Published on:

Nursing Home Patient With Broken Hip Sits In Pain. Why Federal Law Requires Staff To Administer Pain Medication

Picture-102I guess when it comes to elder care, many problems encountered by residents in U.S. nursing homes sadly seem to make their way across the border to our friends in Canada. The recent news report of an elderly Canadian nursing home resident who fell and fractured her hip— yet sat for days without medical attention or adequate pain medication is an unfortunate story unnecessarily repeated on a daily basis at nursing homes across the world.

In the U.S., upon learning of a fall or other injury, the nursing home staff must conduct an assessment to ensure no injury was sustained.  In cases where there is an apparent injury, the staff physician should alerted immediately as to the incident.

Once a physical assessment has been completed, federal law requires nursing homes to provide pain medication to the resident as soon as feasible.  As recipients of Medicare funding (the overwhelming majority of nursing homes) must comply with F-Tag 309 pertaining to Quality of Care:

Each resident must receive and the facility shall provide the necessary care and services to attain or maintain the highest practiceable physical, mental and psychological well-being, in accordance with the comprehensive assessment and plan of care.

Although the above language can be generally interpreted to included pain management for nursing home patients, CMS has proposed interpretative guidelines that undeniably require nursing homes to provide sufficient pain management:

Recognition and Management of Pain

In order to help a resident attain or maintain his highest practiceable level of well-being and to prevent or manage pain, to the extent possible, the facility:

  • Recognizes when the resident is experiencing pain and identified circumstances when pain can be anticipated;
  • Evaluates the existing pain and cause, to the extent possible; and
  • Manages or prevent pain to the extent possible, consistent with eh resident’s goals, the comprehensive assessment and plan of care and current clinical standards of practice.

Unfortunately, many nursing home residents needlessly suffer from acute (falls) and chronic medical conditions (pressure sores) due to facilities failure to properly follow CMS regulations.  On the surface, this omission may simply be a violation– but when a resident sits without medical attention with a broken hip or open wound these violations represent a complete lack of compassion and destruction of the quality of life.

Related Nursing Homes Abuse Articles

How Many Falls Is Enough To Impose Responsibility On Nursing Home?

Study Links Medication Use With Falls

Nursing Homes Curtail Use Of Physical Restraints With Residents

Published on:
  • Jonathan Rosenfeld’s Nursing Homes Abuse Blog

    Study Reveals Nursing Home Patients Chronic Pain Is Not Adequately Controlled

    The results from a five-year study addressing the ability of care-givers and family to perceive pain in nursing home patients has revealed both parties fail to accurately assess chronic pain levels. In reaching this conclusion, researchers in the Nethe…

Client Reviews

  • Having worked in the medical field, I appreciated the way that Mr. Rosenfeld and his staff approached my family’s situation. The combination of medical knowledge and legal expertise was indeed the winning combination for our case.
  • While nothing can change the way our mother was treated at a nursing facility, I do feel a sense of vindication that the facility was forced to pay for their treatment. I am certain that they would never have done had my attorneys not held their feet to the fire.
  • I was very nervous about initiating a claim against my mother’s nursing facility, but Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers took care of everything from getting the medical records to going to court. I felt like I had real advocates on my side. That meant a lot to me.
  • After a horrific episode at a nursing home, my sister and I spoke to a number of law firms. No one took the time to answer our questions and explain the legal process like Mr. Rosenfeld. He did a tremendous job on our case and I can see why he’s earned the praise he has from clients and peers.
  • I liked the fact that I could call the office and ask questions about the legal process at anytime. I could tell that my case was in good hands. I think that this was reflected in my father’s settlement was more than I anticipated the case ever being worth.