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Nursing Home Legal Information Center

Nursing homes play a key role within the community, ensuring that elderly people get the assistance that they need. This will let them grow old with dignity, allowing them to remain happy and healthy as they age.

Nursing homes aren’t without their concerns. Sadly, not every facility will provide excellent care. There are many ways that elder abuse might happen. Some of the most common forms of elder abuse can include:

 Below we’ll take a closer look at each of these areas and the types of impact that they can have.

How Common Is Elder Abuse In Nursing Homes?

As you’ve seen from the list above, there are several ways that an elderly person can be mistreated or abused when staying in a nursing home. But how common are these types of incidents?

When someone is moved into a nursing home, they tend to be more vulnerable to abuse or neglect than those who can stay living at home. Often, this is because they tend to have pre-existing medical conditions that mean that they require a higher level of care. As a result, any neglect or abuse can have a big impact on both their physical and mental health. In extreme cases, this can even result in wrongful death.

There is still more research required to find the exact amount of people who might be subject to abuse or neglect in a nursing home. However, the figures that we do have suggest a serious problem. It’s estimated that around 40 percent of people in nursing homes have been abused. A shocking 90 percent of those in nursing homes say that they, or someone they know, have been neglected.

What Are The Types Of Elder Abuse?

Nursing Home Care Worker Mistreating Senior WomanAs we’ve seen, there are multiple forms that elder abuse can take. However, these can be broken down into a few distinct types of abuse or neglect.

First, there is physical abuse. This is defined as applying non-accidental force to the individual. A classic example of this is giving someone a push or shove. This is often the easiest to identify, as you will be able to spot the signs that the abuse has occurred. For example, you will notice bruising or swelling.

The next type of abuse is financial. This is often a way to try and defraud the elderly person. For example, they might be overcharging for services or trying to get access to their bank account to steal their money.

They might also be facing emotional abuse. This is where they are not getting their emotional needs met. For example, they might not have many opportunities to interact with other people and build a social life. It is also possible that they might be getting verbally abused. This kind of abuse can take a big toll on mental health. Though it’s often the most difficult to spot.

It’s also possible that elderly residents might be facing neglect. This is where their physical needs are not being taken care of. For example, they might not be getting the medication or treatment that they need. It is also possible that they aren’t getting enough food or water. This is the most common type of elder abuse that occurs in nursing homes.

Finally, there’s healthcare abuse. These are the practices used by healthcare professionals that might harm their patients. For example, it’s possible that they might have been getting kickbacks for prescribing a certain kind of medication, although other options might not be the best choice for their patients. In some cases, the residents might not be receiving the medication. You might also encounter some doctors who are getting paid for services that they are not providing.

Why Does Elder Abuse Occur?

As we can see, there are multiple ways that elder abuse might be happening. But why is this occurring?

The most common reason is that the nursing home has been overbooked.  There are too many patients and the staff can’t cope. If they aren’t able to dedicate enough time and resources to each person, the quality of the service will inevitably decline.

It’s also possible that the staff members might lose their temper, especially if the elderly residents aren’t listening to their instructions. In this case, they can turn to physical or emotional threats to try and get them to do what they require.

Finally, the staff might not have had adequate training. This can mean that they aren’t able to cope with the actions of the residents. As a result, when they are faced with a difficult situation, they might not know what to do. This can result in some patients not receiving adequate care.

What Are the Signs That Someone Has Been Abused?

If someone you love has been placed into a nursing home, they might be able to tell you that they’ve been mistreated. Some might not have the verbal required to communicate this, or they might not have the mental faculties required to understand what is happening. As a result, you should be able to spot the signs that they are getting abused or neglected. When you spot these injuries, it’s recommended that you take action, like moving them to a new facility or talking to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

First, you can spot physical signs. These tend to be the easiest to identify. For example, you might be able to spot things like bruising on the arms or legs. It’s also possible that they might exhibit tenderness or a decreased range of motion.

Other signs of abuse, though, can be harder to spot. In this case, you might want to look for signs that their mental health has been impacted. For example, they might become more depressed as a result of emotional abuse. In some cases, their reaction can mimic the signs of dementia, such as talking to themselves. Some of the most common signs of neglect can include a sudden loss of weight or being left in unsafe or unsanitary conditions. Finally, you might spot that their money has been declining at a faster than expected rate. They can sometimes lead them to turn to you to try and get funds.

What To Do If Someone You Know Is The Victim Of Elder Abuse?

If you suspect that someone is the victim of elder abuse or neglect in a nursing home, there are some actions that you can take. This will ensure that they can get the attention that they deserve, giving them the best chance at making a recovery.

Talk To The Staff

The first thing to do is discuss the situation with the staff members. This will let you get more information about the problem. It can also allow you to discuss a plan to prevent the abuse from occurring in the future. In some cases, the institution might not have been aware that there was a problem.

Move To A Different Facility

If you feel that they aren’t getting the care they need, it might be the right time to start looking around for a new facility that you can transfer them to. When discussing the move, make sure to alert the staff to the situation that they faced in their previous home. This will ensure that the new facility can prepare their staff, so your loved one has the best chance of recovering.

Talk To An Attorney

When you find out someone has been getting abused, it can be hard to know how to deal with the situation. This can be made even more complicated by any contracts that you might have signed, which can make it harder for you to leave the facility. As a result, you should make sure to talk to an attorney. They’ll be able to advise you on your legal rights and how you can best deal with the situation.

They will be able to assess your situation and talk about the kind of actions that you can take next. Often, the nursing home will have an obligation to take care of their residents and provide the services that they’re being paid for. If they violate these obligations, you might be entitled to damages. This can often help you move on after the abuse and pay for any medical costs that might have been occurred during the treatment process.

In this area, one of the most experienced teams can be found at The Injury Firm. This is a great way to make sure that you are getting the best possible legal representation. Our personal injury lawyers aren’t afraid to fight for your rights. They’ll be able to thoroughly investigate the incident, to find out why the accident happened. If the nursing home is liable, they’ll make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve. So, get in contact with our friendly team today.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common types of abuse. This will ensure you know how to spot the warning signs and take action.


hospital bed with rails upBED RAIL ENTRAPMENT

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Getting trapped by a bed rail can carry a serious of potentially deadly injuries. This is because, when an elderly resident gets trapped in a bed rail, they are often subject to a lot of pressure on the neck and spine. Sadly, if not addressed quickly, this can often be fatal. Let’s take a closer look at these types of injuries.

Why Are Bed Rails Used?

Hand of old woman on bed railThere are a few situations where it might be appropriate to use a bed rail. For example, the patient might need to be held in a certain position, to make sure that they are getting the support they need. In other cases, it might be able to prevent them from walking around the facility, which might lead to an increased risk of injury. It might also be a useful way to get the patient into and out of the bed. However, bed rails can present a range of risks. As a result, it’s common for the nursing home to consider a range of other methods, to see whether or not they will be appropriate for the patient.

How Does Bed Rail Entrapment Occur?

When in a nursing home, there is a range of strict policies that need to be followed when setting the height of the bed rail. Often, each one will need to be tailored specifically to suit the patient. This will help minimize the risks that the elderly resident will get trapped by the bed rail. Often, these injuries will happen because the bed rail wasn’t set up properly. In this case, the staff might be liable for the injuries received. In some cases, this can include wrongful death.

How Do Bed Rails Cause Injuries?

There are a few ways that a patient might be injured because of a bed rail. First, it’s possible for their head to get stuck in the bed rail. This can be a very distressing situation. Often, this will put additional pressure on the neck, making it harder for them to breathe. If they aren’t released, they might not be able to get enough oxygen to the lungs, causing them to asphyxiate. In most cases, those in a nursing home will be frail. As a result, they won’t have the strength to dislodge themselves. This means that they will have no choice but to wait until a staff member comes to help them out. If they don’t get there in time, the lack of oxygen could result in death. Even if they do get out, they will often have significant injuries.

It’s also possible that they might attempt to climb over the bed rail. In this case, they run the risk of slipping and falling. Because of the height involved, this has the potential to do serious damage. For example, they might find themselves placed in an awkward position. This can cause them to fall onto their neck or head. When this happens, they can often sustain serious injuries. For example, they might get a broken bone, spinal injury, or brain bleed. It’s also possible that this type of impact can lead to death.

How Common Is Bed Rail Entrapment?

According to a report by the FDA, there are multiple cases of bed rail entrapment. In total, there were 840 cases reported between 1985 and 2009. Of the reported cases, 480 resulted in the person dying and another 138 people were injured. In the remaining cases, the nursing home staff were able to intervene in time, to make sure that the patient was kept safe from injury. These statistics show how potentially dangerous a bed rail can be. In over half of the reported cases, an accident with the equipment resulted in death.

How Can The Nursing Home Prevent Bed Rail Entrapment?

As we mentioned, the nursing home has an obligation to its patients, to ensure that they are kept safe. As a result, there are multiple guidelines that they should follow when dealing with bed rails. If they don’t fulfill these obligations, you can talk with a personal injury lawyer about the possibility of taking legal action.

First, they need to have a reason to use bed rails. If they have a valid reason, they need to make sure that they have been set-up properly, customizing them to suit each patient. When setting everything up, they should make sure to thoroughly inspect the bed rail. If the rails are defective or broken, they shouldn’t be used.

Once the rails are on, the staff should be checking on the patient frequently. This is the most important safety measure. If detected earlier, they will be able to free the patient, limiting the amount of damage that they have sustained as a result of the incident.





According to a report from the CDC, somewhere between two to 28 percent of people in nursing homes have bed sores. These can often be highly painful. Also, as we will see, the wound needs to be treated quickly. If it’s not, it could cause an infection to take place. Let’s take a closer look at this area, and how you can spot the signs of bedsores early.

What Are Bedsores?

Let’s start by looking at what bedsores are and why they are such a big concern. Bedsores can take a range of shapes and sizes. For example, it might be a red, tender area. At other times, it can resemble a big ulcer. These can sometimes be pussy if the wound has become infected.

Why Do Bedsores Occur?

In the clear majority of cases, bedsores can be prevented. Often, they will occur because the patient hasn’t been turned frequently enough. As a result, the same area of skin is continuously under pressure. Because of this, it’s common for this area to start to break down. This causes the skin to start to develop scabbing. At this point, it needs to be caught and treated.

However, in some cases, bedsores might be overlooked. When this happens, there is a risk that bacteria can get into the open wound. When this happens, it’s common for the wound to become infected. At this point, it becomes essential that the bedsore is treated. If it’s not, it’s possible that sepsis can develop. This is a very serious condition. In some cases, it might be fatal.

What Are The Stages Of Bedsores?

In order to help doctors track the development of the bedsores, it can be broken down into four distinct stages. The further the bedsores progress without being detected, the more dangerous it will become.

In stage one, the bedsore is just beginning to present. In this stage, it is just an itchy area of skin. It might also feel slightly warmer than other areas of skin. At this point, the skin hasn’t been broken yet, though when the pressure is removed, it doesn’t return to normal. At this point, the pressure on the skin needs to be relieved. If it is, it should return back to normal within a few days.

In stage two, the pressure on the skin still hasn’t been relieved. As a result, the skin can break open. This can present in a few different ways. For example, there might be a shallow crater in the area. In other cases, there might be transparent pus coming from the hole. At this point, the wound needs to be padded up and the pressure relieved. In most cases, the patient will have recovered within one to three weeks.

By stage three, the crater in the skin has begun to deepen substantially. In some cases, this might expose a layer of fat in the skin. It might also be accompanied by a foul smell. At this stage, the chance of getting a serious infection is high. If treated, the patient can expect to recover from the injury within one to three months.

Finally, the patient can reach stage four of bedsore development. This is the most dangerous part of the process. In this case, the crater has become even deeper. At this point, some bone might be visible. As a result, it can often be causing a lot of pain for the patient. It also gives the highest chance of serious infection occurring. In some cases, this can lead to a bone infection. In others, it might cause sepsis, which can be fatal. As a result, the pressure needs to be removed urgently and treated as quickly as possible. At this stage, it can take two years before the patient can recover.

How To Prevent Bedsores

The nursing home should have a strong set of guidelines to lower the chances that their patients will develop bedsores. There are a few ways that they should be doing this. First, they should be making sure that people are changing their positions regularly. This ensures that the pressure won’t be able to build up, allowing the ulcer to develop. Ideally, they should be moving them every two hours. They will also need to be making sure that the patients have adequate mattresses. The nursing home staff should also try to keep the area as clean as possible, lowering the chances that the wound will get infected. Finally, everyone at the facility should be able to detect the early stages of bedsores, giving patients the best chance of making a full recovery.





As we’ll see, there are several ways that a resident can get burned. This can often cause serious injuries and, in extreme cases, lead to patients dying. Let’s take a closer look at the way that this type of accident can occur.

Why Elderly People Are At A Higher Risk Of Burn Injuries

Though burn injuries can affect people of all ages and backgrounds, elderly people might face a higher risk of serious injury. Elderly people are also facing a higher mortality rate because of burn injuries. There are a few reasons why this might be the case. For example, they tend to be slower and frailer. As a result, they might not have the speed to move quickly during an emergency situation, like having to evacuate from a burning nursing home. Also, their skin might be thinner, making them more likely to receive serious damage when they get burned.

How Do Burns Occur?

There are multiple ways that someone might get burned in a nursing home. Sadly, those who are having mental or physical problems tend to have a higher chance of getting injured.

First, it’s possible that the nursing home might catch on fire. There are a few ways that this can happen. For example, a grease fire might start in the kitchen.  If not stopped quickly, this can spread to the rest of the nursing home, endangering the lives of the residents. It’s also possible that the residents can create a fire. As an example, there might be people in the home who are smokers. Without adequate supervision, they can have an accident, dropping the lighter or failing to snub out the cigarette embers appropriately. This can be enough to spark a blaze.

Second, it’s possible that they might burn themselves accidentally. For example, the elderly residents might wander into the kitchen and touch the hotplate. It’s also possible that, while smoking, they drop the lighter or cigarette on themselves. Sometimes, to preserve their dignity, they might not tell a staff member that an accident occurred.

Thirdly, the nursing home staff might cause the problem by failing to pay enough attention to the situation. This is most common around bathing. In order to kill germs, and bring more comfort to the residents, it’s common to heat the water before bathing. However, if overheated, the patient might scold their skin and develop burns.

Finally, in rare cases, these wounds might be purposefully inflicted. For example, the nursing home staff might lose their temper and burn one of their patients. In other cases, another resident might deliberately try to hurt them. Thankfully, these cases aren’t common. However, when they do happen, they can often result in serious injuries. 

bandages on a burn wound of elderly nursing home patientHow Serious Are Burn Injuries?

It’s common for the burn injuries to range in severity, depending on the way that they were received. For lesser burns, the skin will end up going red and can often produce a stinging sensation. Often, these can heal within a few days, and won’t end up producing any lasting impacts.

However, for more serious burns, the skin can be seriously impacted. Often, this can result in skin blistering or becoming white and thick. These injuries can also be highly painful. To treat these burns, patients might need to get transported to the hospital. Once there, they might need to get skin grafts or other kinds of complex procedures. Despite this treatment, if the nerves were damaged, they might not be able to move that body part again.  

How Can Nursing Homes Stop Burn Injuries

The nursing home has several rules that they need to follow to reduce the chances that burns will occur. First, they need to make sure that the facility is kept safe. Part of this is getting a routine assessment of the potential fire risks, so these can be minimized.  They need to develop a fire alarm system, to give them as much warning of the fire as possible. Another crucial aspect is making sure that all the staff knows about the fire plan, and how to evacuate the residents from the home as quickly as possible.

They will also need to make sure that they are supervising the residents, to make sure that they aren’t placing themselves in a potentially dangerous situation. For example, they will need to monitor them while they are smoking. Also, they will need to make sure that they check the water temperature when bathing them, so they don’t risk scalding them. If the nursing home doesn’t do this properly, and your loved one gets burned as a result, you might want to get in contact with a personal injury lawyer and learn more about your legal rights.


elderly man in wheelchir chokingCHOKING ACCIDENTS




As we age, the chances that we will have a choking accident increase. As a result, it’s essential that nursing homes know about the potential risks and are able to handle these situations when they occur.  Let’s take a closer look at how choking accidents happen and what can be done to make sure that your loved ones are kept safe.

Why Elderly People Are At Higher Risk Of Choking

In a nursing home, the chances that someone will have a nursing home chocking accident tend to be very high. This is because, as we age, the mechanics governing the way that we swallow start to weaken. This is a natural process and will affect everyone. Despite this, there are a few groups who might be at a higher risk.

First, choking risk is higher for those who have had a stroke. During these events, it’s common for the muscles to become weaker. As a result, their throat muscles might be harder to control, making it more difficult for them to swallow.

It’s also possible that neurological damage can make it harder to swallow. For example, conditions like dementia can often affect the way that the brain communicates with the rest of the body. As a result, it can be harder to control bodily functions, like swallowing.

How Common Are Choking Accidents In Nursing Homes?

Sadly, choking accidents are common amongst residents in a nursing home. It’s estimated that around 68 percent of the people in these facilities suffer from conditions that make it harder to swallow.  As a result, the mortality rate from choking rates tends to be very high. Sadly, choking accidents in nursing homes is the second-most common cause of death, after falls.

How Do Choking Accidents Occur?

There are multiple ways that someone might choke in a nursing home facility. However, the most common time for an accident to occur is during mealtimes. There are likely to be several residents who will need to have more assistance when eating their food. In most cases, they might need to have their food cut up into bite-sized pieces to make it easier for them to digest. During these times, the staff needs to be vigilant, making sure that all the meals are prepared properly.

However, it’s possible that there are other times where a resident might choke. For example, someone who is mentally impaired might try to swallow non-food items, like buttons.  It’s also possible that choking might occur if the resident needs to swallow medication.

How Does Choking Affect The Body?

When someone starts choking, they need urgent attention. If the problem isn’t resolved quickly, it can have serious impacts on their health.

Choking occurs because something is blocking the airways. This means that the bodily organs aren’t getting enough oxygen. As a result, the resident might lose consciousness. This can result in them falling to the ground. This can compound the injuries received. For example, there’s a chance that a fall can produce broken bones, or contribute to brain bleeds. If seated, they might slump forward in their chairs, hitting their heads on the table, increasing the chances that they will develop brain damage after the accident.

 Even if the blockage is removed quickly, it can still leave lasting damage. For example, they might receive brain damage or tissue damage. Often, after about five to six minutes without oxygen, the brain can start to get damaged. After about 10 minutes, the damage from choking can become permanent. If the blockage isn’t removed, their body won’t get the oxygen that it needs. In this case, parts of the body might start to die. Often, this can lead to death by asphyxiation.

How Can The Risks Of Choking Accidents Be Reduced?

There are multiple ways that the nursing home can help protect their residents from the risks of choking. First, they should be particularly careful about the way that food is prepared and served. In this area, they need to make sure that the food is prepared according to the needs of the individual. For example, if they are having a struggle swallowing, it might be best to use soft foods and liquids, rather than hard items that require a lot of chewing. Next, the nursing home needs to serve the food to the resident carefully. In some cases, they might need to slice up the food and serve it to the resident.

The staff should also be trained on how to deal with choking accidents. As an example, they should be able to perform the Heimlich maneuver to remove the blockage and clear the airway. If performed early enough, they can save the resident’s life and stop any long-term damage from occurring. They might also need to know CPR if the patient’s heart stops because it wasn’t getting enough oxygen. If the staff doesn’t know this technique, or can’t perform it properly, it might lead to wrongful death.


DEHYDRATIONelderly man drinking water






If not addressed quickly, dehydration can cause some very serious medical conditions, some of which can be fatal. As a result, the nursing home staff must be making sure that everyone is drinking the right amount of water, so they can stay healthy. Let’s take a closer look at how dehydration occurs and how it can affect the elderly.

Symptoms Of Dehydration

The longer the nursing home resident goes without enough fluids, the more serious the effects will become. As a result, it’s best to spot and treat dehydration as quickly as possible. As a result, nursing home staff should have the training to identify dehydration. During your visits, here are some of the symptoms that you should be looking for if you suspect a loved one isn’t getting enough water.

There are a few mild symptoms of dehydration that might be experienced. When these occur, residents should be provided with water, to get them back a healthier fluid balance. At these times, it’s common for residents to feel thirsty. They might also start to develop a headache or become more sleepy than normal. This can also lead to lower urine output. They might also feel a little lightheaded or dizzy.

As the lack of water continues, the symptoms will grow worse. In this case, you might start to notice a change in the way that your loved one is behaving. For example, they might become more likely to become irritated or upset. You might also start to see their eyes and cheeks have taken on a more sunken appearance. It can also impact on their blood pressure levels, causing them to drop. This can lead to them falling unconscious or going into states of delirium. They might also have a faster rate of breathing. When you spot any of these symptoms, you should talk to a staff member. If they act quickly and replenish their water levels, you might be able to treat the dehydration.

However, in some cases, if left untreated for a long time, very serious conditions can occur. For example, without water getting to them, their kidneys might begin to shut down. When they enter kidney failure, your loved ones will need to receive urgent medical attention.  They might also start to lose weight, as the body uses up its stores of nutrients to stay functioning. It will also try to store up as much water as possible. As a result, the brain can swell.

There is a range of ways that these serious effects can impact elderly nursing home residents.  For example, their throat will dry up. This makes it harder for them to swallow, increasing the chances that they will end up choking. Brain swelling might limit their mental faculties. It’s also possible that it can lead to other potential problems, like ulcers, which can then become infected. Without medical attention, the body will start to shut down, and the resident will die.

How Common Is Dehydration?

Sadly, dehydration is fairly common amongst nursing home residents. According to one study, nearly all the residents in the nursing home experienced inadequate fluid intake. This is an especially serious problem among elderly populations. As we age, the amount of water that our body can store starts to decline. As a result, it is necessary to make sure that they are frequently sipping up their fluids, to reduce the chances that they will get dehydrated.

Why Does Dehydration Occur?

There are a few reasons why elderly residents might get dehydrated. As an example, as we get older, we start to lose bladder control. For many people, this can be a source of embarrassment. To try and prevent feeling this way, some people might try to reduce the amount of water that they consume. If the nursing staff doesn’t catch and address this issue quickly, the patient might dehydrate themselves.

In other cases, the elderly residents might start to lose their speech or movement. In this case, they might be physically unable to get the water themselves. As a result, they’ll often rely on nursing home staff to give them the right fluid intake. If the nursing staff neglect to monitor water intake carefully, they can often cause dehydration to occur.

How To Prevent Dehydration?

There are a few ways that nursing homes can prevent their residents from getting dehydrated. However, one of the most important ways is by paying attention to the needs of their residents. This will let them react quickly when someone isn’t drinking enough. Sadly, many nursing homes are understaffed and are unable to give their residents the attention that they deserve. If this has happened to your family member, you might want to discuss the situation with our nursing home abuse attorney, to find out your legal rights.






As people get older, it’s common for us to start to lose mobility. For some people, this can mean that they will need to use a cane, walking frame, or wheelchair to get around. However, for others it can be a more serious condition, preventing them from being able to move independently. As a result, it’s common for nursing home staff to need to lift and move residents around. However, this process can often present a higher risk that the residents will be accidentally hurt. Let’s look at how patients can be dropped, and what effect this can have on their bodies.

How Are Residents Lifted?

There are a few ways that residents in nursing homes can be lifted and moved. Often, this will depend on the individual.

First, the nursing home staff might pick them up, under their arms, and move them. In most cases, there will be one member of staff under each arm, to make sure that they can be transported safely. In most cases, this will be suitable for someone who still has some mobility, as the nursing home staff don’t need to bear all the weight themselves.  In some cases, it might be appropriate to use the standing hoist. This will allow the patient to lift themselves up, as long as they are strong enough.

The common type of equipment used to lift patients is called a Hoyer lift. This is where the patient is placed in a sling. Often, this is to allow them to go from sitting to standing. However, this piece of equipment tends to have a few complexities that need to be understood. As a result, it might not be appropriate for all patients. The staff will also need to be specially trained, to make sure that they are operating the lift correctly.

How Do Patients Get Dropped?

There are a few reasons why patients can get dropped. However, they often spring from a staff member not paying attention to the procedure. As an example, when using the Hoyer lift, the straps might not have been put around the patient properly.  This can lead to an uneven amount of pressure being placed onto the patient, causing them to come off balance. Because of how difficult this equipment can be to operate properly, the staff should be given training on how to use it. If they aren’t qualified, they shouldn’t be allowed to use the Hoyer lift.

Also, there might be times when the patient is being lifted with just one person, where they should be using two. This often happens because the staff member is ignoring protocol. In some cases, the nursing home might be too understaffed to get someone else to assist, forcing members to do it themselves. If this is the case, you might want to talk to a personal injury lawyer, as the facility might be negligent, making them responsible for the accident.

What Kind Of Injuries Can Dropped Patients Receive?

Dropping patients can often result in very serious injuries. These occur because they are lifted into the air. The higher they are, the more force they will hit the ground with. Also, if they aren’t lifted properly, their bodies can twist. This can result in them hitting the ground at an unnatural angle.

There are multiple types of injuries that they can receive when dropped. However, one of the most common types of injuries is broken bones. As we grow older, our bone structure becomes more fragile. A sudden force, like being dropped on to the floor, is often enough to break them. If their ribcage gets broken, there’s a chance their internal organs can be compromised. This can lead to internal bleeding. Even if their bones don’t break, it’s likely that they’ll have severe bruising.

Sadly, there are often worse injuries that are associated with a fall. As an example, if they land on their back, there’s a chance that they might get a spinal injury. This can lower mobility, in some cases, they might not be able to walk again. Also, if they hit their head, there’s a chance that they will develop a brain bleed. This is one of the most serious types of injuries, particularly for elderly people. In this case, they might get brain damage. Sadly, depending on how they land, there’s the chance that they will die as a result of their injuries.

Because of how serious these accidents can be, the resident should be immediately transferred to a hospital. This will ensure that they can get the medical care that they need. Even if they do go to the hospital, it can still be several weeks or months until they will be healthy enough to be discharged.


elderly woman fallen on floor being helped by staffFALLS




According to an Australian study, falls are responsible for 81.5 percent of deaths in these facilities. These show how important it is for the nursing home to be able to take strong actions to reduce the chances that their residents will experience a fall. Let’s take a closer look at the risks associated with falls and how nursing homes should respond to these accidents.

Why Are Falls So Common?

As we mentioned, falls are the leading cause of accidents and injuries in nursing homes. There are multiple reasons why this type of accident is so common. First, the residents might not be able to accept that they don’t have the same mobility they once did. As a result, they might try to walk unassisted, though they aren’t physically capable of doing this anymore.

In some cases, these accidents might occur be because their medications made them feel more confused or dizzy. Because they feel disoriented, the patient will be more likely to lose their balance, falling over.

It’s also possible that they might have fallen due to a fault in the design of the nursing home. For example, if the corridors are blocked, they might be forced into an unnatural position to get around the obstacle. In other cases, there might not be enough light, making it harder for residents to see where they are going. In these situations, the residents will often be forced into unnatural positions to navigate. This increases the chances that they will lose their balance and fall over.

What Type Of Injuries Can Occur During A Fall?

There are several types of accidents that might occur as a result of a fall. Unfortunately, many of these will be very serious, requiring urgent medical attention.

First, there is a significant risk of bone fracture or breakages. As we grow older, our bones start to weaken. As a result, it takes less force for them to break. A sharp, sudden impact, like a fall, is enough to do serious damage. These risks are heightened if they are falling onto a hard surface, like a concrete floor.

Sadly, it’s unlikely that a broken bone is the only injury that they will receive. In most cases, they will get a head or spinal impact. As a result, their mobility will be severely limited. Due to their age, there often isn’t a lot that can be done to reverse such a serious injury. This can have some auxiliary impacts. For example, because they don’t move as much, their muscles will grow weaker. This will often have a big impact on their mental health, sometimes leading to depression.

Unfortunately, in serious cases, the fall could be fatal. Though a rare event, it’s estimated that around 11,000 fatal falls occur in nursing homes each year.

Getting Urgent Help Is Key

After a fall, it’s essential that the nursing home staff get to the patient as quickly as possible. This will let them start treating their injuries. They can also call a hospital, so the resident can get the urgent medical care that they need. Sadly, not every nursing home will be able to get to its residents after a fall quickly. In the UK, it’s estimated that 20 percent of patients had to lie on the floor for an hour before a staff member assisted them.  In rare cases, there are reports of people having to wait days after a fall before someone was able to help them.

How Can Nursing Homes Prevent Falls?

While nursing homes have a poor track record of patients falling and suffering severe injuries, this doesn’t have to be the case. In the clear majority of cases, falls are completely preventable. There are a few procedures that nursing homes should be following to make sure that their patients are getting the care that they need.

First, they should assess each person as they arrive. This will tell them more about their mobility and their risk of having a fall. Once done, they should treat each accordingly, with high-risk patients receiving more care and attention. Lower risk patients might be given exercises they can do to ensure that they can stay mobile. They should be re-assed frequently, as their risk of falling changes over time.

Also, the facility will need to make sure that there are enough staff members to care for everyone. This will ensure that they can supervise the residents so that they will be alerted quickly if someone has a fall. They should also be trained on how to react to this situation, to make sure that the patient doesn’t exacerbate the injury.

Unfortunately, though simple to implement, many facilities don’t put these practices into place because of understaffing or budgetary issues. So, while the fall might have been self-inflicted, the nursing home could still be legally responsible for the outcome.


elderly woman with walker and fractured arm in castFRACTURES

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Many elderly residents are at a higher risk of receiving a fracture, as their bones weaken during the aging process. As a result, it’s become increasingly important for nursing home staff to try to prevent the circumstances which can cause bone fractures. Let’s take a closer look at this area, and what obligations nursing home staff have to prevent fractures.

Elderly People Are At Higher Risk Of Bone Fractures

There are a few reasons why elderly people have a higher risk of getting bone fractures. First, as we age, our bone structure starts to weaken. Though natural, this increases the potential risk of getting injured.

Further heightening risks is the fact that many people in nursing homes have pre-existing conditions. For example, they might come in with osteoporosis. This makes bones even more brittle. As a result, even a minor impact can be enough to cause a fracture. Other conditions, like dementia, can affect behavior. This can make the patient more likely to place themselves in a situation where they will have a higher risk of falling over.

Also, there is a chance that they will have experienced a broken bone previously. In this case, the bone structure is weakened. This means that the same section of bone is more likely to break in the future.

Because of these factors, residents in nursing homes tend to present a much higher risk than those who are able to live at home. Because of this, nursing home staff should take extra precautions to make sure that they are cared for properly.

How Do Fractures Occur In Nursing Homes?

There are multiple ways that a fracture can occur in a nursing home. However, the most common way is through a fall. These can sometimes happen when the staff members don’t exercise enough care when moving a patient. But they can also be because the resident is trying to move, though they don’t have the strength.

It’s also possible that the fall might have been linked with a change in medication. As an example, it’s possible that they can get put onto a new medication, which can cause dizziness. They might also get put onto something that makes them more likely to wander through the halls.

Finally, there are some circumstances where the nursing home created an unsafe environment. For example, they might not have warned residents that there was a wet floor. At other times, there might be hazards blocking the hallways, which forced the resident into an unnatural position to get past.

What Are The Consequences Of A Fracture Injury?

There are multiple potential ways that a fracture can impact on elderly people. How serious the consequences will depend on the type of fracture that was received. However, hip fracture is the most common type of fracture amongst older people. A fracture injury affects around 300,000 elderly people in the United States each year. The most common consequence of this type of injury is a reduction in mobility. It might also increase the chances that they will be hospitalized. This tends to affect mental health, making residents more likely to experience conditions like depression.

While hip fracture is most common, there are a few other types of injuries that elderly residents might receive, depending on the way that they fall. For example, they might have put out their arms to try and break their fall. In this case, they might fracture their arms. To get the best possible treatment, it’s essential that patients are transferred to the hospital as soon after the injury as possible. While very rare, there are times when patients have died as a result of their fracture.

How Can Nursing Homes Reduce the Chances Of Fractures?

There are multiple ways that a nursing home can try and reduce the number of fractures that occur in their facility. The most important is making sure that the staff exercises care when lifting or moving the residents. If dropped, they can face serious injuries.

The facility should also assess the patient’s risk of having a fall. For those with a higher fall risk, they will need to take action to make sure that they are protected. For example, in extreme cases, they might need to physically restrain the patient. When doing this, they will need to submit a lot of documentation indicating that the patient’s health isn’t impacted.

While there are some fracture injuries that might be self-inflicted, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t entitled to legal compensation. At these times, you should check in with an attorney. They will be able to discuss the situation. Then, the attorney will investigate the incident, finding out the real cause of the accident. This can often help you determine whether you will be able to bring a case.






Though elder neglect can take multiple forms, it’s most commonly seen as malnutrition. This can have serious impacts on both the physical and mental health of the residents. For this reason, nursing home staff need to take strong action to try and prevent this from occurring.

How Common Is Malnutrition

Sadly, people in nursing homes are much more likely to become malnourished than those living at home. The actual malnutrition figures can vary. However, some studies have estimated that around 20 percent of residents were malnourished. This means that there are thousands of elderly people who could be suffering from this condition across the United States.

Why Does Malnutrition Occur In Nursing Homes?

There are a few reasons why malnutrition might occur in nursing homes. First, the facility could be underfunded. In this case, the most common way of saving money is by reducing the number of meals that the residents receive. They might also try to save money by using less high-quality ingredients, reducing the number of nutrients that each resident is receiving.

In other cases, the resident might not be eating the food provided. This could be because they aren’t hungry, or they are unable to slice it themselves. It’s essential that nursing home staff monitor this situation closely and take action to make sure that the patient is getting enough nutrients. Some potential solutions can involve changing the patient’s medications or getting them psychological assistance. In other cases, the patient might be getting enough food, but not enough water. As we discussed in the dehydration section earlier, this can represent a big problem.

What Are The Symptoms Of Malnutrition?

There are several signs that a loved one might be malnourished. First, you might notice a sudden loss of weight. You might also notice that they are reporting feeling hungry or thirsty. However, in other cases, malnutrition can manifest as a complete loss of appetite.

This disease can also take a toll on their mental health. For example, you might notice mood changes, like becoming more irritable. It’s also possible that the lack of nutrients can make them more tired, as the body uses fewer resources when sleeping. They might also find that they are always feeling cold even though they are in a warm space. Finally, it might also cause them to feel depressed.

When you notice any of these symptoms, it’s essential that you take action. You might want to try talking to a staff member. In other cases, you might want to try and get an independent doctor in to examine your loved one. The longer that malnutrition occurs, the more severe the symptoms will become. As a result, this condition needs to be spotted and treated quickly. You might also want to talk to a personal injury lawyer, to get more information about the legal obligations of the facility, and whether they are being fulfilled.

What Are the Long-Term Impacts of Malnutrition?

If malnutrition occurs over an extended period, it has the potential to have serious long-term effects on the health of the residents. One of the most serious impacts is that their immune system might be weakened. As a result, they often pose a higher risk of getting infected. This is especially dangerous for elderly people, who tend to be more vulnerable to diseases.

It might also increase the chances that several potentially serious injuries can occur. For example, without ample nutrients, their bones might grow weaker. This can increase the chances that they will get broken during a fall. It can also make them prone to dizzy spells, making them more unstable on their feet. Also, their skin can become thinner. This makes them more susceptible to bedsores.

The longer their body goes without the nutrients it needs, the weaker they will become. Sadly, the effects will become worse the longer the malnutrition continues. In some cases, they might become so weak that they die from a minor injury.

How Nursing Homes Can Prevent Malnutrition

While malnutrition can provide a lot of potential dangers, these can often be avoided. The nursing home has an obligation to provide healthy, nutritious foods. They should also have a detailed meal plan, which has been customized to better suit the needs of your loved one.

Once the food has been made, the staff need to make sure that residents eat it. This can mean that they need to help them, cutting up the food into bite-sized chunks to make them easier to digest. If the resident is able to eat independently, they still need to make sure that they are consuming the food. If they need to have a supplement added to their food, the nursing home staff is required to make sure that they are taking it. Any sudden loss of weight should be noted and investigated.

If your loved one has been neglected for several days, or weeks, and has suffered malnutrition as a result, you might want to contact a personal injury lawyer. They’ll be able to advise you about your legal rights and help you gain compensation for the abuse your loved one has suffered.


personal injury law book stethoscopeMEDICAL MALPRACTICE





One of the most insidious forms of elder abuse is medical malpractice. This is perpetuated by those that you should be able to trust. Sadly, this form of abuse still occurs, particularly in nursing homes, where the patients might not have the mental faculties to question whether the doctor’s decisions are in their best interest.

What is Medical Malpractice?

There are several types of things that might be considered medical malpractice. First, the medical professional might fail to do a thorough inspection of the patient. In this case, they can miss vital information. As a result, the resident won’t receive the care they need. As an example, they might have developed a pressure ulcer. But, if the doctor doesn’t inspect them properly, they might miss it until it has turned into a major health concern.

It’s also possible that the doctor will get a payment from drug companies for prescribing a certain kind of medication. In this case, they might prescribe that drug, even though another option might be more effective.

Finally, the doctor might give detailed instructions on how the patient should be cared for. However, because the procedures are too time-consuming, the nursing home staff might fail to do them. It’s also possible that the patient’s condition might change but the staff didn’t tell the doctor.

How Can Medical Malpractice Impact the Patient?

As we’ve seen, there are several ways that medical malpractice can be defined. Ultimately, the effects will depend on the type of malpractice that they encountered. As an example, if the doctor failed to spot bedsores in one appointment, but caught it in the next one, the impacts might be small.

However, there are some cases where the patients have been severely impacted by the lack of medical assistance. Unfortunately, this has led to patients suffering and spending their days in pain. In other cases, it has led to wrongful death. Sadly, those with pre-existing physical or mental conditions tend to be most seriously impacted. If you can’t communicate verbally, it can be hard to let people know that you are in pain.

Preventing Medical Malpractice

In order to reduce the prevalence of medical malpractice, several government policies have been implemented. The nursing home needs to follow these rules, or they can risk facing serious legal penalties.

In this area, one of the most important areas is that the doctors need to consult with the patients before they enter the nursing home and after they leave. During this consultation, they should be able to spot any conditions which the nursing home staff will need to know. This includes noting any pre-existing medical conditions, and how they should be treated. They’ll also need to discuss whether they are currently taking any medications or receiving any kind of treatment.

Proving Medical Malpractice

One of the most frustrating things for families can be seeing the ones that they love getting mistreated by the nursing home staff or medical professionals. In this case, you should make sure to talk to an attorney and take action against the facility. This will help you get compensated for the abuse that your loved one has suffered. However, in order to win your case, your attorney will need to show that the nursing home is liable for the damages.

To do this, they will need to demonstrate that the nursing home violated their duty of care. Often, this means showing that the staff made a mistake, or failed to provide the right standard of care. In most cases, this means showing that they breached guidelines. As you can imagine, this can lead to a very broad scope for what constitutes medical malpractice. Everything from bedsores to choking errors could be linked to medical malpractice.

The next step is to show that your loved one received an injury as a result of the negligence. Finally, they’ll need to show that the nursing home’s action is directly linked to the injury. This is often one of the most difficult parts of the case. Often, your lawyer will need to examine their conduct closely to prove that they acted negligently. For example, they will need to interview witnesses, who can back up your version of events. In some cases, they might be able to use hospital records, to show the type of injuries that were received. During this stage, it’s essential that you have a skilled personal injury lawyer on your side.


MEDICATION ERRORSNursing home nurse gives patient medication but is it the right medication




This is especially common in nursing homes, where most residents will rely on some form of medication. In most cases, the mistakes will be minor, and won’t have any long-lasting impacts on the health of the patient. However, there are times, where the mistake can cause very serious impacts.  Sometimes, it can even result in death. Let’s take a closer look at how medication errors can impact your loved ones, and what you can do about it.

What Are The Consequences Of A Medication Error?

Often, the impact of the medication error will depend on the type of error which occurred. As an example, if they get the medication a few minutes late, this won’t have much impact. However, if they receive the wrong type of medication, it can produce unintended consequences. This situation has been known to cause seizures. It might also cause neurological damage. Depending on the type of drug, this damage might not be reversible. In severe cases, the drug can cause the body to start to shut down, resulting in death.

Why Do Medication Errors Occur?

Even when you put your loved one into the best-run nursing home, there’s still a chance that this type of mistake can occur. Often, this the result of understaffing. Each medication run, the nurses will have to visit multiple different patients and dole out many kinds of drugs. When doing this several times a day, they will inevitably make a few small mistakes along the way.

Another major reason why this type of mistake occurs is that the nursing staff doesn’t have the right type of training. When giving out drugs, nurses will need to rely on complex medical names and packages. Without the pre-existing knowledge, it can be difficult to distinguish between the different types of drugs and tell which one the patient will need to receive. This is made more confusing by the fact that most of the drugs look very similar. As a result, the nurses might prescribe the wrong drugs to the patient or give an incorrect dose.

How Common Are Serious Medication Errors?

As you can imagine, these types of mistakes can occur quite frequently in nursing homes, sometimes with tragic results. It’s estimated that medication errors occur to around 16 to 27 percent of people living in nursing homes. Shockingly, giving the wrong type of medication is the most common error. As we mentioned, this can put the patients at great risk. Thankfully, the chances that they will die as a result of the nursing home’s negligence is low.

According to studies, the morality rate from medication errors is less than one percent. However, it should be noted that these figures might not give the whole story. It’s largely believed that these incidents often go underreported. For example, if the incorrect medication causes a seizure, which proves to be fatal, the seizure might be blamed for the death, rather than the medication.

How Are Medication Errors Handled Legally?

As we mentioned, in a nursing home, the nursing staff will have to deliver dozens of different types of medications each day. As a result, the law accepts that some small errors will occur. As a result, it makes a few small tolerances. Nursing homes are allowed to have a five percent mistake rate. However, this doesn’t mean that serious mistakes will be tolerated.

Often, this rule can be difficult to understand, especially if you don’t have much legal experience. To give an example of how it might work, let’s look at some of the smaller mistakes that will generally be tolerated. Things like giving the medications a few minutes later or not making sure that they drink every last drop of medicine are usually fine. In this case, the impact of the mistake will be negligible.

However, serious mistakes often won’t be accepted, as they could put the patients at serious harm. As an example, the nursing staff might mix up the medications, giving the wrong pills to the patient. Another common mistake is giving the patient the pills, but not making sure that they take them. Mistakes, like giving the wrong dosage or injecting into the wrong part of the body, are considered serious mistakes, and will often be treated very harshly under the law. If you can prove that this happened, you’ll often have a strong negligence lawsuit, as you can show that the nursing home breached their duty of care. However, as you can imagine, this area can get complex, so you might want to hire a skilled personal injury lawyer to represent you.


staff feeding elderly woman nursing home patientNURSING HOME ABUSE





Many people feel comfortable leaving their loved ones in a nursing home, knowing that the staff will take care of them. However, this isn’t always the case. In some facilities, they can be subjected to physical and verbal abuse. As you can imagine, once discovered, the family members will often want to get justice for their loved ones. But there are a few things that you’ll need to consider first. Let’s look at some of these important areas.

How Common Is Abuse In Nursing Homes?

Sadly, abuse in nursing homes is a common occurrence. According to figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), 2 in 3 staff members say they have committed some kind of abuse in the past year. Unfortunately, this can mean that a significant percentage of those in nursing homes will be abused. However, it’s believed that these incidents are highly underreported, making it harder to identify how many cases of abuse are occurring each year. According to some studies, only 1 in 25 cases of elderly abuse will be formally reported.

Though anyone can be the victim of abuse, it’s believed that those who suffer from conditions that may limit their mental or physical abilities tend to carry a higher risk of being abused. The main reason for this is because they find it harder to report the abuse or fight back against their attackers.

What Are The Most Common Types Of Elder Abuse?

There are many ways that residents of a nursing home can get abused. However, this can be broken down into a few types of abuse.

First, they might be verbally or physically abused. For example, they might be shaken or punched. The nursing staff might swear at them or insult them. This tends to be the most severe, having lasting impacts on their physical and mental health. There are multiple reasons why this kind of behavior might be occurring. For example, the nursing home staff might be having a bad day, and take out their frustration on the patients.

Another common type of abuse is neglect. This is where the patients aren’t having their needs met. For example, they might not have been fed or received enough water. In other cases, the patient might be left in the same place, causing pressure ulcers. This type of abuse can also produce serious health impacts, especially if it is allowed to continue on a long-term basis.

There are a few other types of abuse that, while less common, can still occur. First, your loved one might be financially abused, where their money is taken under false pretenses. Alternatively, you might notice that they are getting emotionally abused, where they are being made to feel unimportant or insignificant. This can have a big impact on mental health. ‘

What Are The Legal Implications Of Abuse?

When you discover that your loved one has been mistreated, it’s common to want to hold the facility accountable for their actions. However, it can be difficult to prove abuse. Often, you’ll need to show that the nursing home violated their duty of care, by failing to protect their residents from the impacts of abuse.

One of the first obligations that the facility has is conducted a thorough background check on everyone involved in the facility. This should alert them to any staff member that has previous abuse charges. If they discover something that could put their patients at risk, the facility should not hire that person. The nursing home also needs to make sure that all their staff has the appropriate training. This can include things like how to work the machines around the facility. In this area, they should focus on whether they have the skills to provide adequate care to their residents.

They also have to investigate any abuse claim that’s been brought forward. It should be noted that this extends to every resident, even if they have made untrue reports in the past. It also includes residents who might not be able to remember all the details of the incident. If they fail to do this investigation, they could be facing serious criminal charges, and be held liable for the abuse in a civil court.

Finally, there might be sometimes where the residents are a danger to each other. When these incidents occur, the staff have an obligation to keep them separated, preventing any further kinds of abuse. If they don’t do this, they might be held liable for the abuse.

If the nursing home fails to follow these obligations or violates their duty of care, and a resident gets abused as a result, they could be held legally liable. As you can imagine, this area can very complex. So, if you are considering bringing a nursing home abuse case, you might want to talk to a skilled personal injury lawyer about your situation.







COVID-19 has had a big impact on the world, forcing countries to shut down to try and slow the spread of the deadly disease. However, while anyone can catch COVID-19, those in nursing homes are at the highest risk. As a result, the facility should be taking the strongest possible precautions to try and protect them.

How Dangerous Is COVID-19 For The Elderly?

While scientists are still trying to understand how the disease works, there is growing evidence that older residents, particularly those with pre-existing conditions, are the most vulnerable to COVID-19. One of the most important factors that affect your body's ability to fight the disease is how strong your immune system is. As we grow older, our immune response begins to slow. This makes elderly people more vulnerable to diseases and infection. Because of this, those who are over 70 are at a higher risk of dying after catching COVID-19. Having a pre-existing condition further increases the chances that the disease could be fatal. Those with lung or kidney illnesses are among the highest risk groups.

As a result, those in nursing homes are at the highest risk of dying if they contract this disease. Further complicating matters is how long the asymptomatic period is. This is the time when people can have, and spread, the virus without displaying any symptoms. It’s estimated that this period can last for 14 days. This is more than enough time for a member of staff to accidentally spread the disease throughout the nursing home.

Currently, this disease is moving very quickly. As a result, it can be hard to find out exactly how many nursing home residents have been killed because of COVID-19. However, considering how serious the effects can be for the elderly, it seems likely that there have been dozens of fatalities. According to the New York Times, the number of nursing home residents that have been killed because of COVID-19 could be as higher than 3,800.

Can COVID-19 Be Prevented?

Though there may have been thousands of COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes across the United States, the disease is preventable. To make sure that the residents are kept safe, the staff will need to put a few basic protocols in place.

One of the most important areas is making sure that the staff and residents get tested regularly, even if they aren’t showing symptoms. The faster that the facility can identify a problem, the quicker they can take action. For example, when a resident tests positive, they will need to be monitored more closely. In some cases, they might have trouble breathing. If this happens, they will need to be prepared to get sent to a hospital and, if needed, put into intensive care.

They will also need to make sure to start planning for the potential outbreak and how it might impact on the residents. By developing this plan early, they’ll know how to react if an outbreak does occur inside the facility. This plan should also include procedures to follow if the staff or medical personnel test positive for the disease.

What Obligations Does The Nursing Home Have To Stop COVID-19?

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, the spread of COVID-19 can be very concerning. However, the nursing home does have a few obligations to make sure that all of its residents are protected.

First, they need to be prepared for an infectious disease. This means listening to medical guidance and trying to learn more about how the virus can spread. Also, as we mentioned, they will need to establish a strong system to protect residents if there is an outbreak inside the facility.

They also need to take steps to make sure that the disease doesn’t spread through the facility. For example, if a resident tests positive for COVID-19, they will need to place them into isolation. This will prevent them from giving it to someone else. They will also need to stop anyone who has the disease from making contact with the patients. This can mean scanning visitors and staff before they are allowed into the facility. They might also try to implement social distancing, where possible, to try and further reduce the spread. Also, according to guidance from the CDC, staff should be wearing personal protective equipment like masks and gloves, to make sure they don’t accidentally spread the virus.

Are Nursing Homes Legally Responsible If A Resident Dies From COVID-19?

Many families have received the distressing news that their loved ones have died from COVID-19. This has led many people to ask whether they can take legal action against the nursing home. Even though the disease is highly contagious, it’s still preventable. As a result, you might be able to form a case. However, this will often depend on the way the facility handled the virus. 

For the nursing home to be held legally responsible, you need to show that they breached their duty of care. This means that they didn’t follow the right procedures to keep the residents safe. For example, infected residents might not have been isolated, or staff members with suspect symptoms might not have been tested. You’ll then need to show that this resulted in the patient becoming sick. Often, this area can get very complex. For example, you can’t see when a virus gets transferred from person to person. As a result, you might want to consider hiring an excellent attorney to help you form a strong case.





Victims of smoking accidents may experience injuries such as burns on their hands, face, or arms. Shrapnel from an e-cigarette explosion can leave scars.

Cigarette fires cause serious injuries to victims. Sometimes even third-degree burns: these burns, in particular, are painful and are likely to leave lasting scars.

Burn injuries require medical attention. Severe burns may require reconstructive surgery and skin grafting. We understand that burns can be traumatic. You should not have to suffer because of careless smoking. These surgeries can be expensive and add stress during your time of recovery.

If you suffer burns from a cigarette fire, you are entitled to compensation. It is best to file a lawsuit quickly to stay within the state’s statute of limitations personal injury claims period.

Should you or someone you love be injured or killed in a smoking accident, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at The Injury Firm are ready to help. We understand that a smoking accident can be unexpected and tragic in its consequences. Should you or loved ones experience a smoking accident, we can assist you as you submit a claim.

In the event you or a family member has been a victim of a smoking accident, call now to schedule a free, no-obligation appointment to talk about your legal rights with an experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer: 954-951-0000.






Assisted living homes, hospitals, and nursing homes carry the responsibility of caring for the elderly with physical and cognitive impairments. 

Wandering Patients

Patients with impaired memory or cognitive functioning--but retain their ability to walk--are more likely to wander.  6 in 10 people suffering from dementia wander, according to the Alzheimer's Association. Cognitively impaired patients with functional mobility may wander aimlessly or in search of some object or place. A resident may have a physical urge, such as needing to use the restroom, but forgetting how to get there, they end up wandering out of the facility instead. Other patients may try to leave a facility because they want to go home or believe they have an obligation to fill--like going to work. This behavior of wandering or attempting to leave a facility unaccompanied is referred to as “exit-seeking” or “elopement.”

Cases of wandering and elopement tend to occur in the late afternoon or evening due to Sundowner's Syndrome. During these hours, confusion, agitation, and restlessness often increase in dementia patients.

Wandering Injuries

Not all wandering behaviors are inherently adverse or dangerous. For some,  wandering within a facility may actually benefit patients by providing exercise as well as social and sensory stimulation.

However, a study in 2006 estimates 39% of dementia patients living in nursing homes critically wander (i.e., expose themselves to potential dangers). Residents who wander may risk experiencing assault, robbery, or a traffic accident. Patients have drowned, fallen, and suffered fractures or head injuries. Weather plays a crucial role as well. Patients who elope from their facilities may freeze to death, suffer heatstroke, etc.

Even when a patient is found without experiencing any of these incidents, lack of sustenance, proper hygiene, or necessary medications can lead to complications after their return.

Other Statistics

Approximately 5 million Americans, 65 and older, live with dementia, and globally, more than 46 million people suffer from dementia. In light of these statistics, providing effective support and security for patients is a major concern for health and care facilities.

When a wandering incident occurs, a quick and effective response is vital for a patient’s health and safe return. If a person with dementia is not found within the first 24 hours, there is a 50% chance they will sustain serious injury or death.

Is the Care Facility at Fault?

Families put their trust in the assisted living and nursing homes to provide proper care and safety measures for their loved ones. As such, it is the care facility’s obligation to have preventive and emergency procedures in place.

In 80% of the elopement cases occurring in nursing homes, the facility and staff were already aware of the resident’s wandering habits. This demonstrates a staggering absence of the facilities’ preemptive measures to restrict known chronic wanderers from eloping.

Reasons facilities are found at fault include inadequate staff, negligent security measures, and insufficient or passive responses to eloping incidents.

As mentioned before, due to Sundowning Syndrome, cases often occur in the evenings when fewer staff members are available. Due to budgetary restraints, nursing homes do not always provide the necessary supervision that residents require.

Nursing facilities should identify residents at risk of wandering as soon as possible. Observation helps lead to an understanding of a patient’s behavior. Identifying environmental or physical triggers for individual residents allows staff to diminish or eliminate a patient’s exposure to these factors. There are a number of techniques and strategies facilities can implement to reduce a resident’s risk of wandering. If a nursing facility fails to provide evidence of identifying and reducing wandering behavior, they may be found negligent.

Facilities may also be found negligent for ineffective security measures: doors left unlocked, malfunctioning alarms, insufficient supervision over front entry, etc.

When an elopement occurs, the care facility’s response determines its liability in a case that results in a wandering injury or death. Facilities should have emergency procedures in place beforehand, notify the necessary authorities and individuals, and have proper documentation on hand to aid in the search.

One incident that occurred here in Florida involved a resident who left their nursing home residence, fell in a drainage ditch and drowned. In the end, the facility was held accountable for $1.8 million compensatory and $4.5 million punitive damages.

What You Can Do

If an assisted living or nursing home is negligent in any of these ways, they may be responsible for any wandering injuries or deaths that occur on their watch.

Here at The Injury Firm, our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers can help you file a claim against a nursing facility that is responsible for the injury or death of a family member. If you believe negligence occurred on the part of the care facility, give us a call at 954-951-0000 for a free consultation.


disabled wheelchair bound man falliind down stairsWHEELCHAIR ACCIDENTS




Millions of Americans rely on wheelchairs for everyday tasks and mobility for a multitude of reasons. They may be unable to walk due to injury, old age, or for any other reason, a wheelchair is an essential aide to help them be mobile. Unfortunately, though wheelchairs are made to help keep patients safe while recovering and make life easier for disabled and elderly individuals, accidents can still happen. Wheelchair accidents are not entirely unheard of and can lead to serious injury.

Wheelchair accidents can be caused by a host of reasons, from manufacturer errors in the making of the wheelchair, or negligence on the part of caretakers. The most common wheelchair related accident is related to tips and falls. These tips and falls can be caused by going too fast, unlocked brakes, and hitting large bumps with only one wheel, along with many other hazards. These falls can cause fractures, concussions, and an expensive hospital visit.

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, contacting a personal injury lawyer may be necessary to ensure that you’re adequately compensated for the accident.

The Accident -- Who is Liable?


The pursuit of compensation for your accident requires that the third party aiding you in the wheelchair had caused the accident through negligence, thus resulting in injury or damage. Was the wheelchair ramp or mobility device defective? Did a nurse or other caregiver move the victim out of the wheelchair improperly, resulting in them dropping him or her? Did a wheelchair assistant at the nursing home move the victim too quickly, resulting in a collision or a tip?

All of these scenarios, as examples, can result in severe injuries and unexpected hospital visits. If any of these potential accidents occurred, or any other accidents related to negligence, contacting an attorney will help assist you in seeking compensation.

Manufacturer Error

Did a manufacturing error cause your accident or a defective piece of the wheelchair that resulted in injury? In the case of the wheelchair causing the injury due to defect or faulty design, the manufacturer would be labeled as the negligent party. This liability can be a result of a host of causes that could be considered negligence you need to consider.

A defective wheelchair can cause tips, falls, and injuries through everyday use. If a wheelchair has a defective design, such as a faulty brake or a poorly designed seat, the manufacturer may be held liable for any accident or injury caused. There are two types of defects when it comes to a wheelchair. A defective design, like a poorly designed seat that causes a fall, and defective pieces, like a wheel that has a faulty piece resulting in a tip or fall.

Marketing defects are another form of defect that would leave the manufacturer liable. If the instructions for the usage of the wheelchair are unclear, misleading, or negligible resulting in accidents because of this misunderstanding, this is considered a marketing defect.

A manufacturer can be just as liable for a wheelchair related accident as a negligent caregiver, and when an incident happens, contacting an attorney is imperative to seek compensation. If an instruction manual is unclear, a chair is defective, or the wheels faulty, and this causes injury, the incident was of no fault of your own. The manufacture is required to ensure your safety while in use of their product if they fail to do this, they are liable for the accidents caused as a result of it.

Seeking Compensation

Contacting a personal injury lawyer to review your case and determine who is liable can help ensure you can be compensated for the damages. An attorney can help you seek compensation for, but not exclusive to, the medical expenses incurred because of the accident and pain and suffering because of the accident.

In any case of a personal injury, gather evidence as soon as possible after the accident. This could be imperative to present your case. If you need to seek immediate medical attention, ask a witness of the accident to collect witness statements or pictures of the cause of the accident (i.e., faulty chair, seat, wheels, etc.) while you seek medical attention. Some key pieces of evidence when you are injured after a wheelchair accident include,

  • Photographic evidence
    • Of injuries, faulty wheelchair, area that caused the accident
  • Physical evidence
    • The faulty wheelchair itself if applicable
  • Witness statement
  • Medical records

If you can collect as many of these pieces of evidence right after the incident occurs, there is a higher chance that witnesses will remember the incident more clearly and that your case can be properly represented.

If you were in a wheelchair related accident caused by a defective wheelchair or the negligence of a caretaker, you might be able to seek compensation for the injuries incurred. Contacting a personal injury lawyer to consider the strength of your case and the options you have in seeking compensation is highly advised in these cases to ensure that you are properly and adequately represented.







These are sometimes accidents that could have been prevented, which led to the loss of life. Here are some deadly accident statistics. An estimated 40,000 people die from car accidents every year, and many of these accidents were caused by unsafe actions of others. In 2017, nearly 170,000 people died due to some type of accident. In some of these cases, people may have a case for wrongful death.

What is Considered Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a broad category that covers a variety of deaths. Wrongful deaths are simply cases where someone dies as a result of either negligence or some type of misconduct on the behalf of another person. There are several causes of wrongful death, including:

  • Medical Malpractice

Nursing home staff including nurses, doctors, and other staff members who help patients need to provide the highest level of care possible for their patients. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case leading to deaths as a result of such things as surgical errors, prescription errors, defective equipment, and nursing home abuse/neglect.

Nursing Home Wrongful Death

People who reside in nursing homes are some of the most vulnerable populations. They are reliant on the staff of these homes to take care of them to the best of their ability. Not only are there many cases of negligence that lead to the death of a resident, but there are also an alarming amount of cases of abuse that can lead to death. Cases for nursing home wrongful deaths include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Falls
  • Bedsores
  • Malnutrition and/or dehydration
  • Medication errors
  • Medical malpractice

It can be especially hard to prove wrongful death cases in nursing homes because residents are typically in poor health already. The negligent acts of the staff can also not lead to immediate death, meaning that you have to prove that the injuries caused by negligence had actually caused your loved one’s death.

How a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Works

The most important aspect of a wrongful death case is whether or not you can prove that the defendant had a role in the death of your loved one. For instance, in the case of a nursing home wrongful death, you need to prove that the staff did not provide adequate and reasonable care which led to death. You need to have evidence that someone died as a result of the actions another party took. Whether the person was supposed to take care of your loved one or they were careless and lead to their death, you need to have enough evidence to sway a jury. The burden of proof is less than that of a criminal case, but you still need to have solid evidence for your case.

If the death wasn’t an accident, you need to prove that the death was caused by intentional harm. Typically these cases are also going through a criminal case at the same time, but experienced lawyers know exactly how to use the criminal case to help your civil wrongful death case.

If you can prove that someone else’s actions resulted in death, at least with 51% liability, you can win your case and get the compensation you are owed.

Damages You Can Pursue in Wrongful Death Case

What damages can you recover in these types of cases? Aside from emotional distress (in most areas), you are eligible to receive compensation for the following damages:

  • Costs associated with funerals and burials.
  • Costs associated with medical care
  • Loss of companionship, support, and affection.
  • Survival claim (victim’s pre-death pain and suffering)

To be more successful in your wrongful death claim, you need to hire a lawyer experienced in this area as soon as possible to ensure that you can prove your case.









Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

When you place a loved one into a nursing home, you are trusting the facility to act in their best interest. Sadly, this doesn’t always happen. There are some heartbreaking tales of residents being sexually abused, while their families weren’t aware that it was occurring. This type of abuse can also lead to a range of health issues.

What Is Sexual Abuse In A Nursing Home?

Sexual abuse is any unwanted or non-consensual sexual conduct. This can be either physical or verbal abuse. Sadly, there are several ways that someone might be subject to sexual abuse in a nursing home.  As an example, the resident might be photographed in a sexual way, without their consent. In other cases, they might be touched inappropriately. In more severe cases, they might be raped.

Who Is Most Vulnerable To Sexual Abuse?

There are a few different groups who might be the most vulnerable to sexual abuse. However, they all share the same characteristics. They tend to be unable to fight back or share their stories of abuse. For example, people who don’t have any close family in the area might be targeted, as people will be less likely to spot the signs of abuse. Those with medical conditions that limit their strength or mobility might also be targeted, as they will be unable to fight back. Another particularly vulnerable group is those with mental health conditions, like dementia. These people often won’t be able to remember the details of the abuse, so their stories won’t be believed or investigated properly.

How Common Is Sexual Abuse In Nursing Homes?

Currently, there isn’t a lot of studies about how common sexual abuse is. Several issues make it hard to identify how common this is. For example, most nursing homes won’t fully investigate these allegations. Despite this, we can still get a sense of the scale of the problem. According to investigations from CNN, more than 1,000 nursing homes received a citation for sexual abuse. It should be noted that this figure is likely lower than it should be, as most cases of sexual abuse go unreported, especially amongst the elderly. However, a large number of citations might indicate a more systemic error, which needs to be addressed.

Even if the abuse is detected and investigated, it can be hard to take action. Most nursing home residents might not be able to point out the person responsible for the abuse. This can make it harder to pinpoint the abuser and take action. Because of these factors, elderly people are least likely to get a conviction against their sexual abuser, especially if they don’t have any physical signs of abuse. 

Protect Your Loved One From Sexual Abuse

As we’ve seen, most people in nursing homes won’t report cases of sexual abuse. For some, this might be because they are embarrassed or ashamed. In others, the patient might not be able to remember the incident. This is most common amongst those with mental health conditions, like dementia. Because of this, you will need to remain vigilant, ready to spot the signs that your loved one has been abused. There are some signs that you should be looking out for.

First, you might want to look for any physical signs of the abuse. This can involve bruising, particularly around the arms or legs. In other cases, you might spot defensive wounds on their body, such as scratches or cuts. You might also notice that they are having trouble walking. This could be the result of a physical altercation or because of pelvis injuries from the rape. Another potential sign of sexual assault is blood on their underwear. Also, they might have received a sexually transmitted illness.

You should also be aware that not all forms of sexual assault are physical. In this case, you’ll need to spot a change in their mental health. In some cases, they might become more depressed or more agitated after an assault. In other instances, the resident might develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as they try to cope with the trauma of the assault. You might also notice that their eating or sleeping patterns have changed.

If you notice any of these symptoms of sexual abuse, you need to take action. This will make sure that your loved one is kept safe. First, you should make sure to contact the head of the nursing home and discuss your concerns with them. This will allow the facility to make sure that your loved one is given the medical attention that they need. You might also want to consider discussing the need for a rape kit. This can make it easier for law enforcement to get a conviction against the abuse perpetrator. You might also want to get in touch with an attorney. They will be able to discuss your legal rights with you.

After contacting the relevant authorities, you should check in frequently with the resident. This will let you spot any other developments. It can also allow you to monitor their recovery, making sure that they are getting the support they need.

What Are The Nursing Home’s Obligations?

The nursing home needs to try to protect its residents from sexual assault. This is a very serious obligation because most of the residents will be vulnerable to this kind of abuse. First, they need to do a background check on all their staff members. If they have been convicted of a sexual assault in the past, they shouldn’t be employed.

The nursing home also has to properly investigate each claim of sexual abuse. As we mentioned, this can be very difficult, especially if the resident can’t provide the details about what occurred. However, they should still discuss the matter with staff, and try to figure out what happened.

If you feel that the nursing home didn’t protect your loved one, you might want to talk to a personal injury lawyer. They will be able to talk about your legal options, and possibly help prepare a case against the facility.








Just because someone has settled into a nursing home doesn’t mean that they are going to give up their right to smoke. For many residents, smoking has become a lifelong habit, which they will find very difficult to quit. However, this activity isn’t harmless. There are many ways that someone might be injured in a smoking accident. Because of this, the nursing staff will need to be vigilant, monitoring the residents carefully when smoking, to make sure that they don’t accidentally hurt themselves.

How Can Smoking Accidents Occur?

There are several ways that a resident might hurt themselves, or others when smoking. First, they might be lighting the cigarette themselves. If this is the case, they could drop the match, or the cigarette onto themselves. If they are wearing a blanket, a dropped match could easily start a fire. At these times, many residents might be too frail to move out of the way fast enough, burning themselves. In other cases, the resident might have mental challenges that prevent them from recognizing the danger signs, like smoke or flame, before it’s too late. The dangers of a serious fire incident can increase for patients who are taking oxygen. Pure oxygen is a highly flammable substance. If put too close to a flame, there’s the potential for an explosion to occur. If a fire breaks out in the facility, it has the potential to put all the residents and the staff in danger.

Sadly, cigarettes can also be used to bully or abuse patients. For example, in rare cases, the patient might have the cigarette extinguished on their skin, creating painful burns. Because these marks are small, they can easily be concealed, which can make it harder for loved ones to spot the abuse and prevent it from occurring. If you do spot these warning signs, you should make sure to talk to the nursing home staff. You should also make sure to contact an attorney, to discuss your legal rights.

Finally, some residents might be affected by second-hand smoke. This is more common in nursing homes that don’t have good ventilation. The effects of second-hand smoke can vary. In some cases, it might be a minor irritant. In others, it might exacerbate breathing difficulties, causing severe coughing fits.

How Common Are Smoking Accidents In Nursing Homes?

The number of people who will be smoking varies greatly from facility to facility. According to studies, in some facilities, 80 percent of nursing home residents smoke. The number of people who have been injured by smoking-related accidents can vary. In Australia, studies have estimated that 10 people died from thermal injuries related with smoking over 13 years. According to the United States Fire Authority, elderly people are the most vulnerable to fires, with a 43 percent fire death rate. The number of people who have received lesser injuries, such as burns, is likely to be much higher.

What Kind Of Injuries Can Smoking-Related Accidents Cause?

As we’ve seen, there are many ways that someone might be injured by smoking cigarettes. The severity of the injury will often vary, depending on how it was received.

A relatively minor burn, like when the match is accidentally dropped onto the skin, can be easily treated. In most cases, the patient will be back to normal within a few days. However, the more severe the burn, the longer the recovery period becomes. For example, in severe cases, the patient might receive skin and nerve damage. This can require urgent treatment and medical care to address. This can take months of recovery time. Depending on the severity, the patient may have lifelong mobility issues. In rare cases, smoking-related accidents can cause wrongful death.

As we mentioned, second-hand smoke can lead to breathing difficulties. This is most common amongst those with pre-existing conditions, like asthma. In some cases, this can lead to coughing fits, as the body attempts to clear the airwaves. This second-hand smoke could also be doing damage to the lungs, increasing the chances that they will develop medical issues in the future.

Finally, this type of damage can also take a physiological toll. Being involved in a fire can be highly traumatic, even if the person didn’t suffer any serious physical issues. This is especially true for victims of abuse. It’s common for people who have been physically abused to try to hide the signs, out of embarrassment. Over time, mental health conditions like depression and anxiety can start to manifest. Even if you stop the abuse, it can be hard to make people feel they are in a safe environment again.

How Can Nursing Homes Prevent Smoking Accidents?

The nursing home has a legal obligation to create a safe environment for their patients. Part of this is trying to prevent smoking accidents. If they don’t follow the best possible practices, and someone gets injured as a result, they might be held liable. If you suspect this is the case, make sure to contact a personal injury lawyer, who can look into the situation and advise you of your legal rights.

One of the most important practices should be encouraging people to stop smoking. Though it can be difficult to kick the habit, the nursing home should offer support to make it easier. If the residents continue to smoke, they will need constant supervision. Major problems, like starting a fire or patients burning themselves, can occur very quickly. As a result, the nursing home should make sure that the staff focuses purely on watching residents as they smoke. The facility should have a dedicated smoking area, which is well-ventilated, so there is no chance of second-hand smoke.

They will also need to make sure that the facility is fitted with reliable alarm systems. This should let the staff know that there is a problem, allowing them to take action quickly. They will also need to make sure that all staff knows the correct procedures, so they can get residents out of the facility quickly.

Overall, through this horrible ordeal, the correct personal injury attorney can assist you in reclaiming a part of your life.



Nursing Home Chains

When you start to research nursing home options for your loved one, you’ll start to notice that a lot of them are owned by large chains. This is a trend that has been occurring over the last few years, as larger corporations have the funds to take over the smaller ones. There is nothing wrong with this approach. However, it can sometimes impact on the level of care that patients can receive. Let’s take a closer look at why this can happen and what you can do about it.

How Common Are For-Profit Homes?

There are still some non-profit homes, which are run to benefit the residents. However, there are becoming less common. Sadly, there are more and more for-profit facilities coming onto the market. In most cases, this occurs as they take over the non-profit facilities, and incorporate them into their brand.

This is happening at a rapid pace. It’s estimated that there are around 15,600 nursing homes in the United States. Of these, 69.3 percent are privately owned nursing homes and run for profit. It’s estimated that just 6 percent of the facilities in the U.S. are run by the government. Increasingly, this area is being dominated by a small handful of companies, who control a large percentage of the market.

What Are The Most Common Problems With For-Profit Nursing Homes?

It should be noted that just because a nursing home is run by a large chain doesn’t mean that there are any problems with it. However, looking at the industry as a whole, there are a few disturbing things that tend to occur when a nursing home is run for profit.

First, to make money, the facility might try to cut back on the type of services that they are offering. Commonly, this means reducing the number of staff members. With fewer staff and the same number of patients, mistakes will likely occur. For example, they might be more likely to experience falls. Another commonly reported problem is that call lights go unanswered when the patient needs help. This negligence can also take a big toll on health. If patients aren’t moved regularly, they can start to develop bedsores. They might also get infections if they aren’t showered regularly.

This kind of symptom also takes a mental toll on the staff. Because there are so many things they need to do, they often experience more mental strain and exhaustion. As a result, they might be more likely to burnout. As a result, the industry tends to have a high turnover rate, sometimes exceeding 400 percent. The chain might also try to cut costs by reducing the number of resources that they spend on each facility. For example, they might try to reduce the menu variety available to the residents.

Sadly, this can often start to take a toll on the residents. Often, the amount of abuse and neglect and abuse reported will increase when the facility becomes privately owned. This can have a big toll on mental health, making residents more likely to become depressed. They can also start to see their health decline, as their needs are no longer being met. As a result, privately owned nursing homes tend to encounter more lawsuits than not-for-profit ones.

What Can You Do If Your Loved One Is Abused in A Nursing Home Chain?

Even though the nursing home is owned by a large corporate chain, they are still subject to the same rules and regulations as everyone else in the industry. The nursing home must provide a safe environment for its residents. If they breach these obligations, you will be able to take legal action.

When they make a breach, you’ll need to prove that the facility acted negligently. This means showing that they didn’t provide the right standard of care. To prove this in court, you’ll often have to show that they breached their guidelines. You’ll also need to show that the patient suffered an injury as a result. To help you do this, you might want to hire a skilled personal injury lawyer.

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