Nursing Home Case Study

One of Brian's cases is illustrative of the common issues in nursing home cases. Brian represented an elderly lady who needed total assistance when she entered the nursing home. She could not bathe herself, eat without help, or even turn herself in her bed. Unfortunately, the nursing home did not give her the total assistance she needed and she developed several pressure sores, including one that reached Stage IV (the worst). This pressure sore developed a foul odor and necrotic (dead) tissue and dead bone. This sore eventually required surgery.

The nursing home denied any wrong doing. But through litigation and the discovery process, and the help of experts, Brian discovered that the nursing home failed this lady in many ways.

First, these pressure sores were the result of the nursing homes failure to turn and reposition this lady every two hours. The nursing notes illustrated that she was only turned 3 or 4 times in a five month period. Further, there was no indication in the nursing home's records of daily skin inspections. Lastly, the records indicated that when the bed sore was discovered, the doctor was not notified until over a month later. This poor lady never had a chance.

Secondly, these pressure sores were not the only thing this lady had to endure during her nursing home stay. She had an arm fracture (unexplained of course) that was discovered while she was lying on her left arm. Despite the nursing records stating that her left arm was swollen "so big" with bruises on her shoulder and that she was in pain and crying, she was not checked on again until four hours later. The notes indicated the swelling had increased in those four hours so the nursing home left the doctor a message a couple of hours later. No pain medication was given to this lady, despite being in pain and crying, for almost 8 hours after the discovery of the fracture.

Lastly, it was discovered that the nursing home was only able to provide approximately three hours of patient care per day despite the director of nursing for the nursing home admitting that this elderly lady required about 7 hours of care per day according to time estimates on her daily care plan. In fact, nurses and certified nursing assistants of the nursing home had complained about understaffing to the administration on several occasions. With inadequate staffing, it is no wonder this lady was not properly cared for during her stay.

Fortunately, the family intervened and this elderly lady was transferred to another facility by her daughter and was doing much better once she was removed.

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