Admitting a loved one to a nursing home is often a decision that’s fraught with sadness and negative emotions. It can cause a family rift in some cases when a person who clearly needs a heightened level of care and supervision balks at the transition from independent living.
So, imagine the level of guilt, anger and overwhelming loss the family of a nursing home resident can feel when the resident dies as a clear result of the nursing home’s negligence.
Nursing home resident escapes, suffers fall
That’s what happened in a nearby Northern state. An 80-year-old dementia patient was able to walk out of his nursing home and get outside. He walked through a parking lot and 20 yards past it to an embankment near a creek. He then tumbled 75 feet into a ravine. He clung to life for three weeks before succumbing to his injuries.
All told, the man was out and unsupervised for around three-quarters of an hour.
Lawsuit arises from death
The late resident’s wife, as the administrator of his estate, subsequently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home for their negligence in not properly caring for their patient.
The nursing home is contesting the allegations.
Standard of care must be upheld
This case, like similar wrongful death actions, partially hinges on whether or not the facility upheld the standard of care that should be provided by similar facilities. The lawsuit also alleges this patient was not adequately monitored and there was a staffing deficit at the facility.
Inadequate staffing leads to decline in care
Federal officials had previously cited the facility for extremely low staffing levels, as noted by reports from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
It is impossible to provide sufficient care and supervision of nursing home residents when the facility is operating with a skeleton staff. Too few staff members can also lower the overall morale of the staff who are there so that the level of care declines even further.
Take legal action after a nursing home wrongful death
Sadly, there is no compensation that can bring back a deceased loved one. Most of these cases also do not rise to the level where criminal charges result (although that can sometimes happen when the neglect is particularly egregious).
But what families can do is pursue civil justice through the Michigan courts after a nursing home’s negligence claims their loved one’s life.