A Massachusetts nursing home lawyer helps seniors and their families to make plans for safe and comfortable nursing home care. There is always a risk that, as you age, you will end up in a nursing home. If this happens, financial concerns can arise regarding how to pay for nursing home care. There are also very important concerns about safety and standards of care as well, especially since there is ample evidence to suggest that some nursing homes simply do not provide very good care for seniors.
Shortcomings in nursing homes can have profound consequences, with many documented cases of patient injuries and even patient deaths. Regulations aimed at protecting patients are not always effective or able to prevent these profound consequences. Just recently, for example, Metro West Daily reported on several fatalities in Massachusetts nursing homes which have gotten the attention of regulators.
The Law Offices of James A. Miller can help patients and their families to make certain they have used available resources to conduct a comprehensive review of nursing care facilities. Our legal team can assist you in learning about a nursing home’s reputation, reviewing nursing home admissions paperwork, and taking other necessary steps to assess whether a nursing care facility provides a safe home or not. Give us a call today to find out more.
Deaths at Massachusetts Nursing Home Result in Calls for More Oversight
The two recent deaths which were reported on by Metro West Daily occurred in nursing homes in Central Massachusetts and attracted the attention of regulators who began calling for stronger oversight in response to the fatalities.
One of the deaths was an 89-year-old woman from Westminster who died at the Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center. The patient had Alzheimer’s and she also had a long history of falling. Because of the risk of falls, there was an alarm on the woman’s chair which was designed to provide notification to nursing home staff when the woman got up. Unfortunately, a nursing home employee forgot to turn the alarm on and the woman took a deadly tumble. Nursing home staff failed to provide an alert to either a nurse practitioner or physician after the fall happened, and the patient was not treated for head pain or for a head wound that existed following the fall.
At the same nursing home around a month later, another patient with dementia also died as a result of a fall in the same nursing facility. In this case, the patient had been ordered by a physician to wear an electronic tracking device. Unfortunately, a nurse cut off the electronic tracking system as a result of the system fitting too tightly on the leg of the patient. Days later, the patient- now with no tracking system- fell down a flight of stairs while he was in his wheel chair. He died as a result of his fall-related injuries.
For both of these patients, their death certificates listed their deaths as accidental. However, there were some irregularities surrounding the circumstances. For example, Metro Daily West indicated that family members of the woman who was killed indicated they had not been fully aware of the circumstances of the death until a news reporter contacted them to get information for the Metro Daily West story.
Both state and federal regulations mandate that family members and other legal representatives are notified when accidents occur in nursing homes that necessitate medical intervention. Department of Public Health (DPB) is also supposed to be notified but while they were told about the fall, they did not find out about the death until months later when informed by someone from outside of the nursing care facility.
The failures of the care facility, and failures to provide proper notification, demonstrate that many care facilities are not fulfilling obligations.
Getting Help from A Nursing Home Planning Lawyer
A nursing home planning lawyer should be consulted in circumstances where someone has been harmed in a nursing care environment. An attorney can provide advice on responding to elder abuse. An attorney can also offer help in making a nursing home plan in order to ensure a senior has a good living environment.
To find out more about the ways in which a nursing home planning lawyer can assist you, give us a call at 866-370-3888 or contact us online to speak with a member of our legal team. You can also download a free estate planning worksheet to discover more about the ways in which nursing home planning can be a part of your comprehensive estate plan.
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