Nursing Home/Convalescent Home Litigation

By: David K. Jaffe

In cases alleging nursing home or convalescent home negligence, malpractice or misfeasance, there are several important factors for a Plaintiff’s attorney to consider before and during suit, to wit:

  1. Chart documentation is the cornerstone of communication among caregivers. Therefore, it is critical to obtain all documentation typically generated at a care facility such as updated minimum data sets, quarterly comprehensive care plans, physicians’, nurses’ and CNAs, notes, activity and social event charts, physical therapy records and administrative records.
  2. In Connecticut, the applicable regulations require that an incident called a "reportable event report", (also commonly known as an "incident report") be filed every time a significant resident fall or injury occurs. Importantly, often these reports document the unsafe conditions that existed and the steps taken, post-morbid to rectify these unsafe conditions.
  3. There are extensive state and federal (OBRA) regulations that apply (including accepted methods of documentation and reporting) to "reportable events" as well as to "avoidable" versus "unavoidable" accidents, proper care of pressure sores, including positioning, repositioning and offloading techniques, and other nursing home standards of care and staffing and licensing requirements.
  4. All such regulations should be scrutinized carefully by a Plaintiff’s attorney because they often provide great insight into the liability portion of the case and therefore they can be a great help, in conjunction with a good expert in the field of nursing home care and practices, in resolving the case.

Discussion

The Standard of Care for the prevention and treatment of pressure sores derives from Federal OBRA regulations, AHCPR guidelines, the American Medical Directors Association, the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) and European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP), and Federal OBRA regulations expanded upon by guidance to surveyors under OBRA F-tag 314. These establish acceptable community norms for pressure sore prevention and treatment.