Sadly, many of us have parents who are or will spend some part of their later years in nursing homes. Unfortunately – not all nursing homes are well managed and well staffed. In fact here are some chilling government statistics about one aspect of the problem… falls:
- Each year, a typical nursing home with 100 beds reports 100 to 200 falls. Many falls go unreported.
- Between half and three-quarters of nursing home residents fall each year. That’s twice the rate of falls for older adults living in the community.
- Patients often fall more than once. The average is 2.6 falls per person per year.
- About 35% of fall injuries occur among residents who cannot walk.
How serious are these falls?
- About 1,800 people living in nursing homes die each year from falls.
- About 10% to 20% of nursing home falls cause serious injuries; 2% to 6% cause fractures.
- Falls result in disability, functional decline and reduced quality of life. Fear of falling can cause further loss of function, depression, feelings of helplessness, and social isolation.
Other areas of concern involve improper medications being administered, elder abuse and more.
If at any time you believe your parent has been injured as a result of the negligence of a nursing home facility, what should you do?
Here are some of the legal steps you should consider if you feel you have a legitimate case.
- First – always discuss your parent’s case with a well qualified Connecticut personal injury attorney. To properly evaluate your parent’s case, a personal injury attorney will need to determine the extent of the damages by taking a complete and exhaustive medical history. This evaluation should identify all medical conditions for which there was active treatment at the time of the incident and any major medical issues from the past. All treating doctors for the 10 years prior to the incident will also need to be identified.
- The next step will be to secure medical records of your parent. For this stage an appropriate HIPPA compliant medical authorization will be required. This should be sent to the nursing home with a request that the entire chart of the patient be provided. Connecticut Regulations requires nursing homes to keep the records of the nursing home patient for 10 years but, in most cases, at the investigation stage, it does not make sense to order records going back this far. First, the copying charges will be significant and beyond three years is unlikely to provide anything necessary to investigate the case. You will also probably bog yourself down reviewing medical records that do not advance the case.
- If the case involves a final illness at a hospital, that record should be requested as well.
One more thing to remember. If your loved one is ever injured, the actions you take to investigate the circumstances of their injury may someday save another family from enduring the same challenges and losses.
RisCassi & Davis has handled many nursing home cases over our more than 55 years serving the people of Connecticut. Please contact us if we can help you. The consultation is free and there is no obligation of any kind.