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High Quality Nursing Homes Still Face Lawsuits

If you’ve placed your elder loved one in the best nursing home that North Carolina has to offer, you don’t have to worry about issues like abuse, neglect, bed sores, malnutrition, and falls, right? Unfortunately, a new national study has found that even the nursing homes with the highest quality of care and the best track records are sued for issues stemming from negligence and abuse.

The study compared the number of nursing home lawsuits filed against low quality nursing homes to the number of nursing home lawsuits filed against high quality nursing homes. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine and conducted by professors of health care policy at Harvard Medical School, the study found that while patients have a slightly lower risk of filing a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit if they live in a low-rated adult care facility, the difference is not significant.

Specifically, the study found that in any given year, a high quality nursing home faced a 40% risk of being sued, while a low quality nursing home faced a 47% chance of being sued. The study did not examine whether or not the lawsuits were frivolous, but only what the outcome of the suit was.

Overall, researchers collected data from five national nursing home chains eight years beginning in 1988. In total, 4,716 neglect and abuse claims were filed against 1,465 nursing homes and each nursing home was sued on average once every other year. The main cause of the lawsuits were fall injuries, bed sores, malnutrition, dehydration, abuse, and medication mistakes

What does this study’s findings have to say about the state of nursing home abuse and neglect litigation? While some jump to the conclusion that the results of the study show a need for nursing home lawsuit tort reform, others believe that it shows that all nursing homes, not matter what their cost or rating, struggle with issues of neglect and abuse. Perhaps instead of tort reform, we need to reform the way nursing homes run their businesses and care for patients.

Have you or a loved one been harmed or neglected in a nursing home? Contact a North Carolina nursing home abuse attorney today to discuss your case.