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Moving a loved one into a nursing home is a hard decision. Elders deserve to be in good hands, with their psychological and medical needs met. Most people invest countless hours researching and interviewing various facilities to ensure their loved one finds a safe place and receives care. When choosing a nursing home, you entrust the staff to keep your loved ones comfortable, healthy, clean, and secure. This foundational trust is one of the reasons navigating nursing home negligence is so painful.
Nursing home negligence is far too common.

The World Health Organization states, “1 in 6 people 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year.”

Every year, patients die from dehydration, malnutrition, abuse, medical oversights, and skin infections that lead to sepsis. Nursing homes have even been held responsible for patients who suffer from diabetes-related complications.
If a nursing home is at fault for your loved one’s injury or illness, you’re not alone. And with the right attorney, you can sue a nursing home for negligence.

Common Types of Nursing Home Negligence

Bedsores. When patients stay long in the same position, frail skin can break down and sometimes become infected due to friction or pressure on the skin. Complications can arise at the injury site, often called a “pressure sore,” – especially in those suffering from endocrine disorders such as diabetes or thyroid disorders. For some, this can lead to amputations, causing a severe quality of life decrease.

Infections From Lack of Proper Hygiene. Facilities with inadequate numbers of or inexperienced staff can do a poor job keeping up with residents’ hygiene, which can lead to a host of illnesses and infections.

Slips and Falls. Over 33% of those 65+ years will experience a fall. Falls are the primary cause of hospital admissions for trauma. Nursing home features should help prevent falls. Residents can fall without adequate staff, safety precautions, and proper monitoring or supervision, causing permanent, disabling injuries.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, “Among older adults (65+), falls are the leading cause of injury death, and Minnesota has one of the highest mortality rates due to falls among the elderly in the nation.”

Improper Sanitation of the Facility. When unclean conditions are present, illnesses can quickly spread. Many facilities have recently suffered from norovirus, causing complications for residents, especially those with co-occurring health issues.

Unsafe Architectural Features. Those with Alzheimer’s or dementia may get “lost” and wander through or out of the facility. Architects design nursing homes with safety in mind; many facilities have a long list of subtle safety features. However, if these precautions work improperly, a lawyer can hold them responsible for incurred injuries.

Emotional Abuse. Verbal and psychological abuse can include threats, insults, purposeful isolation from loved ones, and attempts to control a patient’s behavior. This abuse can lead to depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

Negligence From Outside Parties. Sometimes, other outside parties play a part in the injury. Your attorney can hold the manufacturer of faulty equipment or a negligent contractor responsible.

If your loved one suffers because of human neglect or error, hold the nursing home so this type of injury cannot happen again. That’s where a nursing home negligence lawyer comes in.

What Constitutes Neglect in a Nursing Home?

When someone fails to care for another as they should or fails to react to a situation that results in pain or harm to the person they’re caring for, it’s neglect, even when not intentional, including improperly trained caregivers.
Here are nursing home negligence signs to watch out for:

  • Excessive weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Mood changes
  • Odors caused by poor hygiene
  • Pressure sores
  • Bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Not providing proper nutrition for optimal health
  • Failure to answer call lights
  • Lack of assistance with walking
  • Improper dosages of medication
  • Inadequate medical care of any sort

Should I Speak Up? When something doesn’t look right to you, or if you suspect something is wrong, don’t dismiss it. Get answers that ensure the safety and well-being of your loved one is safe. Often, residents won’t complain for fear of retaliation by the staff. Reassure them they can confide in you.

Seeking Negligence Damages

Federal law requires that nursing homes protect and promote residents’ rights, including a safe environment with adequate supervision.

Most nursing home negligence incidents cost families time, money, and worry. Your family may move your loved one to a new nursing home, incurring costs for moving services, physical therapy, and medical equipment—even last-minute time off from work. Expenses amass quickly. You deserve reimbursement for these disruptions to your emotional and financial well-being.

You can seek compensation when a loved one suffers an injury in a nursing home due to abuse or neglect. While insurance and services such as Medicare usually cover some of the costs, you deserve compensation for expenses not covered by these services.
Sometimes, your lawyer can hold certain providers, nurses, or contractors responsible. The best way to decide who is accountable is to speak with a competent nursing home negligence lawyer who can assess your case.

What Does Minnesota Law Say About Nursing Home Injuries?

Minnesota law states that every nursing home must display The Patient’s Bill of Rights, the federal and state rights of patients. It is illegal for a nursing home to violate any of these rights, which cover both federal and state laws.
Minnesota law regulates nursing homes and assisted facilities and states specific requirements, including:

  • Basic care (e.g., hygiene, medication, assistance with bathroom, and personal needs).
  • 24-hour nursing care.
  • Services (e.g., laundry, transportation, meals, etc.)
  • Stimulation and nourishment through at least three daily living activities.

Minnesota takes nursing home illnesses and injuries seriously. Before you file any lawsuits, you must report the injuries to the Minnesota Adult Abuse and Reporting Center by calling 844-880-1574. The state will investigate the incident; the information they uncover may be invaluable to your case.

Some types of abuse and neglect are criminal. In this case, more than one agency will investigate reported incidents of abuse or neglect. Your nursing home negligence attorney may file a suit based on Minnesota statutes, depending on what they feel is appropriate.

Woman in a wheelchair facing out a window and dealing with nursing home negligence.

Suing a Nursing Home for Negligence

When a loved one suffers a nursing home injury due to abuse or neglect by staff members, your family is likely entitled to compensation under the law. This compensation, sought with the help of a skilled attorney, will cover medical expenses and other costs associated with the incident. To get there, you’ll need to follow these steps:
Reach out to a skilled attorney. Find a suitable attorney to build your case. Nursing homes and their insurance companies employ lawyers dedicated to a strong defense. You’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney to go up against them.
Document negligence for a lawsuit. Document any reports you make to the Department of Health, the police, or other agencies. Some files will be available as public information; you or, more preferably, your attorney can follow up on the results of the investigations. Document medical expenses: medications, hospital stays, and any procedures your loved one endures as a part of the illness or injury.
Take care of yourself. A nursing home injury can be stressful and painful for the patient and their family. While suing a nursing home for negligence, don’t forget to care for yourself. Handing the complex parts over to your attorney lets you do just that.

Choosing the Right Nursing Home

Finding a quality nursing home can mitigate such a sad situation. Do everything possible to avoid exposing your loved one to nursing home negligence that might cause a physical, mental, or emotional injury.

Medicare’s Nursing Home Comparison website includes detailed information about every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country. The Minnesota Department of Health website also reports in-state nursing home findings, including an evaluation covering the quality of care and services, building, equipment, staffing, policies, procedures, and finances. Visit each facility that you are considering before finalizing arrangements. However, even with all of this thorough preparation, you may find yourself in need of a nursing home negligence lawyer.

Wheelchair by itself facing a window looking outside.

Work With an Experienced Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer

The nursing home’s job is to meet its resident’s needs every single day. When an injury or illness results from their fault, neglect, or abuse, they have failed in their duty.

Contact our dedicated legal team immediately if someone you love suffers from nursing home negligence. Swor & Gatto provides quality legal services with professional reliability and high ethical standards. Get the help and representation you not only need but deserve. Speak with a nursing home negligence lawyer today.