Top Reasons Nursing Home Residents Are Transferred To Hospitals
It is certainly true that the elderly may require higher levels of care due to frailty and medical conditions that come with age. However, you should be concerned when a loved one at a Florida nursing home requires hospitalization. Statistics indicate that between 1 million and 2.2 million residents are transferred from the assisted living facility to a hospital emergency room annually, and the implications are severe. Transfers are costly, lead to adverse outcomes, and can increase the potential for developing additional medical conditions while hospitalized.
Unfortunately, not all nursing home transfers to the hospital are appropriate. Many times, they are only required because negligence at the facility made it necessary. Florida laws cover these situations, so you may qualify to recover compensation for misconduct. A Tampa medical malpractice lawyer will guide you through the legal process, but some information on the top reasons for hospitalization is useful.
Common Reasons for Hospital Transfers: There are definitely situations where a nursing home resident is suffering from an acute medical emergency, and many facilities are not set up to provide this level of care. They may have skilled nurses or a general practitioner on staff, but only for basic needs. A transfer would be essential under the circumstances.
However, some transfers to the emergency room or hospital are not justified on medical grounds. Either the resident could have been provided with the proper attention at the nursing home – or the facility’s own negligence is the reason that hospitalization is necessary. The most common reasons for transfer include:
- Infection, which develops with negligent handling of catheters or failure to treat wounds;
- Falls, particularly getting in and out of bed when no staff is available to help;
- Bowel impaction, otherwise known as an obstruction in the bowls that prevents elimination and can be life-threatening; and,
- Exacerbation of a chronic condition, often caused by missed medications.
How Improper Transfers Constitutes Nursing Home Negligence: One of the most concerning problems is the decision-making process when transferring the resident from an assisted living facility to the hospital. In some situations, the call is made by a nurse that does not have the experience or training necessary to evaluate the resident’s condition. Other problems include failure to have in-house labs or diagnostic testing, lack of familiarity with residents’ medical histories, and documentation errors.
These factors could amount to negligence when they represent a deviation of the standard of care that would be considered acceptable in nursing homes. Under Florida law, it is possible to recover monetary damages for medical costs, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Reach Out to a Florida Nursing Home Negligence Attorney for Details
A hospital and/or emergency room may be appropriate for some nursing home residents, but this information is helpful for understanding when a facility should be liable for an improper transfer. For additional details, please contact the Tampa, FL offices of Greco & Wozniak P.A. at 813.223.7849 or via our website. We can schedule a free case assessment with a Florida nursing home negligence lawyer who will advise you on legal remedies.