The journey through life includes many stages. In the beginning, as babies and children, we are cared for by others. Next, we gain independence through our teen years and enter young adulthood, often starting our own families. Then, as parents age and become empty nesters, they will have an opportunity to spend time enjoying the lives that they have built.
But for many people, there may be a final stage that most of us spend little time thinking about when we are young – living in an assisted living facility. The cycle of life comes full circle, and some level of help is needed with the activities of daily living. For many people, finding a suitable facility to live and enjoy this phase of life in is a real blessing. But unfortunately, some people suffer harm due to the negligence of these facilities and their employees. In this blog, we will discuss some ways in which negligence occurs in assisted living facilities.
Why Does It Matter if a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility Is Negligent?
In Oregon, the law provides rights to residents harmed by the negligent actions of assisted living facilities and their employees. Following are some types of damages that a resident who suffers personal injury may be entitled to recover:
- Hospital bills
- Doctor bills
- Emergency costs, including ambulance fees
- Medication costs
- Lost wages, if still employed
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Future medical costs resulting from the negligence
- Pain and suffering
The types and amounts of damages can vary for each case. Also, remember that some injuries result even when no negligence occurs and are thus not compensable (unless caused by the intentional actions of the facility or its representatives). An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine if negligence has occurred, and, if so, the amount and types of damages you may be entitled to recover.
Types of Negligence in Assisted Living Facilities
Negligence is the failure to exercise ordinary care. Negligence can occur in many ways. While some are easy to recognize, others are not so obvious. Additionally, the question of negligence can also turn on the level of care provided by the facility. For example, in some instances, residents need help only with a limited number of daily activities. In some other cases, the resident needs assistance with virtually everything. Below are some potential examples of negligence:
- Development of bedsores – Some residents are bedridden and will develop bedsores if the staff is unattentive. Contributing factors can include failure to help a resident reposition their body, malnourishment, dehydration, and improper movement of the resident.
- Medication errors – Medication errors can cause illness or death and can happen in several ways. For example, providing a resident with the wrong medication or the wrong dosage of the proper medicine can cause harm. Failure to give a needed medication is another example.
- Falls – Falling can be lethal to older people or those with limited mobility. In some instances, falls are caused by the failure of assisted living facility employees to help residents correctly or by creating dangerous conditions that cause them to trip and fall.
- Negligent hiring practices – In some instances, injuries occur because the facility, due to lax hiring practices, hired incompetent or untrained employees. In addition, sometimes potential employees have a criminal history that hiring managers and other staff should have considered.
- Food poisoning – Many facilities provide food to their residents. If the food is unsafe, it can cause serious illness.
- Resident distress – Negligence can manifest as a failure to provide or obtain appropriate medical care for a resident in distress.
- Infections – Residents can develop serious infections caused by negligent procedures in the facility.
Call with Questions
The points outlined above represent only a few ways in which negligence can lead to injury in an assisted living facility. You likely have questions about your legal rights in the face of injury or death caused in an assisted living facility. The experienced Oregon attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield will be happy to answer those questions in a free consultation. We can also help you investigate and evaluate your case. We believe that it is crucial to hold all negligent actors accountable for their actions so that everyone in Oregon will be safer.