Making the decision to place a parent or a loved one in a nursing home is never easy. While you or other family members might have done your best to keep them at home, the care that many elderly or chronically ill patients require is outside the scope of what most people are capable of. The care, treatment, and supervision provided by nursing homes might be exactly what your loved one needed.
You did your best when you went through the process of selecting a facility, perhaps going on tours, reading reviews from other families, and reviewing Medicare ratings. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to glean what is actually going on inside of a nursing home. Regular supervision is an absolute necessity to keep residents safe, and any lack thereof can be considered neglect if someone is injured.
Injuries in patients who are of advanced age are often serious. If a lack of supervision caused your loved one’s injuries at a nursing home, the nursing home abuse attorneys at Shrager & Sachs may be able to help you pursue compensation on their behalf.
What Type of Supervision Do Nursing Home Residents Need?
Not every nursing home resident will require the same level of supervision. Any staff who will be responsible for working with a given patient should be aware of their supervision needs, including:
- Registered nurses
- Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses
- Nursing aides, attendants, and orderlies
- Health aids
- Physical therapists
- Recreation workers
Nursing home staff can access information about supervision needs in each resident’s care plan. Care plans should always be up to date with the most recent information. It is often necessary to update a patient’s care plan if they underwent surgery, are on new medications, or are experiencing a decline in overall health. You can always request a care plan meeting to review the plan and whether the current list of supervised activities is still appropriate. Here are some of the most common activities that frequently require supervision in nursing home settings:
- Supervision may be necessary even if a patient is sitting in a chair or on a couch while watching TV in a common area. If your loved one has poor balance or struggles to maintain certain positions, there should always be someone nearby who can help your loved one stand up or to prevent any unnecessary falls, such as those from chairs without arm rests.
- Declines in mobility are not uncommon as people age. Many nursing home patients require supervision while walking, whether that means nearby staff keenly observing and monitoring a patient’s path, or directly walking with the patient. Nursing home staff may also need to monitor the use of walking aids, such as canes, walking frames, or wheeled walkers.
- Drinking or eating. Choking-related deaths are higher among the elderly than any other age group. Any patients who have exhibited issues with eating or drinking safely should be carefully supervised during all meal and snack times. Staff should also monitor all communal dining areas and be aware of which patients may need extra supervision. Any patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or pneumonitis will need additional care and supervision to prevent choking fatalities.
- Physical activities. Many nursing homes offer a wide array of physical activities for residents to take part in. Group walks, sit-to-stand exercise classes, dancing, and tai chi are all excellent forms of exercise that promote both physical and emotional well-being among nursing home patients. However, they can cause more harm than good without the correct supervision. All physical activities should be properly supervised regardless of patients’ individual abilities. Any residents suffering from limited mobility or other balance issues will require additional monitoring during such activities.
- Bathing or using the restroom. It is important to help nursing home residents maintain a sense of dignity and privacy in their lives. However, getting in and out of the bath or shower or using the restroom puts nursing home residents at an elevated risk for serious falls. Supervising shower times or when a patient is entering or getting out of the bath may be necessary to prevent severe injuries that may further inhibit a person’s mobility.
- Changing clothes. It can be difficult for some patients to bend down to put socks on, and stepping in and out of pants poses a significant tripping hazard for some patients. Supervision might not always be necessary depending on mobility, but the potential need for monitoring should always be reviewed at regular intervals to assess for any changes.
- Taking medication. Nursing home residents who take medication should always be supervised. Much like food, pills present a choking hazard for certain patients. Staff should also check to be sure that a resident has taken all of their medication and is not stashing or throwing away pills.
This is not an exhaustive list of every activity that might require supervision. If you have any concerns about what your loved one is being supervised for, review their care plan and request a meeting to make changes if necessary.
Lack of Supervision Is Neglect
Patients in nursing homes deserve to be cared for with respect and dignity. Neglect in any form (including lack of supervision) denies them that respectful care and can actively cause long-term harm, both physically and emotionally. When nursing home staff fail to properly supervise a resident who suffers harm as a result, they can be held responsible for their negligent actions.
The nursing home abuse lawyers at Shrager & Sachs can help. Your loved one deserved better, and while nothing can undo the harm that’s already been caused, we can guide you through the process of filing a nursing home abuse claim. Any compensation secured through this action can be put to use for your loved one, covering anything from medical bills to pain and suffering.
A nursing home abuse claim will help more than just your loved one. Your actions will have a broad impact that reaches to other residents, protecting them from suffering similar harm. If you are ready to help your loved one with their injuries, you can contact us to schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney.
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