Nursing homes are meant to provide living arrangements for elderly people who are no longer able to care for themselves. This means that they need to not only provide for their residents’ needs but do so with constant vigilance. Unfortunately, nursing home negligence occurs frequently, and many senior citizens in New Jersey and all over the country suffer in their health because of it. Here is what you need to know about nursing home negligence.
What Exactly is Nursing Home Negligence?
Nursing home negligence is when nursing homes fail to provide proper care and a healthy environment for their residents. Negligence can take many forms, including:
- Errors with medication
- Mistreatment or lack of treatment of conditions or disease
- Failure to offer a sufficiently nutritious diet, which can lead to malnutrition
- Failure to offer a sufficient amount of water, which can lead to dehydration
- Failure to prevent or treat bedsores (sores that develop on the body after lying in bed for a long period of time without changing or shifting position)
- Physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse
- Failure to prevent residents from falling or providing timely assistance in getting upright
- Unsanitary conditions
All these and more conditions can be dangerous for anyone, and especially for people as vulnerable and dependent on the care of others as nursing home residents are. It is crucial that nursing homes see to all the needs of all who live in them.
How Does This Happen?
Nursing home negligence can certainly occur because of malice on the part of one or more members of the staff. Sadly, while the ideals of the profession are to serve all patients and care for all patients, not everyone in the profession follows them, and elderly people do suffer for this. It would be reckless and misleading to deny this.
Yet, such malice is not always a component of negligence. Many nursing homes are short on staff, and a larger ratio of residents to caregivers can mean fewer people available to provide for the needs of senior citizens. This can mean that they have to spend less time with each person, which can mean accidentally neglecting their needs or providing insufficient care.
With that said, none of these are valid excuses for the failure of a nursing home to fulfill all duties for all residents, especially in the event that someone falls ill or even perishes after being ignored or not having their needs filled. Negligence caused by forgetfulness or a lack of staff is still negligence, and residents still have their rights. This also means that victims, and families of victims, are still entitled to compensation, and they can press charges if they choose.
What Rights Do Nursing Home Residents Have?
Senior citizens of New Jersey are protected under state law through NJSA 30:13-5, also known as the Nursing Home Residents’ Bill of Rights. These include many rights, a few of them being the right to “manage [their] own financial affairs,” phone access, privacy, and managing their own treatment (including the hiring of a “personal physician at [their] own expense or under a health care plan” and the right to refuse medication).
Perhaps most pertinent to this subject is:
“The right to a safe and decent living environment and considerate and respectful care that recognizes the dignity and individuality of the resident, including the right to expect and receive appropriate assessment, management and treatment of pain as an integral component of that person’s care consistent with sound nursing and medical practices.”
If this right or any of the other rights listed under NJSA 30:13-5, then it is a violation of the law. Any resident who believes these rights have been violated, or their families, can absolutely take a nursing home to court and seek compensation.
Anyone who wishes to do so will want to have experienced New Jersey nursing home negligence lawyers by their side, and the attorneys at the Law Offices of James C. Dezao, P.A. are willing and ready to help you. Call Dezao Law today at (973) 358-6134 for a free consultation.