When people choose to move their loved ones into nursing homes, they are generally doing so because they want them to get the best possible care for their situation. By making this decision, they are displaying a large amount of trust in the facility. This trust is usually based on the assumption that the facility will meet their loved one's needs.
However, sometimes that trust is misplaces and care facilities do not provide the adequate care families expect. Even worse, they sometimes allow the abuse or negligence of their patients. When this happens on the facility's property, they may be held legally accountable.
Duty of care
By agreeing to care for patients, nursing homes and other care facilities take on a responsibility to provide care and to keep residents safe from foreseeable harm. This is often known as a duty of care. If the facility fails to exercise reasonable foresight and caution and it results in a patient being harmed, the facility may be considered negligent.
What is negligence?
Let us imagine that someone at a nursing home spilled a beverage on a floor. In response, an employee mops up the spill and leaves. If the floor was still wet from mopping and a resident slips, falls and gets injured because the employee failed to set out a sign warning people of the potential slipping hazard, the employee would be considered negligent.
Negligence means that some entity should have reasonably foreseen a potential hazard and should have taken reasonable steps to prevent that hazard, but they did not and their (lack of) action resulted in someone's harm.
Types of negligence
It should be noted that negligence can come in many different forms. Some more common forms include,
· Negligent supervision
· Negligent hiring
· Failure to maintain a safe environment
· Failure to provide adequate treatment
Any one of these could result in serious harm for a resident. Because of the high potential for harm and the abuse of trust that results, there can be very serious consequences for facilities and/or their employees if they are found to be legally negligent.
These types of cases can be difficult to prove though. Fortunately, you do not have to go about the process without help. If you find yourself in a situation where you think your loved one has been the victim of negligence, it is highly recommended that you obtain the services of an experienced and knowledgeable legal professional.