Nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities provide long-term care and rehabilitation services to the elderly and persons who need custodial care to help care for their needs. In some cases, the residents of nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities have mental or physical limitations that put them at risk for a number of medical problems. The evaluation of your nursing home case depends on whether the nursing home identified the risks of your loved one and then took the necessary interventions to prevent an injury.
When a new resident is admitted to a nursing home, a document called an Individualized Care Plan is prepared to identify their specific medical conditions, risks for falls and pressure sores and interventions to prevent injuries. The Individualized Care Plan is updated regularly throughout your loved one’s stay in the nursing home.
Let’s say your loved one is admitted to the nursing home with a hip fracture caused by a fall at home. First, the nursing home must identify in the Care Plan whether your family member is at risk for falls. A complete evaluation of the risk for falls must be done and documented in the Care Plan and if the resident is at high risk for falling, the nursing home must identify what they will do to prevent a fall.
The Care Plan will have interventions that should be taken to prevent a fall in their written policies and procedures and these interventions should be listed in the Care Plan. The interventions might be a one-on-one aide to constantly observe your loved one or it could be a seat belt on her wheelchair. The interventions are supposed to prevent another fall.
If your family member is at risk for falls and interventions are listed in the Care Plan, the next question is whether the interventions were in place at the time of the fall. Was there a one-on-one aide watching your family member? Was your family member kept under close observation by the nursing staff? Did the nursing staff follow the interventions listed in the Care Plan? The answers will show whether the nursing staff failed to comply with the interventions listed in the Care Plan.
Let’s do a quick review: first, you need to find out whether your family member was at risk for a fall; second, you must look at the Care Plan to tell what interventions are set forth to prevent a falls; and third, you must try to determine whether the nursing home carried out the interventions listed in the Care Plan. These are the three steps used to determine if you have a claim for negligence against the nursing home.
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