Nursing Home Negligence – a Growing Problem

Injury Law Ottawa - Nursing Home Negligence

There are more than 600 nursing homes in Ontario, housing over 80,000 residents. Placing a family member in a nursing home is always a difficult decision. Leaving a loved one in someone else’s care requires you to trust the nursing home that they will provide competent and compassionate care to this person Unfortunately this is not always the case. At Badre Law Professional Corporation we hear about nursing home residents neglected, beaten, or improperly cared for by staff.

What is Nursing Home Negligence?

Nursing home negligence means there is a breach of duty by the nursing home that results in the harm of one of the residents. Nursing home negligence is sadly a common problem. Some examples of this include:

  • Physical assault
  • Errors in administrating medications
  • Inadequate supervision of the residents
  • Inadequate plans for fall prevention
  • Improper medical attention and advice
  • Personal hygiene neglect

Risks to Nursing Home Residents

  • Nursing home residents are older and often weak. Sometimes nursing home residents have dementia or other cognitive issues. Nursing home staff are often in positions of power and sometimes that power is abused. Sometimes nursing home staff are not properly screened before hired or not trained properly. This results in all kinds of negative consequences such as physical (including sexual) and psychological abuse.
  • Staff to resident ratios are often inadequate. In order to make a larger profit, some nursing homes will stay understaffed in order to save money. When these homes are understaffed they cannot provide the attention that residents need to stay safe. The elderly with dementia or other cognitive or even physical issues require more attention than most so when there aren’t enough staff around residents often find themselves at a greater risk for injury
  • Medication errors are all too common. Another nursing home risk is staff members giving the wrong medication to its residents. When staff are dealing with a lot of residents they can get their medications mixed up. A lot of times nursing home staff are overworked and tired. Mistakes happen and this is one of them.
  • Failure to provide adequate care. This can come in the form of failing to answer a call light, failing to provide adequate nutrition/hydration to a resident or ensuring that a resident’s basic needs are met.

How can Nursing Home Negligence be Addressed?

A civil lawsuit is one of the ways in which you can have the nursing home negligence addressed in the legal system. If a civil lawsuit is commenced the victim and his or her family are looking for financial compensation for the injuries sustained. Victims of nursing home negligence, in commencing a civil lawsuit, are also looking to deter nursing homes from committing similar acts of negligence in the future.

Nursing homes owe a duty of care in supervising its employees and ensuring that its environment is safe for all its residents so that there are no unreasonable risks of harm. Many nursing home negligence issues go unreported because the elderly are unable to report them and their family often times do not find out. This leads to more cases as nursing home workers feel like they can get away with more.

Awareness is Key

There is a real push from the legal industry and the family members they represent to get nursing home negligence to the forefront of people’s attention. Awareness is on the rise and the pressure nursing homes are receiving to properly report all incidents is increasing.