One In A Nursing Home Abuse / Negligence Case If They Are Unable TO Represent Themselves?
Oftentimes, if a person is not able to represent themselves, there’s already someone with a power of attorney who can make decisions for that person. They can sign everything that needs to be signed in order to proceed with a claim. Sadly, there are nursing home cases that end in death, and in those cases, the surviving loved ones can make a claim for the wrongful death of their deceased family member.
What Steps Should Someone Take If They Suspect A Loved One Has Been The Victim Of Nursing Home Negligence Or Abuse?
Anyone who suspects that their loved one has been a victim of negligence should contact an attorney as soon as possible. They should also report the suspected abuse or neglect to the staff of any facility where their loved one is supposed to be receiving care. Oftentimes, poor care can be corrected quickly without much harm to the vulnerable adult. If there is poor care but no harm suffered, you won’t have a legal claim to make. In those cases where it’s too late and serious harm has resulted, it’s important to contact an attorney as soon as possible so the attorney can get all of the records and get the case reviewed by a qualified expert. It also may be necessary to move the family member to a different facility so that the proper care can begin to be received.