If a nursing home or rehabilitation facility resident is physically abused and dies from his/her injuries, both the attacker and the facility may be found liable for civil damages in addition to any associated criminal charges. A less obvious example of wrongful death can occur when a nursing home or rehabilitation facility resident dies from malnutrition or dehydration. The resident’s death certificate may list “heart failure” as the cause, but neglect was the underlying reason.
Wrongful Death-Related Statistics
- Starvation, dehydration, or complications from bedsores are listed as the cause on at least 4,000 death certificates each year
- Nearly 80% of nursing home neglect cases go unreported each year
- The US Department of Health and Human Services recommend two hours of individual patient care from aides and 12 minutes from a registered nurse per day – Nine out of ten nursing homes lack sufficient staffing to consistently meet these standards.
Addressing Conditions that Lead to Wrongful Death
Those with a loved one living in a long-term care facility should visit the resident as often as possible. Watch for any signs of neglect or abuse such as bruising, changes in behavior, or an apparent lack of policy and procedure enforcement. Talk with nursing home or rehabilitation facility managers about assessment and intervention programs for residents and be sure they are enforced. Early detection of dangerous conditions may help to stop nursing home or rehabilitation facility abuse before a wrongful death occurs.
If a loved one passes away and you suspect any nursing home or rehabilitation abuse or neglect, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer and contact the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. Following a death, facility staff may attempt to conceal evidence of abuse if they suspect a deceased resident’s family intends to file a wrongful death suit.