Nursing Home Abuse in Louisiana

Louisiana Nursing Home Laws and Regulations

In Louisiana, as is the case in all states, residents of nursing homes have certain basic rights, including the right to dignity, respect, and quality care. When nursing homes violate those rights, residents suffer. According to a report cared prepared by Families for Better Care, Louisiana has the dubious distinction of being the second worst state in America in terms of nursing home quality of care. This is because:

  • Louisiana has only 8% of professionals in its nursing homes who have the designation of Registered Nurse or higher
  • Residents in Louisiana nursing homes receive on average only 32 minutes of nursing care in any given day
  • 14% of Louisiana nursing homes are deficient in essential ways

When standards are this low, the chances of abuse or neglect increase exponentially. This also means that nursing homes in Louisiana are ripe for lawsuits related to neglect or abuse.

Common Causes for Claim

Elderly people in nursing homes require a significant level of care, both in terms of medical needs and personal requirements. When staff are undertrained and underqualified, or simply not present in sufficient numbers, the result is often serious injuries or illnesses. Common problems in nursing homes in Louisiana that lead to injuries, illnesses (and lawsuits due to same) include:

Falls

Falls typically occur because seniors are not properly supervised, and/or because proper measures haven’t been taken to ensure their safety. Falls result in morbidity (where the senior becomes bedridden and declines accordingly) and sometimes death. Sometimes this is due to inadequate staffing, and other times because proper infrastructure is absent – there are no rails to hold onto, walkers aren’t provided, etc.

Pressure Sores

Also known as bed sores, pressure sores usually happen because bedridden or chair-bound residents aren’t moved often enough. Irritation results, and then ulceration begins. This type of condition requires immediate attention, and a good deal of follow-up. If neglected, pressure sores can cause damage to underlying tissue, bone, and even internal organs. No reputable nursing home will leave pressure sores untreated or neglect to turn residents who are developing them.

Malnutrition

Malnutrition is a common problem among seniors, even those who aren’t nursing home residents. In nursing homes, however, the problem seems to be system-wide. Nearly 85% of nursing home residents have malnutrition to some degree. It may be extreme, or mildly problematic, but invariably it is due to neglect. It is the responsibility of the nursing home to ensure that the senior is properly nourished, and a malnourished senior is proof on the face of it that the nursing home isn’t doing its job.

Malnutrition invites poor health at best, and illness at worst, so it is incumbent upon nursing home staff to ensure that residents are eating properly.

Dehydration

This is also a problem in many nursing homes, and like malnutrition, it requires vigilance on the part of nursing home staff. Many nursing home residents simply don’t drink enough. Fluid intake must be rigorously monitored. If your loved one is dehydrated, chances are that his or her fluid intake hasn’t been monitored effectively.

Wandering

Many nursing home residents, particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, may wander. Family members who suspect that their loved one may be prone to wandering should, of course, inform nursing home staff of the possibility. It is then the responsibility of the nursing home to put a plan in place to prevent wandering, or at the very least to minimize the harm that could come from wandering. If there is no plan, then your loved one could be in danger.

Other Issues

In addition to these problems, there is always the danger of a nursing home resident in Louisiana being subjected to physical, emotional or sexual abuse, or being unnecessarily restrained. If you suspect abuse or neglect in a Louisiana nursing home, you should immediately get in touch with an elder abuse attorney to make sure that your rights, and those of your loved one, are protected.

Sources:

http://familiesforbettercare.com/

http://www.hpm.umn.edu/nhregsplus/NHRegs_by_State/Louisiana/Louisiana.html

http://www.advocacyla.org/tl_files/publications/NursingHome.pdf

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