How Poor Hiring Practices Put Nursing Home Residents in Danger

stack of resumes on deskWhen nursing homes fail to do their due diligence in the hiring process, they put residents at greater risk of neglect and abuse. They may hire people with criminal records or a history of physically or emotionally harming nursing home residents.

If you have an elderly loved one living at a nursing home and he or she suffered physical or emotional harm, it might be because of poor hiring practices. The experienced New Mexico nursing home abuse lawyers at PKSD New Mexico know how to uncover negligent hiring practices that put your loved one at risk of harm.

Contact our firm to review what happened to your loved one and find out how we may be able to help you pursue legal action. We know legal action does not undo what happened, but it can hold negligent parties accountable and provide compensation for the damages suffered.

PKSD New Mexico. No Upfront Costs or Legal Options. Call us at 505-677-7777 .

Consequences of Negligent Hiring at Nursing Homes

Negligent hiring means failing to take the reasonable and necessary steps to properly vet potential employees to ensure you are hiring people who are competent and qualified. In a nursing home setting, those making hiring decisions need to conduct thorough background checks to avoid hiring people who may be more likely to hurt or neglect residents.

When nursing homes cut corners and do a poor job vetting potential employees, it can have a variety of consequences for residents. Unqualified employees may:

  • Fail to respond appropriately to emergency situations, such as a clogged breathing tube
  • Fail to properly administer medication
  • Verbally abuse residents
  • Neglect residents’ basic needs, such as nutrition and personal hygiene
  • Physically abuse residents, such as by being too rough when helping them transfer
  • Choose not to respond to a resident’s calls for help, which could result in falls that cause severe injuries
  • Use physical or chemical restraints without a valid reason, such as to socially isolate or punish a resident
  • Fail to recognize symptoms of distress or declining health, which cold lead to a preventable medical emergency
  • Fail to move a patient often enough, resulting in pressure sores

These are some of the many examples of abuse and neglect that may result from poor hiring practices at nursing homes. The consequences for residents can be fatal, such as when staff members fail to respond appropriately to a medical emergency.

Even if residents do not suffer fatal injuries, their injuries are often serious, and this can negatively impact their quality of life. Residents may experience depression, anxiety and social withdrawal. Under the Nursing Home Reform Act, nursing homes have a responsibility to take steps to ensure the health and well-being of the residents under their care.

Common Examples of Poor Hiring Practices in Nursing Homes

There are many examples of poor hiring practices at nursing homes.

Inadequate Background Check/Reference Check

One of the most common is the failure to do a comprehensive background check for prospective staff members. This could lead to employing people who have a history of criminal activity, such as abuse of nursing home residents.

Nursing homes should not only look for a criminal record but also check potential employees’ references. Sometimes a conversation with a reference reveals that someone was previously dismissed from a nursing home for some type of misconduct.

Another type of negligent hiring practice is failure to verify an applicant’s credentials. If someone is going to be a nurse or caregiver, facilities need to make sure that person has the proper credentials. Otherwise, this person may not be able to properly care for residents, resulting in neglect.

Unfortunately, cutting corners in the hiring process is often a response to staffing shortages. Nursing homes struggle to find qualified staff, so they ignore criminal activity or past abuse of nursing home residents.

Failure to Verify Credentials

Additionally, some facilities may neglect to verify the credentials or experience of applicants or to follow up on references. This can result in hiring people who lack the requisite skills or knowledge to administer proper care to residents, potentially leading to medication errors, inadequate treatment of an injury or failure to respond to dangerous situations.

Inadequate Training and Supervision

Nursing homes may not provide employees with the training they need to properly care for residents. This can include training on topics such as resident rights, abuse prevention and infection control. Without proper training, employees may not be aware of the standards of care that they are expected to meet. This can result in significant neglect of even the most basic needs.

While no employee is going to be perfect, nursing homes need to investigate grievances against staff members. This helps put a stop to negligent behavior that endangers residents. If nursing homes fail to investigate complaints and correct negligent behaviors, this sends a signal that these behaviors are acceptable.

Sometimes administrators do not know about negligent or abusive conduct because of a failure to properly supervise employees. This leads staffers to feel they can abuse or neglect residents because no one is going to find out about it.

How Residents and Families Can Protect Themselves

Residents and their families are essential in maintaining their safety and well-being in nursing homes. Here are some steps they can take to protect against negligent hiring practices:

  • Research and choose a nursing home carefully: Before deciding on a nursing home, visit several nursing homes and observe the staff’s interactions with residents. Talk to current residents and their families about their experiences. Research the nursing home’s history of abuse and neglect citations and ensure they have rigorous hiring practices.
  • Review the nursing home’s policies and procedures: Request a copy of the nursing home’s policies and procedures for hiring and training staff. Ensure they have a comprehensive process for screening candidates, including thorough background checks and reference checks.
  • Trust your instincts: If you are uncomfortable with a particular facility or staff member, trust your instincts and consider other options. It is important to feel confident in the care your loved one is receiving.
  • Report any concerns: Should you suspect any form of abuse or neglect, it is imperative that you report it without delay to the nursing home administration, the state licensing agency, and the ombudsman.

Contact Our Experienced Attorneys to Discuss Your Nursing Home Case

Nursing homes are obligated to hire qualified staff members who can provide the care residents need. While there is no way to predict what staff members are going to do, due diligence in the hiring process can help protect residents from being mistreated by unqualified or abusive employees.

When nursing homes fail to hire qualified staff members and residents suffer injuries, they should be held accountable. For decades, the attorneys at PKSD New Mexico have been advocating for nursing home residents, securing significant compensation for their damages.

We take these types of cases on contingency, so there are no upfront costs to victims or their families. We do not get paid unless our clients receive compensation.

Contact an experienced attorney from PKSD New Mexico today: 505-677-7777 .

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