Elder abuse and neglect in UK residential care involves a lack of appropriate care for the well-being of a vulnerable resident of a nursing home, a residential care home, a retirement home or the home of the elderly person. There are care home negligence solicitors who specifically deal with neglect and elder abuse in residential care, who can claim compensation for both physical and emotional injury and assist in the protection of the elderly from neglect or injury by carers, family members or nursing home employees.
A specialist care home negligence solicitor will offer free initial advice on all matters relating to residential care home abuse or neglect. If you would like free advice with no further obligation just contact a solicitor who will discuss your claim over the telephone and will tell you how best to proceed to protect your right to claim compensation for personal injury on behalf of the resident or how to take legal action to protect the resident from further injury or abuse.
In situations where the victim or their family instruct a solicitor to represent them because of injury, neglect or abuse to an elderly person, the lawyer does not usually get paid unless the claimant succeeds in their legal claim and receives compensation. In most cases our solicitors are able to deal with all of the legal work at no cost to you on a no win no fee basis. The appropriate legal action is by way of a personal injury compensation claim, which may involve an injunction to stop continuing abuse and is dealt with by a civil court (rather than a criminal court) where the standard of proof is on the balance of probabilities (as opposed to beyond all reasonable doubt in a criminal court). The court will award the claimant an amount of money relative to the degree of physical and emotional injury plus their legal costs and expenses. The claim is risk free for the claimant on a no win no fee arrangement who does not have to fund or finance the legal action as it proceeds and if the case is lost the claimant will not be charged any legal fees.
If a resident is injured, falls from their bed or falls whilst walking, a care home negligence solicitor must first determine whether enough trained staff were on duty at the time. There should be a proper mix of nursing staff to make sure the patients are properly cared for. Each staff member should be properly trained in his or her area of expertise. For example, assistants may be capable of bathing residents, transferring residents, feeding residents and other similar duties but may not be adequately trained to give out medication.
Residential care home negligence solicitors dealing with nursing home neglect or poor care will also look at the contractual obligations of the nursing home to the residents. Normally, the contractual obligations include adequate room and board, the provision of adequate healthcare by affiliated doctors and trained registered nurses, the delivery of skilled nursing care and a safe, comfortable environment. The nursing home should have completed care plans that outline the individual patient’s problems and the various interventions that may be necessary in case of an emergency. Medications and allergies should be recorded as well as physical and occupational therapy plans.
Malnourishment & Dehydration
Nursing assistants should be well trained in ensuring that residents receive enough food and water. If a resident is found to be malnourished or dehydrated, the nursing home may be found to be negligent because of inadequate care in ensuring a proper intake of food and water. This is not an unusual situation and care homes must ensure that they recognise feeding difficulties at an early stage in order to intervene before health is compromised. Many elderly residents are simply unable to feed themselves or determine when they need water which must be given by staff on an individual, personal basis. Residential care home staff must make a note of food and water intake where there is any question of inadequate consumption to ensure that the situation is resolved by intervention at an early stage.
Bed Sores & Pressure Ulcers
One of the most serious and consistent areas of neglect relates to bed sores or pressure ulcers. Residents who do not move around on their own can get pressure ulcers that bore into the tissue, become infected and result in death. It is the responsibility of all nursing staff to watch for bed sores and it is the responsibility of whoever wrote the care plan to advise other nurses as to when to turn the patient, what protective devices to use and what to do if a bed sore appears. Failure to take care of bed sores properly constitutes neglect of the patient. Bed sores are very difficult to treat, and it is much better to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Deep bed sores are prone to serious infection which may be life threatening.
If your friend or relative has been injured while resident in a care home, it may be the fault of the caregiver and may need the attention of a lawyer. Physical injuries need a medical negligence or personal injury specialist who understands nursing home care law.