Nursing home negligence could involve improper medication, malnutrition, dehydration, or failure to monitor. After Hurricane Katrina, when 139 residents lost their lives, nursing homes were also found negligent for failure to plan for a natural disaster, resulting in the filing of wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of victims and their families.
New York was listed as one of the top 10 states that could leave patients vulnerable in the event of a natural disaster. Nursing homes throughout the region and the state should be prepared in the event of an emergency to prevent the unnecessary loss of lives. A new study indicates that residents may be at risk.
According to a recent government report, the majority of nursing homes are underprepared to protect residents in the event of a tornado, flood, or hurricane. The emergency plans lacked specific steps such as coordination with local authorities, notification of relatives, and pinning name tags with a list of medications in the event of an evacuation.
While there are specific federal planning requirements, authorities do not believe that nursing homes are prepared in the event of a disaster, lacking relevant information to carry out a successful rescue. Many of the homes had tentative plans, but did not have the specific information or attention to detail. They were lacking emergency water resources, failed to training staff and, in general, did not have the ability to carry out any plans.
Failure to prepare for a disaster could leave nursing homes open to personal injury litigation and lawsuits in the event of an emergency. When a patient suffers a severe injury or death because of negligence, the family may be able to pursue compensation for pain and suffering and other personal and economic losses related to negligence.
Source: The Washington Post, “Report: Nursing homes unprepared for natural disasters,” Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, April 16, 2012