It is not uncommon for elderly people to get sick or get infected under conditions that would not affect younger people in the same way. When an elderly person living in a nursing home gets sick, it could simply be a consequence of his age and compromised immune system. In some cases, however, the illness could be a result of negligent care at the nursing home.
Nursing homes have a duty to provide reasonable care to their residents, which includes taking the necessary precautions to prevent and treat infections that could cause illnesses to the residents. When a nursing home resident gets sick, and the sickness can be traced to the negligence of the nursing home, the resident can seek compensation for the costs of the medical care and emotional costs associated with the sickness. In order to receive compensation, the sick person has to prove that the sickness was caused by negligence and not by natural causes. This may be easier to prove in situations where a person gets an infection due to unsanitary conditions or as a result of neglect by nursing home staff.
Acts or omissions by nursing home staff members that can be considered negligence may include: failing to properly groom a resident who requires assistance; failing to provide a resident with prescribed medication; and failing to change bandages or treat sores and other conditions that may arise when a resident is bedridden. If the nursing home facilities are also in need of repair, and the administration fails to act to correct the situation, it can cause medical issues for the residents. Residents could get sick from asbestos, lead, or a bacterial infection such as Legionnaires’ disease.
When visiting a loved one in a nursing home, it is important to look for signs of sickness or infection that may not have been treated or reported by the nursing home staff. Not only can doing this ensure that any needed medical care is provided immediately, it can be the best way to catch early signs of elder abuse. If the resident keeps getting sick from the same condition over and over, it may be time to ask more questions about the illness and what precautions have been taken to prevent the resident from getting sick. These kinds of preliminary questions can help if a future claim for compensation is made.
It may also be helpful to speak with the resident’s doctor to find out if the recurring nature of the illness or infection is common or out of the ordinary. Even family members need to remember that unless they have express permission from the patient, they may not be able to get any medical information.
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If you suspect that your loved one’s recurring illnesses are a result of negligence and not natural causes, you needed to act to protect the person. To find out more about how you can help, and how your loved one may be able to seek compensation call us at Vocelle & Berg, LLP, in Vero Beach, Florida for a free consultation with a personal injury attorney with experience dealing with cases of nursing home abuse.