Even the most dedicated caregivers need relief. Personal time for them to relax, and focus on their own well being is important not just for their personal needs, but also so they may provide the best care possible for their loved one. In this situation, ‘respite care’ or temporary care can be useful or downright necessary.
Despite its prevalence, I’ve noticed a troubling trend: new admitees to nursing homes (for short-term stays of 5, 10 or 15 days) tend to suffer serious injuries shortly after their admission. When a new resident is brought into a new environment, it is difficult not only for the resident, but also the staff at the nursing home. The situation is further complicated by the fact that many of the nursing home residents are unable to communicate for themselves and the staff is left to care for them with out a complete medical chart or complete instructions for care.
Despite the added stress on facilities, respite-care stays are becoming more popular as facilities look to increase revenues. In these situations, the facility must get up to speed with the individual’s medical needs immediately. The staff must treat respite-care residents the same as the full-time residents.
During one of these ‘respite stays’ an Edwardsville, Illinois man fell and fractured his hip just six and one half hours after he was admitted. The incident took place at Rosewood Care Center in Edwardsville, IL.
The man’s family filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit against Rosewood, claiming that the facility failed to: provide sufficient assistance to prevent falls, have properly operating call lights, and failed to follow state regulations regarding nursing home care.
The lawsuit alleged the man never recovered from his fractured hip and required a wheelchair and full-time nursing care for the remainder of his life. While the lawsuit was pending, the man died.
Rosewood’s attorneys claimed the facility violated neither state laws nor failed to comply with mandatory staffing levels. Nonetheless, a Madison County jury sided with the deceased man’s family and awarded them $149,000.
So the question remains, why are short-term residents particularly susceptible to injuries? The facilities unfamiliarity of resident probably is a primary reason, however there are some steps that can be taken to minimize the difficulty of the transition during ‘respite care’ admissions:
- Write out lists of each residents: medical conditions, schedule, dietary needs and physicians
- Provide the faciltiy with an ample supply of necessary medications
- Provide the facility the names and telephone numbers of treating physicians
- Try to use the same facility for respite-care stays so they may develop a level of familiarity with the person
- Avoid admitting residents on weekends when staffing tends to be lower and more senior staff tends to be away from the facility
- Meet with facility administrators before the planned stay and get confirmation that the facility is capable of caring for your loved one
If your loved one suffered an injury during a short-term admission to a nursing home, you may have a cause of action against the facility. The nursing home litigation team at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has handled many casing involving injury or death within 24-hours of admission to a new facility. Put our history of success to work for you. (800) 926-7565
Respite Care Resources:
Respite Care, Healthopedia.com