When nursing homes fail to properly assess and attend to a resident’s health needs, the resident may experience illness, injury, untreated illness or injury, falls, poor hygiene, and various other consequences as a result.
Failing to properly assess and attend to a resident’s health needs constitutes neglect on the part of the nursing home. Signs of nursing home neglect include soiled or otherwise dirty clothing or bedding, bruises, cuts, or other injuries. Nursing home residents suffering from neglect may experience bed sores or pressure ulcers, and these injuries may seem to take a long time to heal, or may not heal at all.
Neglected residents may experience negative side effects from taking the wrong type of medication. They may fall due to a lack of assistance, or you may simply notice the resident needs more help than they appear to be receiving.
In some cases, failure to assess and attend to residents’ health needs in Georgia may result in serious illness or even mortality. Neglected residents may develop urinary tract infections, pneumonia, sepsis, or another serious medical condition.
When a resident enters a nursing home, staff and caregivers should assess the resident’s health needs and create an individualized care plan to fulfill those needs. Before creating a plan, nursing homes should bring in a physician to assess the resident, and the nursing home should follow the physician’s instructions regarding that resident.
Georgia nursing home law specifies that nursing homes and assisted living facilities must conduct a complete, accurate, and reproducible assessment of each resident – both at the time the resident enters the home, and at regular intervals thereafter. When a resident is admitted to a nursing home, the facility must have instructions from a physician on how to immediately care for the resident.
A resident’s overall assessment must include a number of specific assessments: testing things like vision, communication, skin conditions, medication, mood and behavior patterns, lifestyle and daily routine, and demographic information. All assessments must be documented and kept on file.
When the resident experiences a significant physical or mental change, such as a sudden health decline, the nursing home must conduct a new assessment within 14 days of determining the change. Thereafter, nursing homes must reassess residents on a quarterly basis.
Because nursing homes are required by law to assess residents upon their arrival and regularly thereafter, and to develop a care plan to attend to the resident’s health needs, a nursing home can be held responsible for failure to properly assess and attend to a resident’s health needs.
Nursing homes owe a certain duty of care towards their residents, and this includes attending to residents’ individual conditions. For example, a resident with poor eyesight or weak muscles may need assistance getting out of bed or walking to another room. In this case, the nursing home is responsible for recognizing that need and doing all it reasonably can to assist the resident in moving around safely and without injury.
A nursing home that is responsible for neglecting a resident by failing to properly assess and attend to their health needs may be required to compensate the resident for any pain and suffering, medical bills, and other expenses related to that neglect. If a resident dies as a result of nursing home neglect, the nursing home may be required to compensate the resident’s family for loss of their loved one.
Failure to properly assess and attend to a resident’s health needs may occur in nursing homes when caregivers become neglectful due to a staff shortage, laziness, or another factor. When there are too few caregivers in a nursing home, they may not have the time to comprehensively assess each resident on a regular basis.
Neglect may also occur due to a lack of education: staff may be uninformed of the need for regular assessments, or they may not know how to properly conduct the assessment as required by state law.
Alternately, nursing homes may lack the resources to properly attend to a resident’s needs. The facility may be unable to afford the medication or equipment prescribed by the doctor, or they may try to cut costs by using a cheaper option.
Other times, nursing home staff may cut corners in order to save time or make things more convenient for themselves.
In short, there may be a number of reasons for nursing home neglect, but none excuse the act of negligence, and failing to properly assess and attend to a resident’s health needs is illegal, whatever the reason.
If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of failure to assess and attend to a resident’s health needs in Georgia, or that they have been a victim of some other form of nursing home neglect, you should report the neglect to a government worker and call a lawyer for a consultation.
You can report nursing home abuse or neglect to an ombudsman (a person who has been trained to advocate for nursing home residents’ rights) or to Georgia Healthcare Facility Regulation (the organization responsible for regulating nursing home care in Georgia).
Reporting the incident will help the state intervene to prevent the nursing home from neglecting more residents. Also feel free to call and speak to one of our experienced Georgia nursing home neglect lawyers to see if you can receive compensation for your loved one. A lawyer will help you decide if you have a case and how much you or your loved one can expect to receive in damages. Making a case is the best way to ensure your loved one is fairly compensated for the nursing home’s act of negligence, and that their legal rights are upheld.