Burns in Nursing Homes Arise Out of Negligence
A Nursing Home Burn Injury is Never an Acceptable Outcome
Nursing homes house elderly, frail, and sick residents. However, despite their frailty, burns in nursing homes should never occur.
We place our loved ones in nursing homes because they need help with daily activities that we cannot safely provide at home. This means they need assistance with eating, bathing, therapy, supervision, and safety.
Unfortunately, all five of these activities can result in nursing home resident burns if the staff neglects the needs of the patient. Fires and burns are unacceptable inside a nursing facility.
Nursing Home Burns from Hot Food, Coffee, and Tea
Nursing homes prepare thousands of hot meals each year. Coffee and tea are served daily inside the facility. Nursing home staff must assist many of their residents with eating and drinking. This means they must make sure that hot foods, coffee, and teas are a safe temperature before serving to the residents.
It is inexcusable for staff to spill hot food or drinks on a resident. Similarly, if the resident is not able to safely feed themselves, scalding hot coffee and foods should not be left alone with the residents. Failure to follow these common-sense safety precautions can result in nursing home burns from tea, coffee, and hot foods.
Nursing Home Burns from Shower or Bath Water that is Too Hot
Like eating and drinking, most nursing home patients require assistance with bathing.
A large component of staff assistance with bathing is making sure the shower or bath water is not too hot. If staff neglects to check the temperature of the water, the nursing home resident may develop second or third degree burns from scalding bath or shower water.
Failing to make sure the water temperature is safe is a form of nursing home negligence.
Physical Therapy Burns in Long Term Care Facilities
Physical therapy is a requirement in most rehabilitation residencies. Physical therapists often use heating pads with electrical heating technologies in order to work muscles back to pre-injury levels.
Heating pad temperatures must be checked before applying to the fragile skin of elderly nursing home residents, in order to avoid physical therapy heating pad burns. Additionally, if therapists get distracted and leave a heating pad on a patient’s skin for too long, the result can be a serious heating pad burn injury.
Burns and Wrongful Death from Nursing Home Electrical Fires
A nursing home or ALF has a legal requirement to maintain resident safety, as well as maintain a safe facility. This means the facility must maintain the nursing home’s structure and ensure that its electric system is safe, functioning, and up to code.
Beyond federal regulations, fire safety is also a legal requirement in every facility in all 50 states. According to the U.S. Accountability Office, the estimate of nursing homes that had structural fires between 1994 and 1999 stands at 2,300. In 2003, there were 31 fire related deaths in Nashville, Tennessee and Hartford, Connecticut in two different nursing home fires. Following these tragedies, a government investigation into nursing home fire deaths was launched. The result was an increase on fire safety regulations for both nursing homes and assisted living residences.
Despite this increase in regulation, fire-related nursing home deaths continue to surface. In 2022, a Florida nursing home resident perished due to burn-related injuries sustained in a fire. Similar fires occurred in nursing homes in 2022 in Maryland, New York, Illinois, and California.
The root cause of all these more recent burns was an electrical fire. When a nursing home catches fire due to an electrical malfunction, there are two questions our nursing home fire attorneys analyze:
- Could the nursing home electrical fire have been prevented?
- Did the nursing home appropriately and timely respond to the fire to ensure the safety of vulnerable residents?
Sometimes, in investigating a nursing home fire case, our attorneys discover that the facility’s electrical system is outdated and had not been serviced or inspected properly.
Further, even if the electrical fire was not foreseeable and truly was a surprise accident, our attorneys find that all too often, nursing home staff is woefully unprepared to handle the emergency. Due to apathetic aides and poor training, the staff fails to efficiently clear the building. As a result, immobile nursing home residents wrongfully die from burns or smoke inhalation.
If a resident is burned, injured, or wrongfully dies in a facility fire, a thorough investigation should be conducted to determine if the nursing facility followed required fire safety guidelines. When our firm does a deep dive investigation into potential nursing home fire lawsuits, we unfortunately find that corners were cut by the nursing home. Usually, these shortcuts were taken in an effort to cut costs and make more money. This is precisely the profits-before-people approach that is systemic in today’s for-profit long term care industry.
Our nursing home fire attorneys have extensive experience investigating and prosecuting nursing home fire lawsuits. We can help your family get answers, and justice, following a preventable nursing home fire tragedy.
Burns from Sunburns, Heat Exposure, and Heatstroke
Nursing homes have a legal duty to protect residents from heatstroke and sunburn. It is negligent for a nursing home staff member to leave a confused resident to bake outside in the sun.
Our lawyers have handled wrongful death claims involving nursing home residents left in the sun too long, resulting in dehydration, heatstroke, and death.
Additionally, we have handled cases where a nursing home’s air conditioning goes out and residents die due to heatstroke.
What may result in a small sunburn to ordinary people can be fatal to weakened nursing home residents. If your loved one died in a nursing home due to sun exposure or heatstroke, seek legal help from a nursing home burn attorney immediately.
Burn Injuries in Nursing Homes: A Reoccurring Problem
Nursing home burns and fires cause irreparable injury to senior citizens. Allowing residents of nursing homes to suffer preventable burn injuries constitutes nursing home neglect.
Sadly, we continue to see many elderly residents develop burn injuries while residents. Many of these nursing home burns tragically cause the victim to die.
When a facility fails to follow protocol and protect its most frail patients, the result is almost always a preventable tragedy. The only way to stop this carelessness is to report the burn injuries.
Free Nursing Home Burn & Fire Attorney Consultation
At Senior Justice Law Firm, our lawyers solely focus on cases involving injury and wrongful death to seniors residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This is literally all we do.
This narrow focus allows us to deliver the results and justice that aggrieved families expect when dealing with the loss of their parent or loved one. Let our years of experience prosecuting nursing home fire and burn lawsuits help your family.
If you have questions about a facility burn injury or a nursing home fire lawsuit, speak with our experienced nursing home negligence litigators today.
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