Investigation of Potential Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuits Involving Residents Who Continue to Reside at the Target Nursing Home Facility -- Challenging Situation With No Easy Answers

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We frequently speak with families who wish to have potential nursing home negligence cases investigated while their family member or loved one simultaneously continues to reside in the target nursing home.  A typical scenario involves a nursing home resident who develops bedsores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers) during their stay at the nursing home.  The family eventually learns of the wounds and become frustrated as they continually find that their loved one: (1) has soiled themselves, and is dirty and not receiving adequate hygiene care; (2) has not been repositioned or turned; (3) is not receiving adequate hydration and nutrition; (3) is being left in a wheelchair or a Geri-chair without being repositioned for long periods of time; and/or (4) is not receiving regular wound care or medical attention.  The family complains to the nursing home staff regarding these issues, but their complaints are ignored.  The resident's bedsores continue to get worse, become infected and progress to stage 3 and then stage 4.  The resident is in and out of the hospital for wound care, wound debridement and treatment of osteomyelitis (bone infection) and sepsis (blood infection), and then transferred back to the nursing home.

We counsel families faced with these difficult circumstances to focus on the health and immediate well-being  and safety of their loved one.  Putting aside the merits of any potential lawsuit, a family considering suing a nursing home has obviously lost complete confidence in the nursing home's ability to care for their loved one.  As such, in a perfect world, the family should try to locate alternative care arrangements and have the resident transferred as soon as possible.  Everyone knows, however, that the world is far from perfect and that it can be extremely challenging to locate alternative care for many reasons including health insurance coverage issues, Medicare or Medicaid coverage issues, and/or the location of the facility.

In those circumstances where it is not feasible to move the patient, the family should be very careful that the nursing home does not become aware that a potential lawsuit is being investigated so that the patient's care is not compromised.  In these circumstances, our law firm may request medical records from outside hospitals and wound care centers in order to obtain additional information regarding the patient's condition and prognosis.  Based upon the information contained in the medical records, our firm's lawyers can help further counsel the family through this difficult situation in a manner that protects the resident from potential harm.  In the right circumstances, the family may also be directed to request medical records from the nursing home in order to help further facilitate the investigation. 

At the end of the day, these are very difficult issues and each circumstance must be evaluated and treated on a case-by-case basis.  The first concern must always be the health, safety and well-being of the nursing home resident.  The potential lawsuit is secondary and appropriate steps should be taken to ensure that the nursing home resident's health and safety are not jeopardized. 

Please feel free to contact the nursing home neglect lawyers at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if you believe that a family member or loved one has sustained serious injury or wrongful death as a result of bed sores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), nursing home falls, dehydration/malnutrition, medication administration error/prescription mistake, elder abuse or elder neglect.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by David Feldstein published on September 14, 2009 8:47 AM.

Requests for Admission of Facts -- An Underused Discovery Tool in Maryland Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuits -- Sample Requests in Decubitus Ulcer (Bedsore) Wrongful Death Case was the previous entry in this blog.

Preventing Heel Ulcers in the Non-Ambulatory Nursing Home Patient Population is the next entry in this blog.

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