Preparing a Nursing Home Case - Pressure Ulcers
Lawyers who handle nursing home abuse and negligence cases take the position as Kreisman Law Offices does that each case that we handle are prepared for trial. In a pressure ulcer case, often referred to bed sores, we will thoroughly review all of the nursing home records of our client (the resident), physician records and hospital records.
We will answer the questions that must be answered in the course of trial preparation. For example, we will learn what care plan, if any, was established by the nursing home to prevent skin breakdown if that becomes the underlying cause of infection, dehydration or other maladies caused by the neglect or omissions of cares. Each resident of a nursing home is particular and unique in all cases.
Was the resident on admission to the nursing home evaluated for skin breakdown because of incontinence or immobility? What questions were asked and then fully answered by the resident, the resident’s family and the resident’s physician and by evidence found in the resident’s medical records.
Given the condition of the resident on admission to the nursing home, did this facility make certain to deliver nutritious food and vitamins that prevent skin breakdown? Were all of the necessary prescribed medication given to the resident at the right times and the correct dosages?
From the nursing home records, was it evident that the registered nurses LPNs and CNAs charted the turning and repositioning of the resident as frequent as every 2 hours?
Was there any evidence of alteration of the nursing home records?
Was our client on admission to the nursing home provided a pressure-relieving mattress to prevent skin breakdown or pressure sores?
In preparing nursing home cases at Kreisman Law Offices, we will study the history of the nursing home by researching the very valuable website www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html. This website has a world of information about nursing homes all over Illinois and for that matter all over the country. Each nursing home is rated by quality measures, staffing and its overall rating.
In addition to the internet available research, it is recommended that an Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request be made to the Illinois Department of Health and Human Services to get the full inspection reports for the nursing home. This information will provide valuable information on the nursing home’s shortfalls, failings and violations of Illinois’ Nursing Home Care Act, its own policies and procedures and federal law.
It is always important in preparing cases for trial that the lawyers know the client extremely well. Robert Kreisman will spend as much time possible with the client and his/her family, friends and loved ones and learn if there were any prior or subsequent injuries that were similar to those described in the lawsuit. There is no limit on the building of relationships with our clients and our client’s families.
Lawyers handling nursing home cases should also be aware that there are many former nursing home employees who may be unhappy about their tenure at this nursing home. They may become particularly forthcoming at the time of giving a deposition and when giving trial testimony. It would be important to locate all such former employees that were working at the time of the incident alleged in the nursing home complaint. Also, be sure to have a medical expert or nurse expert carefully review all the medical charts to make sure that errors and alterations to the records are found. In cases of pressure sores being the cause of an infectious process or other harmful medical issue, make sure that photographs are made that clearly show the injury, the size of the bed sore and the depth of it if possible. Those particulars should be clearly charted by the medical providers in any event.
It is imperative that the lawyer handling the nursing home abuse case obtain the nursing home’s policies and procedures in full. They may be voluminous but they need to be reviewed carefully for the purpose of establishing rules and rules broken by the facility’s personnel. That is the basis for establishing what the rules of the nursing home that were in place at the time of the incident. How they were broken and the obvious harmful result to the resident, our client. In addition to the nursing home’s policies and procedures, there are also specific rules for nursing homes found in the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JACHO). There are also rules of nursing home procedures and policies found in the Medicare regulations.
Having learned the rules, policies and procedures that apply to the nursing facility at issue here and the duty to prevent danger to the resident, it is crucial at trial that the jury understands how these rules were broken and how many of the residents were at risk, including our client.
These are some of the basic steps that must be taken for successfully handling a nursing home case from the beginning through trial. Of course, there is much more that goes into the preparation, including pretrial motion practice, witness preparation, expert witness preparation, the development of themes, conducting focus groups to learn about particular weaknesses in the case and just common sense in presenting the case in a way that focuses on the nursing home’s poor handling of an injured resident.
If you or someone you love have been injured or killed by the negligence or abuse of a medical provider at a nursing home, assisted living facility or long-term care center, please call Robert Kreisman for an immediate and free consultation regarding your situation. Mr. Kreisman has been an active member of the Illinois and Missouri bars since 1976. With more than 40 years of experience in trying and settling nursing home abuse and negligence cases where a resident has been harmed and neglected by nursing home personnel, Chicago's Kreisman Law Offices provides the best possible services to our many clients and achieves unsurpassed results. Please call us 24 hours a day at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online.