The decision to place an elderly relative into a nursing home is a difficult one to make. An individual must not only consider the costs associated with the care, but must also handle the emotional toll of giving complete control of a loved one’s health over to what are, essentially, complete strangers.

Since nursing homes are typically accredited by various organizations, it is easy to assume that these establishments are safe. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Miami residents should be aware that nursing home neglect is a common occurrence all across the country.

Multiple instances of nursing home neglect have been brought forward recently in a nearby state. There, one institution is facing three lawsuits for events that span over four years.

One lawsuit states that a patient was malnourished when the nursing home staff failed to provide basic food and water needs. A second lawsuit claims that a patient suffered from dehydration, pneumonia, bedsores, MRSA and a host of other medical conditions. The third case involves an individual who developed a decubitus ulcer that went untreated. The nursing home’s neglect in treating the ulcer caused the patient extreme physical and emotional distress.

Instances of nursing home neglect are tragic and unnecessary. When families place individuals in a nursing home, they expect its personnel will provide the utmost care. When negligence occurs, medical professionals and nursing home officials should be held responsible.

If a nursing home patient faces bedsores, rapid weight loss as a result of malnourishment or a nursing home fall, the victim and the victim’s family can likely recover compensation. Awards can be used to cover related medical expenses and pain and suffering. A successful lawsuit also alerts nursing homes that lapses in care will not be tolerated.

Source: The Daily Times, “Colonial Hills Nursing Center target of lawsuits,” J.J. Kindred, July 2, 2012