Standards of care in nursing homes is an area that many do not fully understand. Most people unfamiliar with nursing home practices or the health profession assume that the care they hear about is common, standard practice. Unfortunately, some of the cases people hear about is actually below the official standards of care.
Standards of care established by nursing homes is the minimum level of care a patient should expect to receive in that institution. Fortunately, some nursing homes treat patients at a level above their mandated standards of care. On the other side of that statement, many patients also regularly receive care that is below the minimums set by the applicable federal and state regulations. Furthermore, because so many nursing homes deliver substandard care, they tend to rationalize their choices by comparing themselves to other nursing homes in the area (who are also tending to deliver substandard care). Obviously this is negligence and will lead to injuries.
In addition to not meeting standards of care as a whole throughout the facility, other factors need to also be considered. For example, the minimum standard of care from one patient to the next may be very different on a day-to-day basis. A wheelchair-bound resident may need more care daily than a fully mobile resident might need; however, they are both held to the same, general standards of care. All nursing homes must have individual care plans for every resident to meet these varying needs, but they should also be aware that these care plans need to meet minimum standards of care for the overall facility. With this in mind, it is important to research the many options available to your family if you are deciding to put a loved one into a nursing home. By gaining the most information possible, you can make the best decision to avoid elder abuse and substandard care.
Substandard care in a nursing home often leads to neglect and injuries. Nursing home litigation is a relatively new field of negligence law. We suggest you consult with an attorney who understands the complex federal and state regulations that apply to care plans in nursing homes. For more information on Attorney Doug Stoehr and his central Pennsylvania law firm, please visit our website or call us at (814) 946-4100.