Wrongful Death Claims against Nursing Homes

Paramedics removing a stretcher from an ambulance

Nursing home neglect and abuse is an especially difficult topic. When it was time for your loved one to receive the level of care that is only available at a nursing home, you poured your efforts into finding the right facility – a facility that was able to demonstrate a skill level and level of care that reached your high expectations. If your aging relative was fatally injured in the course of his or her residence as a result of the facility’s negligence or abuse, your family has endured a tragic loss that was entirely preventable. If you’ve lost a loved one to nursing home abuse, you need the experienced legal counsel of a formidable Redding, California, wrongful death attorney on your side.

Nursing Home Residents

The fact is that nursing home residents are among our most vulnerable citizens, and witnessing neglect or abuse in such a setting is extremely painful for all the family, friends, and loved ones involved. Further, this population is growing rapidly – in both nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Wrongful Deaths in Nursing Homes

When a resident at a nursing home dies suddenly, unexpectedly, or in any other way that doesn’t seem to fit with the circumstances, the staff and administrative officials at the facility are likely to blame the death on an underlying medical condition – or even on old age in general. While either of these explanations certainly could be true, they aren’t necessarily true, and something more nefarious may be afoot.

The fact is that such deaths – even when unexpected – often aren’t investigated, and the nursing home staff is likely very aware of this. The underlying philosophy is how unexpected can a death be once a resident reaches a certain age – after all, he or she needed round-the-clock care to begin with. This misses the broader truth, however, that the health of aging residents of nursing homes can be adversely affected by negligence and/or abuse, and such abuse can actually be fatal.

Common Causes

Every wrongful death claim against a nursing home is utterly unique to its own circumstances, but there are a number of causes that commonly play a role, including:

  • Slip and Fall Accidents – Dangerous slip and fall accidents are common across age groups, but they are most common in our aging populations. Residents of nursing homes are residents for a reason – they need help with their daily activities, which often include mobility. Further, the sedentary lifestyles that many nursing homes support can lead to increased muscle weakness and susceptibility to dangerous falls. The effects of residents’ medications can also play an important role. Put succinctly, the goal of nursing homes is to protect residents from such accidents, and when a slip and fall leads to death, negligence or abuse may be to blame.
  • Infections – Infections are exceedingly common in nursing homes, and urinary tract infections, infections that cause diarrhea, and so-called super infections such as MRSA (and other infections related to staph) top the list. Infections are part of life and are common to hospitals and other medical facilities, but they can also be caused or exacerbated by inadequate care like poorly maintained personal hygiene, careless catheter care, unsanitary living conditions, and inadequate care related to incontinence. All of these issues are issues that commonly bring residents to nursing homes in the first place, and inadequate provision of these standard services is especially egregious.
  • Inadequate Nutrition and Dehydration – The sad truth is that residents of nursing homes don’t always get the nutrition and hydration they need to stay healthy, and the long-term effects can lead to death. Many nursing home residents are unable to adequately feed themselves – due to chewing and/or swallowing difficulties, physical impairments that impede feeding themselves, and the effects of dementia. Dehydration is another common problem, and some residents even deprive themselves of fluids because they are afraid that they won’t receive the help they need to visit the restroom. Sadly, some staff even deprive residents of fluids to avoid pesky cleanups. 

An Experienced Redding, California, Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help

If you’ve lost a loved one to what you fear may be nursing home negligence or abuse, it’s time to consult with a dedicated wrongful death attorney. The formidable legal team at Maire & Deedon in Redding, California, is committed to helping you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled and that you need to follow the path toward healing. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 530-246-6050 today.