Resident rights.

Nursing home residents’ have basic rights that ensure they are free from abuse and neglect in their living situation.  Federal Regulations outline the appropriate industry standard of care under 42 CFR sec. 483.25 (h), which provides for an environment free of hazards, with adequate supervision, and medical treatment in line with the current medical standard of care.

Lack of supervision. 

The COVID-19 statewide lockdown put in place to protect residents may have increased the dangers to one resident at the Westwood Rehabilitation Nursing Centre in Detroit when they did not provide him with adequate supervision.  Police said a nursing home, under strict Michigan coronavirus lockdown measures, was unaware of an attack on an elderly patient until a viral video surfaced on Twitter. A 75-year-old man is being treated in a local hospital after being repeatedly punched in the face by another resident, who appeared to film the attack in two clips posted to Twitter. The police were alerted by a woman who noticed the video. She stated that if the nursing home had been receiving visitors, action might have been taken sooner. The staff allowed the opportunity for the temporary resident, who was at the Center for rehabilitation, to injure and abuse the elder resident.  This injury may have been avoided with adequate supervision as mandated under the laws that protect nursing home residents, despite the decreased visitation due to COVID-19 protections.  Nursing home abuse claims include acts of negligence that cause, or exacerbate existing health conditions, or place residents in danger and are deviations from NHRA and may be considered acts of unintentional negligence.

Compensation for loss.

If unintentional neglect due to deviations of supervision and care complicated by COVID-19 impacts led to personal injury of a loved one, a family may be compensated when negligence was involved.  Elements that will determine the value in a case of nursing home abuse include:

  • Economic damages: These are expenses and financial losses such as hospital bills or stolen money. Economic damages are relatively easy to calculate, especially if the victim or their family kept good expense records.
  • Non-economic damages: These damages include compensation for the pain and suffering that the defendant’s actions may have caused. Values for non-economic damages are harder to determine. They depend largely on a lawyer’s research, experience, and assessment of the case.
  • Punitive damages: This money may be included to punish the defendants for intentionally harmful or careless behavior and to discourage others from committing similar acts.

Proving liability.

A legal professional who specializes in nursing home laws may be able to assist with questions regarding the impact of one resident’s criminal actions causing injury to another.  The lack of supervision and improper placement of an unstable temporary resident with an elder resident will have some bearing on a civil case against the facility staff and administration who owed a duty of care to the injured Michigan nursing home resident.

Sources.

Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) of 1987

 

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