Because they primarily care for patients who are relatively old and in poor health, nursing homes have a fairly high mortality rate. In one study, researchers found that roughly one-third of all nursing home residents died each year.
While most of these deaths are attributed to the unavoidable complications that come with old age, some are entirely preventable. When nursing homes fail to provide adequate care, for example, it’s the residents—and their surviving loved ones—who suffer.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of wrongful death in long-term care facilities:
If nursing home residents do not receive sufficient care and attention, they could suffer life-threatening complications like:
Abuse is far more prevalent in long-term care facilities than you may realize. In one survey, 44 percent of nursing home residents claimed they had been abused. In another survey, more than 50 percent of staff members admitted to mistreating their patients at some point during the prior 12 months. When such mistreatment includes physical abuse, the consequences could be fatal.
Falls are the leading cause of both serious injury and accidental death among senior citizens. Nursing homes can protect their residents by providing adequate mobility aids, keeping walkways free of hazards, and installing grab bars where appropriate. If a facility fails to take reasonable measures like these, they could be deemed liable for any damages that arise from the resulting falls.
4. Medication Mistakes
Nearly 9 out of 10 senior citizens take at least one prescription medication. It’s reasonable to assume this figure is even higher among nursing home residents because they wouldn’t have moved into the facility if their health wasn’t declining.
In other words, virtually all nursing home residents are vulnerable to medication mistakes. And if the physician prescribes the wrong drug, the pharmacist prepares the wrong formula, or the nurse administers the wrong dosage, death could result.
I Think My Loved One’s Death Was Preventable—What Should I Do?
If you think your elderly relative suffered neglect or abuse at the hands of nursing home staff, call a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. If administrators have reason to believe you’re concerned, they might offer to handle the case internally. Since there’s always the chance they will destroy evidence that implicates them, though, it’s best to turn to a third party.
A reputable law firm will have the resources to conduct a thorough investigation. If it appears your loved one’s death was, indeed, preventable, your lawyer can then help you take legal action against the facility.
Speak with a New York Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If your elderly loved one received substandard care from nursing home staff and ended up dying as a result, contact Leitner Varughese. Our compassionate attorneys have won more than $100 million in nursing home negligence and malpractice verdicts and settlements.
We are proud to represent clients in New York City, Long Island, and throughout New York state. Call 855-585-2969 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free case evaluation with a nursing home abuse lawyer in New York.