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Five Kinds of Nursing Home Neglect


Severe understaffing, a problem that affects over 90 percent of the long-term care facilities in King County, is usually the root cause of nursing home abuse. Overworked nursing home employees often act inappropriately towards each other and towards residents. Additionally, in understaffed environments, nursing home owners often hire under-qualified professionals or expect one person to do three or four jobs.

When owners tolerate nursing home negligence or dangerous conditions in a nursing home, a Seattle personal injury lawyer can often obtain substantial compensation in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, legal claims force nursing home owners to live up to their legal responsibilities.


Many nursing home residents have visual and/or mobility impairments. Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t live in the facility.

Visual impairments increase the risk of a fall. Quite simply, nursing home residents cannot see where they’re going, especially in low-light conditions. Mobility impairments, which enhance the injuries sustained in a fall, include prior injuries, usually from a prior fall, and conditions like arthritis.

Because of these frailties, and also because nursing home residents are invitees who are entitled to legal protection, nursing home owners have a duty to immediately remove injury hazards, as soon as the owner knows about them, or should know about them.

Falls can also occur if a nursing home resident is provided a bed that doesn’t have protective rails, or if staff is inattentive when assisting or transferring a resident.


Bedridden patients develop pressure ulcers if they don’t reposition themselves in bed at least once every two hours. Many nursing home residents are too overmedicated or weak to move around. So, they depend entirely on the nursing home staff.

Sadly, staffers often let them down. Mostly due to understaffing, one person, instead of multiple people, might make nighttime rounds. One person often isn’t strong enough to roll a person over. In other cases, underqualified professionals who cannot spot early stage bedsores, like patient care technicians, perform pounds. So, if a patient has a bedsore, the pressure ulcer gets worse and soon becomes life-threatening.

Medication Errors

Somewhat similarly, underqualified professionals sometimes give residents their medication. A slight error, like an identification error or slight dosage error, could cause a catastrophic injury. Turnover is also a problem at understaffed facilities. New employees don’t know residents, don’t know their temperament, and don’t know what they need. As a result, new employees are more likely to make medication errors.


Eyesight, as mentioned elsewhere, isn’t the only sense that degrades with age. Taste and smell degrade too. So, when residents sit down for meals, food doesn’t look, taste, or smell good. Furthermore, these residents often don’t feel hungry. So, they don’t eat.

At fully staffed facilities, registered dieticians usually supervise the food preparation process and also float around the dining area to ensure residents eat. At understaffed facilities, no one tailors meals to meet the needs of older people and no one cares whether they eat or not.

Resident-on-Resident Abuse

The duty of care in Washington requires owners to ensure that their premises are reasonably safe and secure. If negligent security causes an injury, the property owner, which in this case is the nursing home owner, could be financially responsible for damages.

Most facilities don’t need armed guards to protect residents. But they do need employees in common areas who know how to break up fights before they become violent. “Violent” is a relative term. Many residents are extremely frail. Therefore, a little force could cause a serious injury.

Reach Out to a Thorough King County Lawyer

Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Seattle, contact the Emerald Law Group. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no money or insurance.


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