Nursing home abuse and negligence is on the rise throughout the United States — and in the State of Indiana, in particular. Some of the reasons for the recent increase in Indiana nursing home negligence cases is the aging population, the increased number of nursing home residents, and fewer and less-qualified people being hired as nursing home staff.
On a national scale, the State of Indiana ranks poorly in terms of the average quality of care provided to nursing home residents.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of negligence or malpractice committed by an employee or staff member of an Indiana nursing home or assisted living facility, you may be entitled to legal compensation for the injuries and damages you sustained. Our experienced Indiana nursing home negligence lawyers have the necessary legal knowledge and expertise to represent you in your case and help you to obtain maximum compensation.
Indiana Nursing Home Abuse: By the Numbers
According to data published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, there were 542 certified nursing facilities in Indiana as of 2015. Twenty-eight percent of those facilities contained “serious deficiencies” that put its residents at risk — making Indiana tied for 13th-worst in the U.S. with Arizona, Virginia, Alaska, and Wisconsin.
An average of 10 deficiencies exist per nursing facility in Indiana. A “deficiency” is a problem that can result in a negative impact on the health and safety of residents, such as infection control, food sanitation, comprehensive care plans, and unnecessary drugs. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services label these as “actual harm” and “immediate jeopardy,” with the former resulting in a lower functional status for the resident and the latter including serious injury, harm, impairment, or death.
More information from the Kaiser Family Foundation report:
Number of nursing home residents in Indiana: 39,039 (3% of U.S. total)
Average number of certified nursing facility beds in Indiana: 114.6
Certified nursing facility occupancy rate in Indiana: 74%. The District of Columbia ranks highest at a 93% occupancy rate.
Average nurse hours per resident per day in Indiana: 1.8 licensed nurse hours; 4 total nursing staff hours. Indiana is tied for 7th-highest in the U.S. on number of licensed nurse hours, but falls to a 12-way tie for ranking 27th on its total nursing staff hours — even ranking below the U.S. average of 4.1 hours.
Additional statistics found in an AARP report titled Long-Term Care in Indiana may indicate how nursing home abuse cases may only increase in the future:
- Thirteen percent of Indiana’s population is over 65, while the over-85 population is projected to grow by 48 percent between 2007 and 2030.
- Two-thirds of Indiana’s nursing homes rated below average in health inspections.
- Indiana spends only 5 percent of its Medicaid long-term dollars for older people and adults with physical disabilities on home and community-based care — ranking it 48th among the states in spending on home care services for this population.
- Studies have indicated that non-profit nursing homes provide higher-quality of care than for-profit facilities.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Indiana nursing home abuse or negligence may be committed by any employee of a nursing home, including the following individuals:
- Nursing assistants
- Nurse practitioners
- Nursing home administrators
- Physical therapists
Some of the most common examples of nursing home negligence include the following:
- Failure to adequately supervise a patient
- Failure to provide the proper care or treatment, including unsanitary conditions
- Errors in dispensing or administering medication
- Mishandling a patient
- Failure to call a doctor or to report a serious patient complaint or finding to the doctor or nurse on duty
- Failing to adequately and appropriate respond to a patient’s needs (including the signs or symptoms of injury or illness)
Nursing home residents can file complaints of their quality of care they got from a Medicare provider with their Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization (BFCC-QIO). Complaints range from those about their doctor, about their health or drug plan, getting discharged from the hospital too soon, and more. Contact information for all Medicare-related organizations in Indiana can be found here.
Whether a particular incident constitutes actionable negligence is a complicated issue, and individuals without legal training often fail to recognize it when it occurs. For this reason, anyone injured in a nursing home should have an attorney review their case as soon as possible.
Legal Basis for Recovery
Any nursing home employee could be liable for medical negligence, pursuant to the Indiana Medical Malpractice Statute. A healthcare provider working for a nursing home is held to the standard of care of a reasonably prudent health care provider acting under the same or similar circumstances.
Since the health care provider is also an employee of the nursing home, the nursing home itself (or one or more of the nursing home’s administrators) may face potential liability under an agency theory of recovery. An injured patient might also have a cause of action against the nursing home for negligent hiring, negligent supervision, and/or negligent retention of the healthcare provider charged with committing the malpractice or negligence.
Contact an Indiana Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer Today
Nursing home abuse and negligence occurs on a daily basis in the State of Indiana. Unfortunately, when nursing home health care providers make mistakes, the results are oftentimes catastrophic.
An injured patient usually has a cause of action against the health care provider directly and may have a second cause of action against the nursing facility based upon agency, negligent hiring, negligent retention, and/or negligent supervision.
If you have sustained injuries as a result of a healthcare provider or nursing facility’s careless or negligent actions or inactions, you may be entitled to compensation under the Indiana Medical Malpractice Statute. You can contact the experienced Indiana nursing home negligence attorneys of Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz at any time, via telephone or online, for an initial consultation.