In the UK, the healthcare system has a reputation for generally providing a high standard of care and, as part of this, care and nursing homes provide an invaluable service for vulnerable and elderly individuals across the country. The majority of people with relatives in a nursing home would expect their relations to always receive high quality care and have access to constant medical assistance and treatment when it is required. However, this is not always the case. The healthcare professionals working in these homes are only human and mistakes can be made. It is never easy to witness a loved one suffering, especially if it is the fault of those to whom their care and well being has been entrusted. In these situations it is possible to claim medical negligence compensation from the nursing or care home responsible.
Nursing homes – their duty of care
When a relative is admitted to a nursing home, the staff of that home enter into a contract to provide the best possible care for that relative. They are therefore legally required to follow certain procedures and provide a high standard duty of care. Medical, sometimes know as clinical negligence, can be defined as behaviour or conduct that falls below a certain standard of care that would normally be expected in a similar set of circumstances.
Reasons for compensation claims against care homes
Although it is a fairly broad term, within a nursing home, negligence may include neglect and abuse, delays in medication or hospital referrals, medication errors such as incorrect drug, dose or patient, or inadequate patient supervision and assistance.
This type of negligent care can often lead to visible changes and symptoms such as;
- sudden changes in character
- weight loss
- bed sores,
- or appearance of physical injuries such as cuts, grazes or bruising.
Claiming compensation – first steps
Medical negligence claims can be complex and may take a long time to reach conclusion. If you think that a relative has suffered as a result of negligent care at their nursing or care home, it is important to seek legal advice in the form of a specialist medical negligence solicitor. A medical negligence solicitor will be able to help advise you as to the procedures and next steps you will need to take, as well as any evidence, documentation or expert medical witnesses you will require.
Proving medical negligence
In order to claim medical negligence compensation against a home you will need to prove that the home responsible owed a duty of care towards the patient and that they failed to maintain the required standard of care, leading to patient suffering. It is therefore important to keep a record of any incidents which may indicate negligence has taken place, including any indicators or appearance of symptoms such as those mentioned above. There are also time limits involved with making a medical negligence claim, so it is advisable to speak to a solicitor and start the claims process as soon as you are aware of any negligent care. The majority of medical negligence claims should be made within three years of becoming aware of that negligence.
A claim against medical negligence from a nursing or care home will provide compensation for physical or psychological injury caused, loss of earnings, rehabilitation costs and other expenses, including private medical expenditure. Although compensation will not always be able to erase the suffering of the patient or those who witnessed it, it may go a long way to help provide support and care for the future, and if you find yourself in a situation where a relative has suffered from negligent care it is always advisable to seek the guidance of a solicitor to help you understand the next steps you need to make in moving forward with resolving the situation.
Thinking of a medical negligence claim from a nursing or care home? Call us now
If you think you have a claim from a nursing or care home, contact us now – for FREE initial telephone advice and a FREE first appointment from our accredited medical negligence experts;
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