Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuit

How to Hold Nursing Homes Liable for Neglect?

Legal Mazes Often Await Victims of Nursing Home Neglect

The ideal nursing home is one where all staff members are deeply committed to the health and happiness of their clients, safety and care standards are rigorously upheld, and communication with family members is a top priority. Sadly, there are very few facilities that can be described this way. Even more tragically, news stories regularly expose neglect and even abuse of seniors at local nursing homes. The poor treatment of vulnerable seniors, who are actually paying to be cared for with respect and skill, should not be tolerated, and family members sometimes respond to abuse and neglect reports with litigation.

Avoiding Accountability

Suing a company for wrongdoing is never simple, but when a nursing home is involved, it can be extremely complex. A nursing home can be owned by one, two, or even more companies in a hierarchy system, making it a tedious, lengthy process to try to establish exactly who is financially responsible for mistreatment of clients. This problem has reached an extreme in a current Florida lawsuit, which began when family members of a senior resident tried to hold their nursing home responsible for her injuries, which were caused by neglect. Four years later, the case is still in progress.

It is unclear exactly what has transpired since then, but it seems that ownership of the company has been transferred, divided, bought and sold, and otherwise shuffled around in order to avoid paying the multi-million dollar judgment ordered by a Florida judge. Now, the company is officially under the ownership of a senior who himself is in a nursing home and doesn’t recall the business transaction the way it apparently took place. This bizarre situation shows just how confusing things can get when a company is determined to slip out of a legal obligation.

Avoiding Legal Trouble

It is appropriate to continue pushing for a fair settlement or judgment when a senior has been neglected or abused, but it is heartbreaking to remember that a problem like this could have been avoided if the senior had been removed from the home or never enrolled in the first place. It illustrates the importance of thoroughly investigating a long-term care facility and monitoring a senior’s condition very carefully while she is living there. Assuming that treatment is above reproach is a dangerous mistake!

Another way to avoid the danger of nursing home neglect is to opt for professional in-home caregiving services instead. This alternative is gaining popularity quickly, as it becomes clear that long-term care facilities will not be capable of handling the “baby boomer” generation’s care needs over the next few decades. A compassionate, capable caregiver can enable even a handicapped senior to remain in comfort at home, whether just a few hours daily or round-the-clock care is needed.

Photo by jenny downing

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Tim Colling

Tim Colling is the founder and President of A Servant's Heart In-Home Care, which provided in-home caregiving services in San Diego County, and also of A Servant's Heart Geriatric Care Management, which provided
professional geriatric care management services and long term care placement services in San Diego County. Tim has more than 30 years of experience in management in a variety of industries. He held a Certified Care Manager credential from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers. Tim is also a Certified Public Accountant (retired), and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from California State University at San Diego. In addition to writing blog posts here for the Servant’s Heart blog, Tim also is a regular contributor to HealthLine.com and to FamilyAffaires.com as well as blogs of other eldercare services provider companies. Finally, Tim is also the president of A Servant's Heart Web Design and Marketing, which provides home care marketing as well as website design and online marketing for those who serve the elderly and their families.

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