Having an elderly relative in the nursing home should give you a sense of relief that your loved one is being care for. However, nursing home neglect and abuse does happen. If you believe that your loved one has experienced an injury at the hands of their nursing home caretakers, you should consult with a personal injury attorney on behalf of your loved one. But before meeting with an attorney, be sure to follow the tips below.
1. Take pictures – Be sure to use a real camera–not a camera phone–to take pictures of the injuries. Also take pictures of where the incident took place. For instance, if your loved one is suffering from a pressure sore (these can be extremely painful, but are avoidable with the right care), take pictures of the sore and also the bed. Bed sores and pressure sores are common in nursing homes, but do not occur with proper care.
2. Document Everything – Write down as much information as possible. This will help your lawyer construct your case. Include names, room numbers, dates, times, and the name of the facility. The more information you provide to your lawyer, the better.
3. Recover Medical Records – In nursing homes, every act of care that a resident gets should be documented. By having your loved one’s medical records, you and your lawyer will be able to see what care your loved one was given – or not given – that resulted in injury or death. For instance, if your loved one suffered an extremely bad bed sore, there should be evidence in the medical record that will point to some form of negligence. Again, residents are especially prone to bed sores in nursing homes, but there are ways to avoid them and treat them.
4. Timeline – By gathering all of your loved one’s medical records, you should be able to construct a rough timeline of treatment. From the different facilities in which your loved one was treated, to the doctors and nurses that administered care, you will be able to see how a condition developed over time.
5. Important Documents – When meeting with an attorney, it is important to provide documentation that shows your legal rights to represent your loved one’s care. For instance, be sure to bring healthcare power of attorney documentation, wills, pre-injury photographs, and nursing home inspection reports. If your loved one has died, be sure to bring a death certificate and autopsy reports.
Nursing home abuse and neglect is becoming more prevalent. Always be an active visitor to your loved one in nursing home care, as this has been seen to reduce incidents of neglect. Always ask questions of the nurses on duty about your loved one’s treatment and care. Always document what you observe during your visits. It is important to keep records of what you see and hear, as this will be important if you need to speak to an attorney.
The attorneys at Ingerman & Horwitz know how to construct personal injury cases and get you the justice you, or your loved one, deserves. Contact us today. We’re here to help.