Nurse Malpractice and Abuse in Home Healthcare

Reporting health care fraud and abuse is critical to ensure that home health care agencies
and entities are held responsible for abuse health care.

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Patient mistreatment, neglect, and abuse is becoming an increasing public concern, especially for the most fragile and vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, disabled, and pediatric patients.

Amy N Rogers

As such, it is important to not only understand what constitutes malpractice, but also to be able to identify and recognize the warning signs of nursing home health care abuse, malpractice and neglect.
Better informed consumers are more likely to recognize and report inadequate home health care services, nurse malpractice and abuse, and fraud.

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) defines negligence as a “failure to use such care as a reasonably prudent and careful person would use under similar circumstances.” The legal definition of “malpractice” varies state to state, but generally involves the negligence, misconduct, or breach of a duty in the rendering of medical care, treatment, or services that fall below the applicable standard of care, resulting in injury or damage to a patient.

Sometimes, the treatment of a patient does not constitute “care” at all, but rather is so egregious that it rises to the level of abuse, which can result in not only civil liability but also criminal prosecution and administrative sanctioning by the state, which may result in penalties such as the suspension or revocation of nursing licenses.

Various factors have been found to contribute to an increase in the number of malpractice cases against nurses. For example, as a result of cost-containment efforts, nurses are delegating more of their tasks to unlicensed assistants or to underqualified or inexperienced nurses.

Nurse malpractice is also more likely to occur in situations where patients are prematurely discharged from treatment. In addition, nursing shortages can prompt the hiring of underqualified or inexperienced nurses.

Often, this type of nursing health abuse occurs with elderly care abuse in nursing homes, acute care facilities, and long-term care facilities, but nursing malpractice and abuse can also occur in the home health setting and involves not only elder care abuse but also abuse of pediatric patients with developmental disabilities and special care needs.

abuse in home healthcare

The common areas of nursing negligence issues that prompt malpractice lawsuits involve the following:

  • failure to follow standards of care;
  • failure to use equipment in a responsible manner;
  • failure to communicate;
  • failure to document medical treatment and care;
  • failure to assess and monitor patients; and
  • failure to act as a patient advocate.

Reporting health care fraud and abuse is critical to ensure that home health care agencies and entities are held responsible for abuse health care. Medical malpractice insurance companies are prepared to fight legal claims of nursing malpractice, elder abuse, and home health care abuse.

It is also important to contact a knowledgeable attorney to understand the legal rights and remedies that may be available. Many legal claims are also time-limited, so it is important to seek legal information before the applicable statute of limitations expires and your claim is forever barred.

If you or a loved one have suffered from abuse or neglect by a nurse in the home health care setting.
Contact Shapiro Winthers P.C. for a free consultation. (303) 861 – 1000.

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