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Paul Benson Dec. 11, 2020

Moving a loved one into a nursing home is a difficult decision for most families. You wonder if the facility’s staff will take good care of them and worry they won’t get the care and attention they need.

With more than 21,000 people residing in Wisconsin nursing homes, you hope your loved one doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. What if your loved one falls and injures themselves? What if another resident or a staff member harms them?

You would like to believe someone at the nursing home will dial 911 if your loved one is injured or falls ill. But will they?

At The Paul Benson Law Firm, I represent clients in Janesville, Beloit, and Rock County Wisconsin whose loved one has been abused or neglected by nursing home staff. No one should have to worry about a family member in a nursing home that exists to care for those who can no longer care for themselves.

Wisconsin Nursing Home Laws

Nursing homes are subject to federal laws, including stringent requirements mandated by the Health Care Financing Administration. Wisconsin Nursing Home Laws require adherence to these mandates to ensure the health and safety of residents living in care facilities.

Among those requirements is that staff is oriented to the facility and its policies. They must be educated about the rights of their residents. They are only allowed to carry out the duties for which they have been trained.

Wisconsin laws have been enacted to ensure that those residing in nursing homes receive a high quality of care. Delivery of that care may require a staff member to call 911 in the event of an emergency. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always occur.

Training Requirements

Nursing homes are primarily staffed by nursing assistants under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs). There is limited physician supervision in residential care facilities. Since nursing assistants are paid much less than RNs, LPNs, and physicians, and since residents of nursing homes require 24/7 care, they represent the majority of nursing home staffing.

The federal Nursing Home Reform Act requires that nursing assistants work no longer than four months unless they receive at least 75 hours of training, are determined to be competent in care delivery, and receive certification as a nursing assistant as a result. However, nursing assistants are not trained to assess residents in the event of an injury, for example, from a fall. The assistant may delay care if there is no RN or LPN supervisor available to make that assessment when, in fact, they should call 911 to summon a qualified health professional to assess the resident immediately.

What is Considered Negligence?

Negligence is doing something or failing to do something that a prudent, careful, and reasonable person would have done under the same situation. It’s a deviation from the normal standard of care. A caregiver failing to seek emergency assistance for a resident is a serious deviation from that standard of care.

Moreover, it is neglect when a nursing assistant fails to even recognize that a resident has fallen or been otherwise injured because it’s their job to ensure the safety of those under their care.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

In Wisconsin, there is a three-year statute of limitations for filing a nursing home abuse, neglect, or wrongful death claim. The time period begins upon the discovery of an injury or when the injury could reasonably be discovered in the event of abuse and neglect. The same rule applies if your loved one died as a result of that injury.

The quality of care delivered in a nursing home setting is the responsibility of the individual caregivers, their supervisors, and the facility owners/operators who are accountable for ensuring proper training and supervision of all staff. All are legally liable should a nursing assistant neglect or harm your loved one.

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney in Wisconsin

Nursing home abuse, negligence, and wrongful death can be difficult to prove. You must rely on medical records that might not be complete. Witnesses are rare. Access to documentation such as fall and injury reports is only possible when a lawsuit is filed. The statute of limitations means time is of the essence.

Proving your claim is complicated but not impossible. You need to start with a personal injury attorney who has investigated and prosecuted nursing home abuse and neglect cases. The Paul Benson Law Firm offers aggressive, thoughtful, and experienced representation for clients and their loved ones in Janesville and Beloit, Wisconsin.

Call today to schedule a free consultation.