General Information about Nursing Home Injuries
When an elderly person enters a nursing home's care, most people assume they will be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Nursing homes do not always tend to their patients as they should. A majority of nursing home residents, to their detriment, rely on nursing home employees to provide them with basic needs such as food, water, medicine, daily hygiene, bathroom assistance and social activities.
Unfortunately, there are many nursing home residents who have suffered severe injuries or death as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect. Current estimates indicate that more that 800,000 older and developmentally disable individuals, cared for by family members or other community-based caregivers, are subject to physical and mental abuse, neglect and exploitation. Numerous experts claim the number abused is dramatically higher. Nursing homes are considered "health care providers" and are subject to medical liability for negligent treatment, lack of treatment, or other claimed departure from accepted standards of medical care which results in injury to or death of the patient.
What is a Nursing Home
Of course, no matter where a loved one receives care, be it a traditional nursing home or an assisted living center, they still deserve the best possible care available. Following is a list of health care providers that perform many of the tasks previously associated with the term "nursing home."
Hospitals: Elderly patients often are admitted to hospitals due to some type of medical emergency. Many hospitals have rehabilitation units where elderly patients can recuperate before they are discharged to a lower level of care, generally either home care or a nursing home. The hospital is where the patient and family members usually are informed that the patient will require some level of assistance. Talking with a hospital social worker, discharge planner or case manager should be your first step in determining what type of care your loved one may require after their hospital stay.
Hospital-based Skilled Nursing Facilities: These departments within a hospital - also known as extended care facilities - provide high levels of medical and nursing care. Hospital-based skilled nursing facilities provide a short-term solution after a patient's acute hospitalization. Residents often stay in these "transitional" units because their doctors want them closer to an acute care center because of medical instability. Most doctors will discontinue their care for a resident once the resident has moved to a free-standing nursing facility.
Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF): These are non-hospital-based medical and nursing facilities that provide 24-hour nursing supervision, with at least one supervising registered nurse on duty for at least eight hours per day under Texas law. Different states have different rules regarding how long a registered nurse must be on duty in a 24-hour span. Unlike at hospital-based SNFs, doctors at these facilities usually make rounds once per week instead of once per day.
Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF): These facilities provide less nursing and medical services than a normal SNF because patients in an ICF usually can move around unassisted, and their conditions are not as acute as patients in a regular SNF.
Custodial Care Facilities (CCF), Assisted Living Residences, Adult Homes, Rest Homes: These facilities are designed to provide comfortable living environments, but they do not usually provide any nursing or medical care. However, a CCF can provide medical monitoring, which consists mainly of recording medications and providing an examination room for doctor visits. Texas statutes do not require these facilities to provide formally trained nurses, although many such facilities do have licensed nurses on staff 40 hours per week because of risk management and competition issues.
Multi-Level Facilities: These are comprehensive facilities that provide several levels of care, including skilled nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities, and assisted living residences. The combination of these levels of care can facilitate a patient's movement to a higher level of care with reduced stress due to the ease of transition.
Veterans Nursing Homes: VA homes are skilled nursing facilities that are operated or funded by the United States Veterans Administration. These facilities provide many of the services described above, including the hospital-based skilled nursing facilities.