legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Information & Safety Violation in Arkansas Nursing Homes
According to Medicare.gov, Arkansas has 231 nursing homes. While approximately two thirds of these facilities rank average or above on the level of care they provide, the remaining one third - 33% - have below average and much below average ratings. This substandard level of care falls below the acceptable rating allowed by Medicaid and Medicare.
There are significant grounds for filing a claim for compensation citing nursing home abuse, neglect or mistreatment. In many cases involving resident harm, the nursing home negligently hired unqualified staff members. Other times, the nursing facility failed to provide adequate training to ensure the staff can meet the resident's needs.
Legally, neglect is defined as a caregiver's failure to provide a resident's basic needs including medical treatment, food, water, and security. Abuse is defined as the action of a caregiver, employee or another individual deliberately harming the resident. Abuse can involve physical or sexual assault, psychological or emotional distress, financial exploitation, abandonment, self-neglect, and others.
Nursing facilities have a legal obligation to provide every patient with the necessary care and assistance to meet their individual needs and provide sufficient supervision to avoid hazards and problems. Unfortunately, mistreatment still occurs at alarming rates in many nursing facilities in Arkansas. Below is just a small sample of the serious issues that arise in assisted living centers, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities statewide.Failure to Protect Residents from All Forms of Abuse
The signs of physical abuse are usually obvious when the patient expresses fear, depression, unexplained cuts and bruises, and untreated injuries. Less common indicators might involve preventable bedsores, malnourishment, dehydration, unsanitary conditions, and poor personal hygiene. Problems at Arkansas nursing homes include:
- Residents were placed at risk for further possible abuse when the nursing home did not properly and thoroughly investigate bruises of an unknown source (Spring Place Health Care and Rehab Center, Woodland Hills Health Care and Rehab of Jacksonville)
- An individual was injured during a resident-to-resident assault when a patient struck another patient knocking him out of the chair (Homestead Health and Rehab Center)
- A patient was injured in a resident-to-resident altercation when one resident grabbed another resident and started punching and shaking their wheelchair very hard (Madison Health Care and Rehab Center)
- A resident slid out of a wheelchair during transportation in the facility van from a lack of being securely fastened with seatbelts (Madison Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center)
The nursing home has a legal obligation to provide adequate supervision and monitoring to avoid hazardous situations. Common problems associated with dangerous conditions in Arkansas nursing homes include:
- Residents were placed at risk when portable oxygen cylinders were not properly secured during storage to prevent them from tipping over (Nursing and Rehab Center at Good Shepherd)
- Residents were placed at risk when smoking cigarettes without supervision (Siloam Health Care Center)
- A resident could have been injured when a Certified Nursing Assistant used a Hoyer lift for transfer that was missing two safety clips (Woodland Hills Health Care and Rehab of Jacksonville)
- The nursing facility did not provide an environment free of hazards when it improperly stored potentially hazardous chemicals (Madison Health Care and Rehab Center)
Infections and other contagious diseases can be easily transferred from one resident to another patient, visitor, or employee if the nursing staff failed to follow established infection protection protocols. Common problems associated with the spread of infection in Arkansas nursing homes include:
- The nursing home did not follow the established protocols by washing hands in changing gloves when providing care to prevent the spread of infection (Nursing and Rehab Center at Good Shepherd, Jonesboro Health and Rehab Center, Linley Health Care and Rehab Center)
- Residents were at risk when the nursing home did not properly disinfect multi-resident use glucometers to check blood sugar levels (Spring Place Health Care and Rehab Center)
- Numerous residents were at risk when the nursing home did not ensure the source of an infectious agent was properly identified to safeguard residents using the most effective isolation precautions (Hillview Post-Acute and Rehab Center)
- The nursing staff did not post signage on a resident's room door to guard others when the patient was placed in contact isolation for Clostridium difficile - a highly contagious disease (Batesville Health and Rehab Center)
The nursing staff is required to follow established protocols and monitor every resident's skin integrity to avoid the development of bedsores (pressure wounds, pressure sores, pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers) that could lead to a life-threatening condition. Serious problems that occurred at Arkansas facilities include:
- Nursing aides did not properly report a case of skin breakdown to the facility nurses nor follow the established protocols to prevent the development of pressure ulcers (Hickory Heights Health and Rehab Center)
- Residents suffered degradation of existing bedsores when the nursing home did not properly assess the wound including staging, measuring, and describing the wound bed in detail to ensure the best treatment for healing (Homestead Health and Rehab Center)
Another specific safety concern at Arkansas nursing homes include a failure to notify the resident's family members or doctor when there is a significant decline in the resident's health. Also, some facilities did not ensure that their patient's medication regimen remained free from unnecessary medications including antianxiety and antipsychotic drugs.