Failure to Seek Proper Medical Evaluation & Treatment for Nursing Home Residents
Without Appropriate Evaluations, Serious Health Effects Can Occur
Nursing home residents are entitled to attentive, thorough, and appropriate medical evaluations and treatment when needed. Proper medical evaluation includes tests for the purpose of diagnosis, as well as referrals to specialists for further evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment if necessary. The failure to seek proper medical evaluation and treatment can be serious and even fatal.
Avoiding Missed & Delayed Diagnosis
A missed, delayed, or incorrect diagnosis can prevent proper medical treatment and impede or prolong the recovery process if a resident is fighting an illness. Some common outcomes of failing to refer a nursing home resident to a specialist or perform appropriate tests include:
- Deterioration in health during the time when the resident should have been seen by a specialist
- Additional suffering and discomfort arising from the untreated or improperly treated condition
- Increased recovery time and medical bills
- Loss of quality of life
One of the first indicators that something is wrong or a condition may have worsened is pain. However, pain itself is often overlooked and untreated among nursing home residents. Nursing home staff may fail to notice subtle changes in a resident’s behavior, or miss symptoms entirely if a resident does not, or is not able to, vocalize his or her pain. Residents who cannot speak or communicate effectively may experience difficulty expressing their pain sufficiently to staff, resulting in neglected pain.
Constant pain and feelings of futility reduce quality of life and pose serious health risks, in addition to the health risks associated with the underlying condition. Watch for symptoms of pain in order to properly treat the pain and to obtain a full medical evaluation to identify any latent problems. Signs of pain include facial expressions indicating discomfort or sadness, rigidness, unexplained fear or anger, and crying out unexpectedly.
If you alert nursing home staff to any of the above symptoms, and no action is taken to evaluate, treat, or diagnose the cause of pain, you need to seek out help for your loved one. An untreated medical condition can take years off of a person’s life, and imbue any remaining years with sadness and discomfort.
Contact Us for Help after a Failure to Obtain a Medical Evaluation
It is the responsibility of nursing homes to obtain appropriate medical evaluations and treatment for residents. If your loved one suffered because of failure to seek a proper medical evaluation or treatment, please contact O’Brien Batten & Kirtley, PLLC to schedule a free initial consultation.