When placed in a nursing home or aged care facility, the elderly are dependant on the staff who work there. However, reports of mistreated patients and misconduct within staff are all too common across Australia.
Such examples, while appalling, also illustrate that aged care facilities sometimes breach that expected duty of care. This breach provides patients and their families the chance to file a claim for medical negligence. But what exactly constitutes nursing home negligence in NSW?
The ins and outs of nursing home negligence
Unfortunately, there are many matters that fall under the category of nursing home negligence, including the following:
- Physical abuse, whether intentional or unintentional.
- Emotional abuse of a patient. Staff may ignore the patient, leave them alone or shout at them.
- Medical neglect in the form of medical dosage errors, over medication, failure to diagnose conditions, and failing to treat bedsores.
- Neglect of patient hygiene, such as lack of supervision when showering.
- Sexual abuse of the elderly.
- General lack of compassion for elderly patients.
There are other factors that constitute negligence within nursing homes. But why are standards not being met?
Face-to-face with the AACQA
The AACQA, otherwise known as the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency, are responsible for the inspections of nursing homes around the country. They assess the quality of care and services provided to residents by the home and its staff – all of which is measured against the Accreditation Standards.
As such, in 2015, the AACQA revealed that 93 NSW nursing homes had failed to meet accreditation standards over the previous three years. However, experts believe this number is only the tip of the iceberg. The AACQA only talk to 10 per cent of residents during an inspection, and only up until recently, conducted announced assessments.
How to spot the signs of nursing home negligence
Aged care negligence is an important matter that should never be ignored – so it's important to be aware of the signs:
- Bedsores from failing to properly turn the patient.
- Alterations in patient personal hygiene.
- Abnormal changes in a patient's behaviour.
- Staff failing to interact kindly with other employees or patients.
- The presence of environmental hazards such as unsafe furniture.
If you notice any abnormalities and think negligence is present, it's important to seek help.
As well as speaking to the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner, it's also important to seek legal advice. Here at Gerard Malouf & Partners, we're well versed in dealing with sensitive negligence matters and want the best for you and your loved one. If you'd like to find out more about your options, get in touch with a member of the team today.