Tennessee Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

Tennessee law defines nursing home abuse as the mistreatment of a resident in any form. Residents of nursing home facilities are dependent on the facility and its staff, and can become entangled in abusive situations when they are relying upon care that is not being provided, becoming harmed by those tasked with protecting them, or being neglected to the point of not receiving proper nourishment, or declining without proper attention.

If a patient’s health declines because they are not receiving the care that they are supposed to be getting from the nursing home, then their situation constitutes as abuse based on neglect. If the patient is being mistreated by the staff or by other residents and the nursing home is not correcting the situation, this can also constitute abuse of neglect in a nursing home.

Examples of Neglect in Tennessee Nursing Homes

The most common cases of nursing home neglect involve people that suffer from not receiving the most simple and basic standard of care. Some examples of this include patients not being fed as much or as often as they should be, not receiving the proper nourishment, and not receiving proper hydration. In other cases, nursing home staff might not be moving the patient enough, or taking them out of bed like they should, which causes residents’ bodies to break down, leading to bedsores or pressure ulcers. Another unfortunately common scenario finds nursing home residents lacking proper hygiene, which, like the aforementioned forms of neglect, works to cause someone to deteriorate rapidly.

Nursing home residents who are most vulnerable can suffer from dramatic weight loss, and can develop sepsis and other kinds of infections. The physical breakdown of an unhealthy person lacking basic food, cleanliness, and care can be extreme when not receiving the required care, which is absolutely unacceptable when the individual in question is a resident of a full-time healthcare facility and under the watch of professionals who claim to be providing the best standard of care.

Another scenario that can stem from neglect are physical incidents that might occur when an improper care plan has been implemented. An example of this could find an unstable patient falling repeatedly, which, if not corrected, can lead to suffering from broken bones such as hips or leg bones, which often trigger a spiraling decline and sometimes wrongful death. There have been widespread infection cases in which infections are allowed to grow and run wild through nursing homes, causing injury and illness to many residents, and there are many issues with medication errors. A medication error can occur when residents are either administered too much medicine, not enough medicine, or none at all.

Another abusive neglect situation that arises in nursing homes can stem from acts of physical or sexual abuse by nursing home staff, or other residents. People may neglect to report these patterns of abuse, or they might be ignored once being reported, which is entirely unacceptable under any circumstances.

Scenarios that Lead to Nursing Home Neglect

The most common scenario in nursing home abuse cases that stem from neglect is the result of understaffing. Perhaps there are not enough caregivers to properly help all residents. An individual can have the best nurse in the world, but if there is only one nurse in a nursing home, that nurse cannot provide the same standard of care for every patient.

The second most common scenario is a poorly trained staff. Perhaps a staff has been brought in but not trained on simple things like patient transfer, making sure that food is close enough for people to eat, ensuring that they are monitoring intake, output, and weight, and generally making sure that residents are receiving the care that they need. If a facility does not have enough staff to answer call lights, that is a problem. If they do not have a staff that knows how to answer call lights, that is an equally problematic situation.

Generally, these problems start at the corporate level, especially when dealing with finances. Sometimes the corporate solution may be to cut down on staff or pay lower wages in order to increase short term profit, but this can only lead to long term solutions and neglect of those who require attentive care.

Types of Injuries Sustained

Bedsores or pressure sores are very common injuries that can result from nursing home neglect. These types of injuries can be difficult to stop once they start. Further, dramatic weight loss can occur as the result of malnutrition and dehydration. A person can also have mental and physical deteriorating health, depression, or other mental anguish which can occur.

Additonally, an individual could have fractured bones such as a broken leg or broken hip. Sometimes, brain injuries can also occur from falls. There are very vulnerable residents in nursing homes, and they can suffer many different injuries when not taken care of properly. A Tennessee nursing home neglect attorney can assist in building a case to compensate for any injuries sustained.

Vulnerable Individuals

The most vulnerable patients are the ones who need the most care. If a resident is bedridden, they are dependent on the staff to get them out of bed, to a chair, to walk them around, to get them to the restroom, and other common activities. These patients are often most vulnerable to neglect.

Any patient that has a psychological, mental, or emotional incapacity, and that cannot communicate well, can be easily mistreated. This is often because they cannot explain to others what is going on. These patients are more vulnerable to the consequences of neglect and abuse. Vulnerability increases when an individual is an end-of-life patient who needs more intense care from the nursing home.

Initial Steps to Take

Depending on the seriousness of the neglect, it might be necessary to get out of the home and get into a different nursing home. An individual can contact the police, talk to the staff, talk to the nursing home administrator, and contact a Tennessee nursing home neglect lawyer to discuss the case with them.

In Tennessee, there is a specific agency, the Tennessee board of nursing administrators, that allows an individual to file a complaint online. They can investigate what is going on.