Failure to Seek Medical Evaluation is a Form of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities by and large require some degree of regular nursing care to maximize their health and quality of life. It is a standard practice of nursing care, and a requirement of nursing home staff, to monitor and assess the health of residents, to chart their condition and report any changes to responsible medical authorities. When nursing home staff fail to conduct a proper medical evaluation or refer a resident for further evaluation, the attorneys at the Slechter Law Firm in Louisville step in to ensure that the resident receives proper medical care and that the nursing home is properly held accountable for any harm they have caused by their negligence, delay, incompetence or willful failure to carry out their duties.
Duty to evaluate or refer residents for diagnosis or treatment
Whenever a change in a resident’s condition appears, a medical evaluation should be conducted for the purpose of diagnosis and treatment, or for referral to specialists or other facilities for follow-up testing if needed. Nursing staff should report any concerns to the attending physician at the facility, who can determine the proper course of action, whether to treat or refer.
A delayed diagnosis from the failure to conduct an evaluation, or a misdiagnosis from an improper medical evaluation, can have many ill effects, including a deterioration of health, a longer and more expensive recovery period than was necessary, the infliction of preventable suffering and discomfort, and a decrease in quality of life.
Pain is a symptom that deserves evaluation and treatment
Pain is a symptom that serves as an indicator of some underlying illness. Pain should be treated for its own sake to relieve the discomfort of the sufferer, but it should also prompt a thorough and proper medical evaluation into the source of the pain. Unfortunately, not all nursing home residents who may be experiencing pain are able to communicate that fact verbally. Nursing home staff should be trained to recognize nonverbal signs that a resident is in pain, such as:
- Pained facial expressions
- Muscle rigidity
- Anger or fear
- A general decline in physical and mental health
- Sudden, intermittent cries
Other changes unassociated with pain may also trigger the need for medical evaluation. For instance, weight loss or weight gain may be an indication of a medical condition, a mental illness or reaction to medication.
Hold Louisville nursing homes liable for their failure to seek medical evaluation
A condition that goes undiagnosed or untreated can be harmful and even fatal. If your loved one in a nursing home was possibly harmed by a failure on the part of staff to seek a medical evaluation when one was called for, contact the Slechter Law Firm in Louisville at 502-384-7400, or toll free throughout Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee at 855-598-7425. Your call is complimentary and 100% confidential.