New Mexico Nursing Home Negligent Security Lawyers
Protecting Nursing Home Residents from Careless Administrators and Staff
Nursing home facilities have a higher duty to keep residents safe than other property owners owe to their tenants and visitors. The declining health of an elderly individual makes them more frail, prone to infection, and unable to defend themselves in a violent crime. Maximizing their safety should be the top priority of nursing home staff and administrators, and when they fail to do so they put our loved ones and elders at risk.
If inadequate security measures led to a loved one’s injuries, make sure to contact the nursing home attorneys at Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP. Even before we take a client on, we provide free consultations to help you understand if you have a case. Call us at (903) 290-1774 to begin a thorough review of your claim.
What Are Some Security Risks to Older People in Nursing Homes?
Older individuals are especially at risk of being the victim of a violent crime, such as assault or rape, or theft. If a nursing home is located in an area that has a high crime rate, then the manager and staff should keep the facility secure against criminal activity. This can include properly screening visitors, requiring security personal to perform regular patrols, and limiting free access to residents’ rooms to guests, family members, and staff. The perpetrator may also be another resident with a history of violent crimes. If the nursing home did not perform a proper background check, they could be liable for any injuries that resident causes.
But crime is not the only security risk that nursing home residents face. Older people, particularly those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, may be vulnerable to other dangers, including:
- Wandering and elopement: Nursing home residents who are cognitively impaired may wander about inside the facility with no appreciation of personal safety (wandering) or leave the facility, unsupervised and unnoticed, putting themselves in harm’s way (elopement). If they get lost or injured during severe weather conditions, they may develop infections, get lost, or suffer another type of injury, such as a pedestrian accident.
- Slip and fall accidents: Every year in the U.S., millions of people age 65 and older suffer a fall, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One out of five falls causes serious injury, such as head trauma or bone fractures. When nursing homes allow residents to wander out of a facility without proper supervision, they put them at high risk for a slip and fall.
- Abuse: When nursing home staff are not thoroughly vetted and adequate security measures are not in place, those members may abuse residents. Abuse can occur in the form of violent assaults, emotional abuse, sexual assault, or financial exploitation.
What Are the Elements of a Negligent Security Claim?
- The nursing home facility owed your elderly loved one a duty of care: Nursing homes are responsible for protecting their residents, employees, visitors, and lawful guests from foreseeable assaults and crimes.
- The nursing home breached that duty: Locking exterior doors, hiring the proper amount of security staff, and reporting all crimes that occur to the proper authorities are all steps that a nursing home can take to ensure their residents are safe. When they fail to take these measures, they can cause a breach of duty.
- Nursing home negligent security caused your elderly loved one harm: To recover compensation from the nursing home for negligent security, you must show that your loved one was injured or suffered harm.
- Adequate security would have prevented the incident that harmed your elderly loved one: If the nursing home had proper security measures in place to prevent foreseeable harm, the nursing home may be held liable.
Foreseeability is an essential aspect of a nursing home negligent security claim. However, it can mean different things in different situations. Adequate security measures in one nursing home environment may not be sufficient in another facility with a higher risk of crime. Each nursing home is required to provide the proper standard of care for each situation, which may mean improving security protocols and providing stricter background checks.
What Safety Procedures Should Nursing Homes Follow to Protect Residents?
With advances in technology, nursing homes can now provide greater security for residents, staff, and visitors. Safety measures long-term care facilities should take include:
- Performing thorough background checks on prospective employees
- Installing cameras in entrances and security systems to alert staff when anyone comes or goes
- Using light beams to guard hallways and exits that alert staff when a resident goes through a beam
- Reporting abusive behavior of staff members
If your loved one has been injured or harmed through negligent security in a nursing home, contact our New Mexico nursing home abuse lawyers at Sorey, Gilliland & Hull, LLP at (903) 290-1774 to schedule a free consultation. We can tell you if you have a nursing home negligent security case, and what damages you may be entitled to claim.