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Wrongful death lawsuit could follow fall at nursing home

Families in New Jersey expect that nursing home facilities will provide appropriate care of their loved ones. However, appropriate care does not simply encompass providing treatment, medication and food, but it also involves taking measures to prevent falls. Unfortunately, one out-of-state facility has recently received a citation for neglect in a case that could ultimately lead to a wrongful death claim.

The incident happened in May 2016 and involved a woman who was suffering from generalized weakness, Alzheimer's and sensory difficulties. On the day after she was admitted to the facility, the woman was evaluated by a physical therapist who determined that a staff member should have a hand on the woman when she walked due to her risk for a fall. However, later that same day, multiple staff members reportedly watched the woman walking with a walker without assistance.

They soon heard an alarm indicating that the front door had been opened. It was later determined that the woman's walker had become entangled in the door frame, causing her to fall. She was transported to the hospital, suffering from fractures to her face. Because of her condition, her family opted for comfort care. She passed away two days after the fall.

Reports indicate that the nursing home facility immediately made changes to ensure that similar incidents are not repeated. While such changes are necessary, they will likely do little to help the family of the deceased woman cope with the news of her unexpected and preventable death. As in all cases of wrongful death, surviving family members have the option of seeking recourse in a civil course.  An attorney with experience with such cases can help victims in New Jersey fully understand their options.

Source:, "Neglect found in nursing home resident's death", John Lundy, Feb. 1, 2017

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