Every year, millions of Americans pass on in the comfort of their homes surrounded by family and loved ones courtesy of the available hospice care industry. Hospice caregivers are often staff of hospice facilities trained to provide as much comfort and care to the dying patient either in their homes or in hospice facilities.
The facilities themselves are meant to help ease the patient’s sufferings and their loved ones’ anguish. If the terminal patient’s loved ones choose the home option, they can either elect to have a staff who comes and goes or one with a live-in arrangement.
Hospices are meant to help the elderly, the terminal, and people close to the end of their lives. Yet, there have been reports of hospice care staff and facilities clearly treating their patients with disdain and indifference –a clear deviation from their stated job description.
A Washington Post article recently highlighted the horror that patients and their loved ones face and exposed the questionable hospice care tactics and the resulting painful death patients had to endure at their last moments.
If you have a loved one in hospice care, it’s time to pay attention to them and see if they are getting the care they deserve. The following are some of the common complaints of elder abuse that result in medical malpractice suits against the hospice care facilities and their staff.
When people sign up their loved ones for hospice care or a doctor refers a patient to hospice care, it’s not necessarily because they want them to die in relative comfort.
Sometimes, it is so that the patient can get the extra care they need in the form of increased nursing care and attention so that they can recover or at least become more comfortable.
There have been cases where doctors had to recommend hospice care to patients who needed more equipment, counseling, and nursing supervision that the hospital itself couldn’t provide, in the hopes that the patient would get better.
Hospice care staff should always know this and pay special attention to the patient. Ignoring the patient’s legitimate needs/requests, not keeping them comfortable, forgetting to give them their medications, and not paying proper attention to their hygiene is grounds for a lawsuit.
Wrong or Lacking Drug Administration
In the aforementioned Washington Post article, the writer cites multiple examples of different hospice care staff that didn’t provide pain medications to their patients, waited two days before getting the pain meds to the patient, and one that failed to administer pain meds to the patient until the patient passed on.
There’s also another instance of a hospice staff telling the loved one of a patient that she should administer the drugs herself. Upon administering, she found that the original labels of the medications had been removed, prompting the question of the possibility of a wrong medication.
Other major causes of malpractice lawsuits filed against hospice facilities include lacking crisis care facilities, short-staffed facilities, and failure to provide care. The good news is that not all hospice care facilities and service providers do this. In fact, some hospice staff consider their job a calling.
But for the few that provide less than standard care, filing a malpractice lawsuit can hopefully help send a message as well as ensure that elderly abuse doesn’t continue. Please remember that hospice care malpractice cases are often complex and may be difficult to prove.
You will require an expert eye to truly determine if there was a clear case of one or more of the above-listed complaints. If you want to pursue an elder abuse case, get in touch with an experienced elder abuse and hospice malpractice firm, such as Oros Risk.