Like any health care professional, a nurse providing at home nursing care must adhere to a certain “standard of care” that other nurses in their field practice. If they do not, and you or a loved one suffer harm as a result, you could have a nursing malpractice lawsuit against the nurse and the company that employs the nurse.
There are various reasons why you or a loved one may need at home nursing care. Probably the best known type of at home nursing care is for personal care and companionship – otherwise known as home health aide services – for the elderly who need help with everyday activities such as meal preparation, dressing, bathing and other household tasks so they can continue living on their own at home. However at home nursing care is not limited to the elderly. If a younger person had a catastrophic injury or serious illness they may need long term nursing care at home. This care is more medicine based – such as checking vital signs, administering medication, etc. – and this nurse will have more medical training than a home health aide. Finally you or a family member could need home health care which is physician directed to help you recover from a long hospital stay.
Unfortunately these “at home” nurses can sometimes provide substandard care. There could be various reasons for this, whether it be an issue with the nurse themselves or also the company for which they work. Some examples are the company having poor hiring standards, or looking to cut costs and not providing a nurse qualified to provide for you or your loved ones needs. Or the company may not have a sufficient number of nurses to treat their patients and thus a nurse may not always show up to provide care. You may get a nurse who simply ignores their patients when they get to the patient’s home, or a nurse who does not report when a patient of theirs has an injury (such as a fall) in hopes to cover it up. The nurse could also fail to report signs of a serious ailment that is developing in their patient to the patient’s attending doctor until it is too late.
In order to prove these claims medical records will be important. Sometimes at home nursing care records are not as detailed, but if a nursing patient suffered a serious injury there should be hospital records to corroborate this. Of course any witness testimony from visiting friends or family members can also be helpful.
In any event, to bring suit you will need a nursing care expert to review the case and certify there was a breach in the standard of care/negligence on the part of the treating nurse in order to file a law suit. This can often take months to determine so it is important, if you or a loved one does wish to bring a claim for poor at home nursing care, to begin investigating the claim and to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Besides a nursing expert these claims will also often require a medical doctor to discuss how the at home nurse’s negligence caused you or your family’s members injuries. An attorney experienced in handling these claims will be able to contact reliable experts in these fields and get a professional medical opinion about your or your family member’s case.
The Thistle Law Firm is experienced at handling nursing malpractice cases. If you believe either you or a loved one suffered serious harm due to at home nursing care neglect the attorneys at the Thistle Law Firm are here to take your call and answer your questions at 215-525-6824.