Some of the nursing or care home claims that can be made for negligence on behalf of people in these circumstances are:
Assaults and unnecessary restraint
For example, patients who are restrained in bed against their wishes.
There is often no defence for a patient or resident developing a pressure sore unless they could not be moved at all for medical reasons, which is very unusual. Pressure sores normally arise due to elderly patients or residents not being moved regularly and being left in their own wet beds or clothes.
Over-prescription of antipsychotics
Most people with dementia experience behavioural and psychological symptoms, such as restlessness and shouting. Many of these symptoms can be prevented or managed without medication, but patients or residents are often given antipsychotics as a first resort, without the staff identifying if other treatment is more appropriate.
Malnutrition and dehydration
There is no defence for either malnutrition or dehydration in. We acknowledge that feeding weak and confused elderly patients is time-consuming for care homes but, too often, food is laid out and then collected without being eaten. Their food intake is not properly monitored and these patients or residents soon lose weight and this can worsen their ongoing health problems.
Older patients are more vulnerable to falling due to a number of risk factors, including impaired mobility, dementia, medication and the effects of their underlying medical illness. Often the underlying risk factors can be reduced with implementing and following-through on proper risk assessments. Falls can lead to very serious injuries or cause the death of older patients.
Hospital or care home acquired infections (for example, MRSA or pneumonia)
The mere fact of contracting one of these infections is not evidence of negligence, but, in our experience, they can be caused by a breach of Infection Control policies, etc. which, once again, can trigger a downward spiral in an older person’s health.