Nursing homes, and other medical facilities, have a duty to protect residents from burns. When you have a large population of individuals housed in a general sleeping area, there is always a necessity for that population to be protected from scalding water, electrical outlets and heating sources. Protection is required whether it is a college dormitory, military camp, hotel, or a nursing home. Nursing home residents are frequently at a higher risk for suffering from burns due to their decreased cognitive and physical abilities.
Burn hazards can occur at any of the example housing situations given. A lack of protection by the nursing home staff and administration or carelessness of others can be very costly; even costing nursing home residents their life. Perhaps the worst part about these deaths is that these burn accidents are preventable.
"According to the U.S. Accountability Office, the estimate of nursing homes that had structural fires between 1994 and 1999 stands at 2,300. In 2003, there were 31 fire related deaths in Nashville, Tennessee and Hartford, Connecticut in two different nursing home fires."
The most frequent issue occurs when staff members place a resident in the water without checking the temperature first. Elderly residents sometimes have thinner, sensitive skin, which when burned can be extremely painful and cause severe injuries. Assisted living facilities that do not have enough staff to monitor residents while bathing should, at a minimum, ensure that a device is installed that automatically shuts off the water before it reaches a certain temperature to prevent this.
Some other examples of potential burn hazards include:
- overheated food or drinks
- hot water spills
- Closely positioning residents to a heating source
Furthermore, many assisted living facilities and nursing homes still allow its residents to smoke indoors as long as they smoke in pre-designated areas. Allowing smoking in private apartments or in nursing homes is putting patients at greater risk for health issues and fire safety problems. Even if the nursing home has regulations in place, it is important to enforce these regulations, otherwise a nursing home may be liable for any injury of death that occurs.
When residents suffer life-altering or fatal burn injuries due to nursing home negligence or abuse, families may seek justice to hold wrongdoers accountable. Nursing home lawsuits not only help victims seek compensation for the harms caused to them, they also send a message to facilities that abuse and neglect will not go unnoticed.
If you or someone who is close to you has been burned or injured in a nursing home related accident in Nebraska or Western Iowa, call Burnett Wilson Law at (402) 810-8611 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.