By Osborne & Francis
July 21, 2022

Poor Communication Has Deadly Results Says Boca Raton Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer

Nursing home staff need to be informed of steps needed to keep residents safe or injuries or death may result says Boca nursing home neglect lawyer Joe Osborne.

Small things can have a big impact when a nursing home is caring for someone who’s frail, elderly or suffering a serious disability. In an average workplace a failure to communicate may lead to a simple mistake or an unhappy customer. In a Florida nursing home if staff don’t properly communicate with each other the results can literally be deadly says Boca nursing home neglect lawyer Joe Osborne.

A small nursing home in Minnesota has been found by state officials to have acted neglectfully in the accidental death of a resident, reports the Duluth News Tribune. An investigator from the Office of Health Facilities Complaints, part of Minnesota’s Department of Health, found,

  • The resident had been admitted to Cornerstone Villa in Buhl last May, the day before the accident, diagnosed with Alzheimer's, sensory difficulty and generalized weakness.
  • An evaluation by a physical therapist found she had no concept of time or place and a staff member should have a hand on her when she walked to try to prevent her from falling.
  • Later that same day five staff members witnessed the resident walking with a walker but failed to intervene.
  • An alarm went off after the front door opened and two staff members found her outside lying face down on the sidewalk, which was stained with a lot of blood.
  • The walker apparently got stuck in the door frame, according to the nursing home, which may have caused the resident to fall.
  • She was transported to a local hospital with multiple facial fractures and later transferred to a larger hospital.
  • Because the resident was so severely injured family members decided she should receive "comfort care" and the resident died two days later.
  • The cause of her death, according to the death certificate, was "complications of cranial facial fractures secondary to a fall."

The outcome of the investigation, released last month, was that "based on a preponderance of evidence, neglect occurred" in the incident. The facility’s manager described the situation as “the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing” and the problem was corrected internally before the state investigation started. The Office of Health Facilities Complaints found that Cornerstone Villa made needed corrections and was back in compliance with state standards by last September.

The facts of this case paint a classic picture of negligence by a nursing home.

  • The nursing home owed the resident a duty of care: If a facility determines a resident needs help to walk safely that needs to be communicated to staff and staff need to provide that help.
  • There was a breach of that duty: The finding by the physical therapist either wasn’t communicated to staff or staff ignored it.
  • The breach in the duty of care caused an injury: No one accompanied the resident while she was walking to prevent her from falling or going outside, she fell outside and was mortally injured.
  • Damages resulted: The resident suffered deadly injuries. She and her family also suffered pain and suffering.

This kind of miscommunication and neglect happens all the time in nursing homes across Florida and the country, it’s just not reported.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury due to neglect by a nursing home in the South Florida area, contact Boca Raton nursing home abuse lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 293-2600 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your loved one’s injuries.

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