Nursing homes throughout the nation, and in Florida, serve an important purpose in our society. These institutions are meant to provide quality care to the elderly when that care cannot be received at home. Families rightly expect nursing homes to treat their patients like family. This means safety should come first.

Sadly, nursing home staff do not always give their patients the same kind of attention and care they would give to one of their own family members. When these instances of nursing home neglect occur, tragedies can follow. That was the case for one patient in Minnesota, and Florida residents should take note.

In this instance, a patient at a nursing home was placed in the wrong wheelchair which led to a fall and, ultimately, the man’s death. The patient, who suffered from dementia, was supposed to be put in a special wheelchair that contained a safety belt and an alarm that would sound should the patient unlatch the belt. When the man was placed in the wrong wheelchair, nursing home staff did not give him the attention necessary to keep him safe. He suffered a neck fracture and head wound.

Neglect in nursing homes is serious. In addition to falls, neglect can lead to bedsores and rapid weight loss as a result of malnutrition.

Victims of these tragic, unnecessary accidents and their families may be compensated for expenses related to their injury. Medical expenses, pain and suffering and, in the worst case, funeral expenses, may be recovered. A medical malpractice lawsuit may serve as a reminder to nursing home personnel that they must provide quality care. If they fail to provide appropriate care, they will likely be held responsible.

Source: The Star Tribune, “Neglect is cited in Red Wing nursing home death,” Jane Friedmann, June 13, 2012