Stopping Wrongful Death In Nursing Homes

Wrongful death in nursing homes is a very real occurrence. While pamphlets and tours may show residents happy and cared for, some nursing homes neglect their residents to the point of death. When such a tragedy occurs, there are a number of signs suggesting the truth of what has happened.

Wrongful Deaths in Nursing Homes

Wrongful deaths in nursing homes are often due to neglecting the basic needs of a resident. There are also a number of other causes, such as:

  • Lack of supervision/inadequate staffing
  • Poorly trained staff
  • Poor medical care
  • Unsanitary living environment

Leaving residents unattended for a lengthy period of time can lead to a wrongful death. Oftentimes, this death is in the form of a fall or accident. The reason an elderly person is in a nursing home is to receive supervision and assistance with activities of daily living. When a lack of care occurs, there are a number of dangers present.

Wrongful death is often difficult to prove because the official cause of death is often related to a health condition. While these deaths were technically caused by health conditions, may have been facilitated by poor living conditions and lack of necessary care. Common wrongful death cases involve falls caused by lack of supervision. The elderly residents in nursing homes need workers with them consistently. If this supervision is lacking, it can cause serious accidents. 

Why Wrongful Death Occurs in Nursing Homes

These situations arise for a number of reasons. Poorly trained and understaffed nursing homes are a leading factor in the mistreatment of the elderly in nursing homes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has guidelines for nursing home care according to individual states’ laws. They recommend residents receive at least two hours of care from aides and other activities. Over half of nursing homes currently fall below that statistic. The Department also recommends 12 minutes per day with a registered nurse. Over 30% of nursing homes fall below this standard. With inadequate staffing, nursing homes are having a tough time caring for all of their residents. This has led to an increase in wrongful death cases.

Examples of Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes

One case in Michigan was due to an undertrained and understaffed nursing home. A 51-year-old woman with a tracheotomy tube was cared for in Borgess Gardens Nursing Home in Kalamazoo. She was hospitalized several times for poor care of her tube before dying due to the tube becoming entangled in her bed rail. Cases such as these are hard to read because of the horrific nature of the situation. Pain, suffering, and death could have been prevented with proper care.

Nursing homes across the country have reported difficulty staffing nursing aides and registered nurses due to better availability of jobs elsewhere. This has led to the poor conditions seen in nursing homes throughout the United States. Stopping wrongful deaths in nursing homes isn’t an easy task. It starts with more funding to the homes to increase the number and qualifications of workers. Something also needs to be done to improve and standardize the protocol for care throughout. Until then, wrongful deaths will continue to be a problem due to the poor conditions found in nursing homes throughout the country.

If you believe you have a wrongful death case against a nursing home, please consult a wrongful death lawyer today. Certain restrictions may apply that limit the length of time you have to file for damages on behalf of your loved one. Wrongful death cases are tragic, but silence does not help prevent such a fate for other residents in America’s nursing homes. Speak up and help those who may be unable to help themselves when unnoticed nursing home neglect or abuse could lead to a wrongful death.