Medical negligence is always devastating, but when a member of your family is being cared for in a nursing home, with their direct care out of your hands, it can be particularly upsetting. Medical negligence within care homes is unfortunately common and in a lot of cases, it can result in secondary conditions that must be treated with surgery and in some cases, even death. Below are 5 of the most common nursing home medical negligence claims.
Dehydration and Malnutrition
Elderly patients may not be able to feed themselves or be able to understand when they are hungry or thirsty and as such, staff at a nursing home may have to help them feed themselves or give them a drink of water. Some patients should also be on a 24-hour drip in order to deliver the nutrition needed.
Often, patients tell of being unable to eat a plate of food put in front of them, with the plate being taken away an hour later with no attempt to help them eat it. Others may become fatigued and confused and this may be a result of dehydration, rather than anything more sinister. Malnourished patients will appear thin and frail and may also show symptoms such as confusion. Luckily, dehydration and malnutrition can be reversed – but if they get severe enough, they can result in death.
Bedsores – also known as pressure sores – are very common but they are also very preventable. When a patient isn’t moved for long periods of time and spends all day in one position in bed, they can develop bedsores.
Failure to properly prevent bedsores, and to treat bedsores when they occur, can result in sore, open wounds, infections, and the need for further surgery. Bedsores can be very painful and because they can be easily prevented, it is not acceptable when a patient develops bedsores – particularly if they go untreated.
Faster than Expected Deterioration of Health
Patients in nursing homes do tend to get sicker and sicker over a period of time. Negligent care, however, could result in a faster than expected deterioration of health – symptoms of a disease may appear more quickly, the patient may suddenly become confused and bewildered despite no previous symptoms of dementia, they may fall more frequently or they just might not seem very well. These things could all be caused by a general deterioration of health – but they might also be caused by negligence on behalf of the nursing home. If you have suspicions, raise them.
Bruises on the patient’s arms and legs, scratches, cuts, and any unexplained marks or bruising could all add up to medically negligent care. If the nursing staff explains away the marks as “just caused by a fall”, but your family member says otherwise or does not remember falling, it could mean that they are suffering at the hands of negligent staff.
Unfortunately, many patients experience physical and mental abuse while in a nursing home. Although there are thousands of care homes across the world that provide spectacular care, there is also a number that is negligent in their care towards patients and even abusive.
If a patient is being abused, they will usually become withdrawn and “not themselves” but they might also come right out and tell you that they are being abused. They might flinch at a certain member of staff coming into their room and personal belongings of theirs might have gone missing. Abuse can be hidden, however, and so if you suspect abuse it’s vital that you get help.