Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Putting a loved one in a nursing home is always very difficult. However, sometimes families simply do not have the time or resources to take care of an elderly family member in their own home. It is necessary to have a place where people can go when they have a long-term illness, and it is not uncommon for people to spend the last days of their life in a nursing home.
Table of Contents
Nursing Home Neglect
Diabetic Resident Neglect
Nursing Home Bedsores
Aspiration Pneumonia in Nursing Homes
Neglect is one of the most common types of abuse in nursing homes. Long-term care facilities are often understaffed so employees will often not have enough time to do everything they are supposed to. Neglect can include Falls and Fractures, Bedsores, Infections, Aspiration Pneumonia, Impaction, Hypoglycemia, and other injuries. A few of the common type of nursing home injuries in Atlanta Nursing Homes include:
- Failing to turn and reposition residents so bedsores, also known as pressure sores, develop.
- Failing to provide reasonable supervision to prevent falls and serious injuries
- Failing to clean residents to avoid serious infections like Urinary Tract Infections and Sepsis
- Failing to timely report resident complaints to the doctor which can lead to avoidable complications like hypoglycemia, bowel ruptures from fecal impaction, and other conditions requiring surgery or leading to a resident’s death
For residents with medical conditions like diabetes, receiving proper care is vitally important, otherwise serious side effects and even death could occur.
Sadly, results from a recent study showed that many nursing home residents fail to receive care that meets American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) standards. As of 2022, the following are a few examples of the standards provided by the ADA regarding medical care and diabetes.
- Testing should take place on a strict schedule based on the patient’s specific needs. Testing should include glucose monitoring, A1C level monitoring, urinalysis, and other procedures as recommended by physicians.
- Patients should be monitored carefully for cognitive changes or impairments. Cognitive impairments significantly increase the risk of hypoglycemia, a condition that has been found to increase the risk of developing dementia.
- Diabetic care should facilitate team-based care, including individuals experienced in diabetic management.
You can review a full copy of the recommended standards here.
Study Finds Diabetics In Nursing Homes Receive Substandard Care
The study, which was published by the ADA in “Diabetes Care”, reviewed data from a total of 11 nursing homes, assessing physician management of patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. The results showed that:
- While blood glucose was actively monitored in 98% of the residents diagnosed with diabetes, only 38% of patients met the glucose goals.
- Only 7% had urine analyzed for microalbuminuria, a strong predictor of diabetic nephropathy. This test should be completed at least once a year.
- A total of 42% underwent dilated eye exams to determine if diabetic retinopathy was present. This test should be done at least once a year.
What Can You Do If A Nursing Home Isn’t Properly Caring For Your Diabetic Loved One?
When nursing home residents don’t get the care that they are paying for, their lives are literally at risk. Untreated or undertreated diabetes can cause kidney damage, blindness, heart disease, nerve damage and even death.
if a nursing home fails to provide proper diabetic care that results in injury or death, a nursing home resident or their loved one can take legal action. A successful lawsuit for the facility’s neglect entitles the family to compensation for physical trauma, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, funeral expenses, and more.
When a loved one enters a nursing home, the expectation is that they will receive the medical care they require on a daily basis. Sadly, due to nursing home neglect, each year millions of nursing home residents are diagnosed with one of the most preventable medical conditions, pressure sores. We are asked many times can bedsores cause death? The unfortunate truth Is that one study showed 69% of patients died within 180 days of developing a stage 4 bedsore. A stage 4 bedsore life expectancy over one year was even higher at 78%.
What Are Pressure Sores?
Pressure sores, also known as bedsores or decubitus ulcers, are injuries to the skin and the underlying tissue. The injury is caused by continuous pressure on the skin and can develop in just a few hours. Bedsores typically occur in areas of the body where there is little muscle or fat between the skin and bone, such as:
When a doctor diagnoses a pressure ulcer, they “stage” it based on severity. Pressure ulcers are broken down into four stages:
- Stage 1: This is the mildest version of a pressure sore, involving only the upper layers of the skin.
- Stage 2: In this stage, the skin looks like a pus-filled blister or an open wound involving several layers of the skin. It can take up to 3 weeks for the ulcer to heal with proper treatment.
- Stage 3: This type of ulcer involved both the skin and fat layers. The tissue may have a foul odor and the skin around the edges may turn black. With the correct medical treatment, this ulcer could take up to 4 months to heal.
- Stage 4: At this stage, the ulcer is large enough to involve muscle and ligaments. Surgery could be required, and ongoing treatment may be required for months, in some cases up to a year.
Pressure sores are very painful and without treatment, life-threatening infections can develop. It’s easy to prevent pressure sores from developing – the patient must simply be repositioned every two-three hours to ensure that the pressure on one area of the body is relieved.
Signs That A Bedsore Is Developing
When a bedsore is beginning to develop, the warning signs include:
- Unusual changes to skin color or texture
- Skin that is warm to the touch
- Pus or drainage
Many nursing home residents have lost the ability to communicate, making it difficult to tell loved ones that they are being neglected and that they are in pain. Knowing these warning signs can help ensure that a patient gets immediate medical care before the sore becomes larger or infected.
Which Patients Are Most At Risk For Developing Pressure Ulcers?
Studies have shown that there are factors that place a patient at high risk for developing a pressure ulcer. These factors include:
- Mobility Issues
- Vascular Disease
Nursing homes have a legal duty to provide residents with safety and the appropriate medical care. Part of providing appropriate medical care is ensuring that all staff is aware of how pressure ulcers develop, who is at risk, and how to prevent them. Yet each year, neglect in nursing homes leads to untreated bedsores in many residents that results in the needless suffering of patients. In the more severe cases stage 4 bedsores can lead to septic infections and cause an agonizing death.
Nursing Home Neglect And Bedsore Lawsuits
Nursing home patients and their loved ones can take legal action against the facility that failed to provide proper care. An Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse Attorney can file a civil lawsuit against a nursing home and provide compensation such as medical expenses, physical pain, and even emotional trauma.
Aspiration Pneumonia is a lung infection that results from breathing in certain oral or stomach content. Research has shown that Aspiration Pneumonia is one of the major types of Pneumonia in nursing homes. This infection has led to an increase in death rates amongst elderly ones in nursing homes. Although one cannot entirely curb Aspiration Pneumonia, it can, however, be reduced in nursing homes. The following text is an overview of the possible causes of Aspiration Pneumonia and practical ways to prevent it in nursing homes.
Causes of Aspiration Pneumonia in Nursing Homes
Several factors can lead to Aspiration Pneumonia. However, research has shown the following to be the prominent causes of this death-causing infection in nursing homes.
- They have problems swallowing.
- They have recently had a stroke. Forty percent of stroke survivors have swallowing dysfunction, which is a major risk factor for aspiration.
- They have dementia or another cognitive disability.
- They have an impaired gag reflex.
- They use sedating medications or are in an altered state of consciousness.
- They have a respiratory disorder.
Ways to Prevent Aspiration Pneumonia
The following are practical ways of preventing this infection.
- Proper oral hygiene.
- Avoiding or reducing medications that cause decreased salivary flow.
- Regular checkups of edentate patients to prevent gingival disease and plaques.
- Frequent tooth brushing of edentate patients.
- Upright positioning of patients.
- Decrease in the number of feeding canals.
- Improved and adequate feeding programs, etc.
Some signs and symptoms of aspiration pneumonia:
- Gagging and coughing
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Chest pain
- Raspy sounds from the throat or chest
It is possible to prevent or reduce cases of aspiration pneumonia in nursing homes. The burden lies on the staff of nursing homes to ensure that they carry out these basic preventive measures. Where a nursing home fails to do what is required of them, you can engage the services of an Atlanta Nursing Home abuse lawyer.
Talk To An Experienced Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
As a former nursing home defense attorney for two national chains Sanga Turnbull provides his clients with the benefit of insider experience of how these facilities hide and conceal their neglect.* Nursing Home Cases are a specialized area of the law and you need someone who has focuses on the unique challenges of these cases.
If you are looking for an Atlanta Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect Attorney with over a decade of legal experience, you can trust our firm to pursue the justice your loved one deserves. Sanga Turnbull understands elder law. He knows the importance of quality care in nursing homes and is an aggressive negotiator and litigator who will work tirelessly to get you compensation for nursing home abuse or wrongful death. Call The Turnbull Law Firm today at 863-336-6993 or contact the firm online to schedule a free consultation.
*Danielle Bess is licensed in Georgia.