Negligent Security in New York Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities
Property owners have a duty to protect residents of their buildings from foreseeable harm. They must maintain proper security in the form of adequate lighting, working locks and whatever surveillance is necessary to prevent residents from becoming crime victims at the hands of outside parties. Owners and operators of nursing homes bear a special responsibility to residents who are often ill, incapacitated or mentally disabled. In a nursing home, a door which has been left unlocked, or an inadequate check-in policy at front desk reception area can pose grave dangers to residents. A staff member may leave a kitchen door open during warm weather and forget to close it, exposing residents to rape, robbery, theft and assault by people who enter the building unlawfully and uninvited.
An absence of adequate staffing levels also creates a security risk. A crime may occur because no one was around to see that an intruder had entered the building or the room of a resident. Inadequate or unrepaired locks, lighting and security systems also pose hazards to residents. Staff may be improperly screened for mental health problems or criminal backgrounds.
One of the most serious nursing home security risks are posed by patients with Alzheimer’s who are prone to wander.
In one New York area nursing home, a resident died of exposure when she climbed out onto the roof and was not found until later that night. The door to the roof was supposed to be locked and equipped with an alarm that would sound every time the door was opened. Either the door was left unlocked or the alarm system had malfunctioned. The staff knew that the resident had a tendency to “go for walks,” but believed, quite wrongly, that she was incapable of climbing stairs. In fact, her family had placed her in a nursing home because of her wandering and their fear that she would harm herself.
Normally, nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s should be equipped with “wander-guards” on their ankles or wrists which trip an alarm if they leave their floors. At the very least, staff should perform frequent and regular bed checks to ensure that patients safely remain within their rooms. If a patient is found missing from a nursing home, staff must conduct an immediate full-scale search.
If you have a loved one who has been a victim of elder abuse in New York, please contact the personal injury attorneys at The Orlow Firm today.
Personal Injury Attorneys Representing Victims of Negligent Nursing Home Security in New York
Families who entrust the care of loved ones to nursing homes have a right to expect that they will be protected from attacks by intruders. They should also expect adequate staffing and security measures to keep residents from wandering outside the facility. If you have a loved one who has been injured due to negligent nursing home security, contact the Orlow firm. Our expert, experienced attorneys understand how faulty security can pose serious risks to the life and health of nursing home residents. Closely related to negligent security is negligent nursing home supervision.
Call (646) 647-3398 for a free consultation.