Nursing home accidents are very common, and each year, thousands of older Americans are injured after falling in assisted living facilities. While some accidents are not due to staff negligence, many accidents could be prevented if facilities had a better-trained staff and that staff followed state and federal law.
RI Nursing Homes Must Comply With Federal and State Laws
The United States Code of Laws sets critical safety requirements and regulations for licensed nursing facilities across the country. According to 42 U.S. Code § 1395i-3, nursing facilities—including nursing homes—must:
- Provide care in a manner that meets each resident’s needs
- Provide care in a manner that either maintains or enhances each resident’s quality of life
- Design and maintain safe, secure premises that protect the health and safety of residents
Rhode Island also has a comprehensive building code that details property owners’ responsibilities. Commercial businesses, for instance, must ensure that their premises are safe by conducting regular maintenance and proactively fixing dangerous conditions such as broken railings and staircases.
Nursing homes that fail to maintain safe premises could be liable for any accident caused by unsafe property conditions, untrained personnel, or poor personnel practices.
How Nursing Home Negligence Contributes to Slip and Fall Accidents
While anyone can suffer a slip and fall, seniors have a higher risk of sustaining serious injuries when they do. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that up to 1 in 5 patients who suffer a nursing home fall requires intensive medical treatment. In some cases, these falls can be fatal.
There are many ways a nursing home increases a resident’s risk of injury, including poor property maintenance. For example, if the staff fails to mop up wet floors, doesn’t fix poor or inadequate lighting, or doesn’t fix defective or improperly configured equipment, including wheelchairs and beds, these dangerous conditions can contribute to patient accidents.
Other Ways Nursing Home Negligence Can Hurt Residents
1. Residents Are Not Properly Supervised
Nursing home employees are usually required to monitor the movements and activities of their patients. Since many older Rhode Islanders suffer from age-related diseases and disabilities, they may be unable to perform regular activities without assistance. If facility personnel doesn’t pay attention, residents may try to perform inappropriate and potentially dangerous tasks by themselves.
2. The Facility Isn’t Secured Properly
Older Americans are more likely to suffer from certain cognitive conditions, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Since these conditions could impair a patient’s ability to gauge risk and make informed, discerning decisions, residents could get lost or confused and inadvertently leave the facility.
3. The Medical Staff Makes Critical Mistakes
While most nursing home personnel are compassionate professionals, they can still make mistakes. If the facility’s medical team misdiagnoses an illness or prescribes the wrong medication, the patient’s physical and mental faculties could be compromised.
Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuits in RI
A nursing home slip and fall can seriously injure a patient and impair their quality of life. Often, any injury—from a broken bone to a concussion—could irreversibly alter the victim’s life, preventing them from engaging in even simple activities.
If your loved one has been injured in a Rhode Island nursing home slip and fall accident, an attorney can help you claim damages for:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Physical rehabilitation
- Prescription medication co-pays
- Lost income from work
- Increased household expenses
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of companionship
- Wrongful death
- Funeral fees
- Burial costs
While Rhode Island does not currently cap the damages available in a nursing home negligence lawsuit, you need to act fast. The Plantation State still has a strict statute of limitations. If you wait too long to take action, your case could be automatically dismissed by the court, preventing you and your loved one from recovering damages.
Do You Believe Your Loved One Has Been Subjected to Nursing Home Abuse?
If you feel your loved one has been subjected to nursing home abuse or neglect, you need to speak with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help clients in Providence, Warwick, and all areas of Rhode Island.