In nursing homes, negligence takes many forms. Maybe a staff member doesn't read a form correctly and gives someone the wrong medication. Maybe communication skills are poor and so no one takes care of a certain patient, with two staff members each thinking the other one is doing it. Maybe a nurse gets busy and forgets a resident in their room when it's time for dinner.
There is no intent to cause harm in any of these cases. But that's still a very low standard of care, and residents deserve far better. A negligent staff can be just as dangerous as an actively abusive staff. In fact, many times, the only difference between the two is the intent. The outcome is the same.
With all of that in mind, it's important to consider the role that cellphones can play.
Now, this is probably not the first time that you have heard cellphones referred to as distractions. They come up a lot when people talk about risks on the road. A driver on a cellphone is just as dangerous as a drunk driver.
But they're not just driving distractions. They're distractions in all areas of life. In a nursing home, that can lead to negligence.
Take an example from a hospital setting, which shares many of the same characteristics. In one case, a nurse needed emergency help with a patient who was having respiratory distress. This person had a spinal cord injury, so the distress could have turned fatal.
To get help, the nurse called a rapid response team. They were on hand just for this sort of emergency. However, both of the nurses sitting at the desk were using their phones to check social media profiles, so they actually asked her to “hold on a minute” before coming to her aid.
That's an appalling story, but it shows you just how wrapped up people can get in their social media profiles and their smartphones. They start to feel like nothing else matters.
In a nursing home, the residents have emergency call buttons in their rooms. The nurse at the main station monitors these calls. If your loved one calls for aid after a fall or during a medical emergency — like a heart attack — you need to know that the nurse isn't just going on social media on his or her phone, ignoring the call. That's extreme negligence, but it does happen.
When it happens, if your loved one suffers serious injuries or even passes away, you need to know what next steps to take. Make sure you look into all of your legal options.