Retaliation in Nursing Home Cases
Many families contact The Dickson Firm about a potential case. However, despite the fact that they are concerned that their loved one is not receiving proper care, they are often afraid that if they complain, or if they initiate a lawsuit, the nursing home will retaliate against their loved one.
The Dickson Firm handled a very egregious case involving a female resident of a nursing home, who was not able to speak. Her family was concerned about her care and they complained to the nursing home. Her son concealed a camera in her room. The camera recorded the staff physically abusing the resident. They apparently were retaliating for the complaints of the family. In that case two of the staff lost their license and went to prison. Retaliation is a significant concern among family members.
What To Do If You Suspect Retaliation
First and foremost, if you have any concern that your loved one is not receiving proper care at a nursing home, we strongly recommend that you move your loved one to another nursing home. We realize this can be a very challenging process.
One of the issues is that many residents, particularly residents who have dementia, can be significantly adversely affected by being moved to a different nursing home. If a resident has dementia, familiarity can help their condition. Moving them to a brand new nursing home can aggravate their condition.
However, if you are concerned that your loved one is not receiving proper care, we strongly recommend that you move your loved one to another nursing home where they will receive proper care. Tragically, many nursing homes provide inadequate care to their residents. Some nursing homes even abuse their residents. There are many nursing homes that are understaffed. This is primarily due to a desire to increase profits.
Nursing homes only have so many beds. Once those beds are full, the nursing home can't earn any additional money. The only way to increase profit is to reduce expenses. The largest line item on any budget is staffing. Therefore, nursing homes often replace RNs with LPNs. They often replace LPNs with nurse's aids. Often the aids are expected to do things that they are not trained to do.
A nursing home is required to have a registered nurse on duty for a minimum of eight (8) hours every day. Those eight (8) hours can occur at night. An RN can work the night shift for eight (8) hours and satisfy the legal requirement. This leaves the nursing home without a registered nurse during the day.
Many nursing homes experience high rates of staff turnover, including staff turnover at the position of Director of Nursing and/or Administrator. The Dickson Firm recently handled a case against a nursing home that had no Director of Nursing and no Administrator for a significant period of time. The nursing home was completely without leadership. And this led to a real breakdown of the care being provided to the residents. During that time, one of their residents eloped out of the facility in the middle of the night in the freezing cold and fell down and suffered a fracture. That resident later died of his injuries.
Dealing With Nursing Home Employees
As we investigate cases, The Dickson Firm often runs into challenges because employees, even former employees of the nursing home, are reluctant to speak out against the nursing home for fear of retaliation by the nursing home. Even if they don't work there anymore, staff are often afraid that the management at one nursing home will talk to management at other nursing homes and they will be unable to get a job in their chosen field.
The Dickson Firm has developed techniques over the years to not only locate former employees of the nursing home, but to persuade them to come forward and talk honestly about the care or the lack of care at the nursing home where they worked.
If you have any concern that someone you love is not being provided with appropriate care at a nursing home, particularly if you have concern that someone you love might be the victim of retaliation by the nursing home, we strongly recommend that you move that person to a better nursing home.
If you use the medicare.gov website,
you can compare nursing homes in your area. You can put them in order of their five star rating. You can then contact the better nursing homes to see if they have an opening.
We also strongly recommend that you visit any nursing home before you move your loved one into it. The quality of care is often readily apparent when you're physically present in the nursing home. Any nursing home can be made to look nice online. However, once you're physically at the nursing home, you can hear the sounds of the nursing home. You can smell the smells of the nursing home. You can look around and see if there are an adequate number of people working at the nursing home. You can also ask to see the staff ratios. How many aids are there for how many residents? What is the ratio?
A friend recently asked Attorney Blake Dickson about placing a relative at a nursing home, and the staff ratio was such that every aid was expected to care for thirteen (13) residents. That many residents on the night shift may not be too much of a problem, but it's not optimal. On the day shift, that many residents is a real challenge. Every resident has to be gotten up in the morning, bathed either by way of a shower or at least a bed bath, their hair combed, their teeth brushed, toileted, cleaned up after toileting, dressed and then eventually taken to a meal where many of them need assistance with eating. There really isn't enough time for one aid to take care of thirteen (13) residents in the morning. This type of intentional understaffing to increase profits inevitably leads to residents being neglected.
If You Suspect Retaliation by Nursing Home Staff, Contact Us
If someone you love is in a nursing home and you're concerned that they're not getting appropriate care, and you're worried that if you complain, the staff at the nursing home will retaliate when you're not there, we strongly recommend that you move your loved one to a better nursing home.
If you have any questions or concerns, or you need additional advice, please call us at any time at 1-800-OHIO LAW as we would always be happy to talk with you and help you in any way that we can.