Malpractice and Home Health Workers & Private Aides
Long-term care for elderly folks can be rife with abuse and negligence. Nursing home abuse is generally well known. However, in recent years, the number of cases involving abuse and neglect have shifted; where the majority were primarily centralized around nursing homes, more and more cases are being brought against home health workers. The increase in home health aide negligence is startling, as it seems that our family members are being inadequately cared for at home.
Our Attorneys Hold Neglectful Home Health Nurses Accountable
Our elder abuse lawyers are ready, willing and able to help you investigate a lawsuit against a home health aide. In fact, our firm focuses on cases against negligent aides and nurses failing to provide proper care for vulnerable seniors.
Start the conversation today. Call us for a free home health worker negligence case consultation: 888-375-9998
A Paradigm Shift in Home Health Aide Injury Claims
In a landmark investigation from 2015 to 2019, more than 20% of claims for malpractice were brought specifically against home healthcare workers. The study was spearheaded by CNA and the Nurses Service Organization—two of the largest insurance providers in their field—as part of their Professional Liability Exposure Claim Report. In this report, the researchers found that for the first time, home health nurses have seen more claims than adult medical-surgery specialty nurses. Another 10.5% of claims were filed against gerontology nurses in aging service facilities.
What has caused this gradual but impactful change? Technology plays a big role. Telehealth and virtual healthcare tools make home health work much more common than it has ever been in the past, and this means that as health work shifts to the home, so do lawsuits. The percentage of cases that involved home healthcare workers, including palliative and hospice nurses, more than doubled since 2015.
Similarly, the rate of claims against staff treatment in a patient’s home rose from 12.6% in 2015 to 22% in 2019. This is not to say that a home healthcare worker is more likely to be abusive or negligent, or to treat a patient in a manner that is harmful or neglectful. Rather, due to the shifting of healthcare to be more home-focused as a result of technological advancement, more healthcare is being done at home. This, in turn, leads to more at-home contact and a shift in overall patient care locations.
Statistics Involving Injuries from Neglectful Home Health Workers
As at-home issues continue to rise in the elder care field, more statistics have become available. In general, most claims involving home healthcare workers pay out an average of $210,325; however, specific types of claims can account for more or less in damages.
For example, 56% of lawsuits against home health workers were filed on allegations of poor treatment and care, but these tended to pay out the least upon case close. Other claims were tied to more significant payouts, with failure to communicate with the patient or family typically garnering an average of $324,260. Lapses in monitoring the resident or failing to be present when scheduled accounted for 7.6% of all cases and averaged $265,010 in payouts.
Staff who worked or made recommendations outside of their scope of practice were sued with an average payment of $252,531. Just 2% of claims alleged documentation errors, but if these were proven, the case paid out an average of $238,761.
In particular, the report notes that allegations of failures in documentation or medicine administration can be difficult to prove or defend, which is likely part of the reason why they made up some of the lowest percentages of all claims that successfully closed.
Types of Injuries
Of the injuries found in cases of poor treatment and care, the majority remained in line with what is typically seen as a result of abuse and neglect in nursing home facilities. Pressure injuries such as bedsores were the most common, accounting for nearly 10% of all instances. These are measured separately from sepsis and infection (6.8% of all claims), although infections are often a direct result of bed sores.
Bone fractures are also relatively common at 6.4%; these can often be caused by nurses who fail to properly mitigate the risk of falls for elderly patients. Falls can also lead to subdural hematomas (brain bleeds), which accounted for an additional 5.9% of claims.
What to Do if a Home Health Aide Drops the Ball
If you suspect that your loved one may be experiencing abuse or neglect at the hands of a long-term care nurse, even if they are being attended to in their own home, it is critical that you reach out to a skilled abuse attorney as quickly as possible. You deserve justice against the home healthcare service and compensation for the abuse. Senior Justice Law Firm would be happy to assist you in planning out what to do if you think that your loved one may be in danger.
At Senior Justice Law Firm, our attorneys focus solely on damages cases arising out of elder abuse and neglect. Call or live chat with us now to learn about how we can help you family achieve justice after a preventable tragedy: 888-375-9998.
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