Medical negligence in care homes
A care home or nursing home provides accommodation and care for elderly and vulnerable people. Care homes often provide provision for clinical and nursing care for residents. Sometimes, due to failings by care homes and their staff, residents receive substandard treatment resulting in illness, injury and death in the most extreme cases.
In these sad instances there may be grounds for a medical negligence claim in which the injured party may be entitled to compensation.
Below are several examples of the most common care home failings which may result in a medical negligence claim:
Pressure sores or ulcers
Many elderly and vulnerable residents are susceptible to developing pressures sores or ulcers and it is the care home’s responsibility to prevent or effectively treat pressure sores when they occur. Some pressure sores can lead to infection which can be life threatening.
Pressure sores are most often caused by sitting or lying in one position for a long period of time. In order to prevent a pressure sore from occurring, care home staff must regularly re-position immobile or bedbound residents. This can be done manually or more effectively by use of specialist equipment such as static pressure mattresses or dynamic mattresses (alternating air pressure mattresses).
Injuries from falls
Care home residents may be at an increased risk of injury from a fall if the care home has failed to implement adequate preventative measures. Preventative measures include:
- providing appropriate mobility aids and equipment such as Zimmer frames or other walking aids
- ensuring there are adequate staffing levels to provide supervision to mobile residents
- providing up-to-date moving and handling training to staff.
Medication and prescription errors can have serious and sometimes life threatening implications.
Some examples of medication errors include:
- administering the wrong medication or wrong dose to a resident
- failing to update the resident’s medication and prescription charts
- failing to ensure a resident is taking their medication when administered.
Neglect and abuse
This encompasses a number of scenarios and most often occurs when the care home has failed to meet a resident’s basic needs including, food, water, hygiene and essential medical care.
Very sadly, care home staff can sometimes deliberately abuse or neglect a resident. This can also have wider implications for the care home or member of staff.
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