Nursing Homes Often Use These Common Defenses When Accused of Abuse and Neglect
The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti have nearly three decades of experience in defending residents who have had their rights violated and become injured while under the care of others. Through our work we have been able to identify the many common ways nursing homes will attempt to defend themselves even when guilty of obvious wrongdoings which created harm to an already vulnerable individual. These injuries can range from physical and sexual abuse to careless neglect stemmed from medication mismanagement, poor hygiene, haphazard slips and falls, untreated bedsores, malnourishment and dehydration. These injuries can quickly become deadly when not discovered soon enough and are typically created by nursing home operators who make greedy choices that put patients at risk. Some of those common actions include:
- Reducing or underreporting staffing levels
- Hiring inexperienced workers and failing to train them
- Not following industry guidelines or Illinois laws
- Ignoring reports of abuse and neglect
- Glossing over all these problems when talking to clients and family members
7 Ways Nursing Homes Excuse Abuse and Neglect Claims
Many nursing home defenses cry that injuries to residents are unavoidable and other factors were to blame when that simply is not the truth. Nearly all nursing home abuse and neglect claims we validate – could have been prevented.
- “Your mother’s injury was unavoidable. We can’t watch residents 24 hours per day.”
While the statement itself may be true, many injuries can be avoidable, but violations of the standard of care still occurs too often. Negligent facilities may have failed to assess the patient, make a care plan and implement it. This statement is just an excuse from a home guilty of not following the standard of care necessary to prevent the injury in the first place.
- “Other health issues, like his diabetes, were to blame for his injury.”
It is normal for patients to arrive at a facility with multiple health issues that may complicate their care. Which makes it crucial for care supervisors to initiate an assessment, create and implement a customized care plan developed with family members, and then evaluate its ongoing effectiveness, regardless of these other health issues.
- “I don’t recall.”
Sometimes nursing home employees will say that they do not recall the timeline or treatments around a patient’s condition, claiming ignorance as to how the injury could have occurred.
- “The chart did not show any record of your wife being in pain.”
A care provider may try to claim that because there was no mention of pain in a patient’s chart, that means the patient was not suffering even though pain was present. Rather, the pain was not recorded. Sometimes patients are very much in pain but unable to communicate this fact to providers because of an impaired mental status or other factors.
- “Just because it wasn’t documented, doesn’t mean it wasn’t done.”
A care provider may indeed have given care and negligently forgotten to document it. But if that happened, then someone—the nursing assistant, the supervising nurse, the director of nursing—must agree to having provided the care. Accurate documentation is, in fact, the backbone of quality care because it facilitates communication about treatments and responses to care. A facility allowing poor documentation is in violation of both the standard of care and the law.
- “We did not have the capacity to provide the care your father needed. Your family never should have placed him here.”
A favorite defense of long-term care facilities is to blame someone else for the harm that came to a resident. For example, in the case of a resident who develops severe pressure wounds, the assisted living facility may blame a family member for the patient’s suffering, claiming that they were not equipped to care for the patient and told a family member or treating doctor so. But yet the facility may not take action to find a more appropriate placement for the patient and instead will allow them to deteriorate. The denial of responsibility and the act of blaming someone in and of itself constitutes an admission that there was a breakdown in the standard of care.
- “Policies and procedures are just guidelines.”
It’s true that a policy might be a guideline, and there might be a time when one would not follow it. But facilities should have a system of care in place to help identify circumstances when they would not follow policies and procedures.
The nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti ensure the proper assessment, plan, implementation and evaluation of these claims and hold negligent facilities and their employees accountable for wrongdoings.
Steve Levin, Founder and Senior Partner of Levin & Perconti, says of these defenses, “Over the years, we’ve come to see the depositions of nursing home staff, in particular, as being among the most significant events in the cases we handle. In case after case, these depositions become turning points: staff members are effectively converted into witnesses for the plaintiff, identifying the gaps in training and staff coverage levels that lead to patient injuries and deaths.”
Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers
The attorneys of Levin & Perconti have focused on providing justice to nursing home abuse and neglect victims and their loved ones for over three decades. Our unwavering commitment to our clients and our experience fighting nursing homes both large and small have allowed us to secure numerous record-setting verdicts and settlements for families just like yours. Located in Chicago, we’ve litigated and settled cases throughout the city of Chicago, surrounding suburbs, and the entire state of Illinois.
If you suspect neglect or abuse of a loved one in a nursing home, please contact us now for a FREE consultation with one of our attorneys. Call us toll free at 1-877-374-1417, in Chicago at (312) 332-2872, or complete our online case evaluation form.