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Nursing Home Negligence: Ignoring a Stroke

nursing home neglect

On occasion, nursing home staff are neglectful towards patients and residents.  This can lead to the staff ignoring a stroke, leading to serious consequences.

On occasion, nursing home staff are neglectful towards patients and residents. This can lead to the caregivers ignoring a stroke, resulting in serious consequences. 

Elderly family members are often admitted to nursing homes because they are recovering from a stroke. It’s difficult to continue supporting a family in any capacity when a member needs constant supervision and care. Nursing homes were created with this in mind, and their goal is to provide excellent care for patients who cannot be attended to by their families for whatever reason. 

However, nursing homes can be severely understaffed or employ workers who neglect to use proper patient care and observation procedures. In this post, we will discuss how it could be considered medical malpractice when nursing home staff ignore a patient’s stroke.

Suffering a Stroke Requires a Crucial Rehabilitation Process

After a stroke, the patient must receive immediate care within what is known as the Golden Hour (and Platinum Half-Hour). If they are not treated right away, many patients suffer lifelong consequences. Following an initial stroke, victims must be watched carefully around the clock since there is a significant chance they could suffer another one in the near future.  

When a person has a stroke, they are often taken to a hospital, then put in a nursing home for monitoring and rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is also a vital aspect of many post-illness lifestyles. Since most families are unable to provide the kind of experienced and constant medical care at home, they take the option of putting their family member’s life into the hands of nursing home employees. 

During this crucial time, you should be able to trust the nursing home staff fully with your loved one’s care. When the signs of a new stroke are ignored, the patient may become much sicker or die. You and your family may wonder how this could happen and what you can do to seek justice from those to blame. 

Strokes Cannot Be Ignored

A major event such as a stroke can’t simply be ignored by medical staff. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked in emergency rooms and nursing homes. There are several reasons why someone experiencing a stroke may be ignored.  

The first reason is that their symptoms are downplayed rather than taken seriously. Common stroke symptoms include dizziness, weakness, fatigue, and headache.  However, instead of being clear indicators of stroke, these can also appear when the patient is suffering something much more benign, such as dehydration. In any circumstance, medical providers should take these signs very seriously. Otherwise, the person could suffer more extreme conditions, such as partial body paralyzation. This kind of blatant patient disregard is a form of medical negligence. 

Another reason a stroke victim could be ignored is out of pure laziness or inhuman disinterest. Further, they may not have the time, training, or understanding of what is happening to care for a stroke victim correctly. When this occurs, you must seek justice.  You and your family do not have to suffer financially and emotionally due to someone else’s mistake.

How to Take Action Against Nursing Home Negligence

If you feel your family member has suffered neglect in their nursing home and potentially had a stroke, you must act quickly. You should get them the medical care they need to fight for their health and notify the authorities to hold the liable parties accountable.

You can start by calling your local police. Dialing 911 provides your loved one with emergency care, especially if the nursing facility is short-staffed. In addition to getting an ambulance, police can investigate the scene and interview staff members to develop their official reports. 

You can turn to government agencies for further help. The U.S. Administration on Aging maintains a valuable service called Eldercare Locator, which provides details about patient rights, support services, and other resources to protect the safety of your loved one. For additional government aid, you can contact Medicare and Medicaid to report the facility for neglect. 

Finally, once your loved one is safely away from harm, you can seek legal action against the nursing home facility, its administrators, and at-fault staff members. To do so, you should rely on experienced and compassionate lawyers from a firm with a long record of defending those who have suffered at the hands of others. You could be entitled to financial compensation for your family member’s medical expenses and emotional distress.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Home Negligence and Strokes

Our nursing home negligence attorneys have handled thousands of cases like yours. These are some of the most common questions and concerns we hear from our clients.

What is a Stroke and How Does One Happen?

Strokes happen when the blood supply is cut off to a part of the brain. Without sufficient blood and oxygen, that area will stop working, which affects the body part or system controlled by that section of the brain. Strokes are commonly called cerebrovascular accidents (CVAs).

Patients may suffer three kinds of stroke:

  • Ischemic stroke: This involves a loss of blood flow to any part of the brain. Up to 80% of all strokes are ischemic and are caused by clogged blood vessels. These strokes are often preceded by transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs (see below).  
  • Hemorrhagic stroke: When blood vessels in the brain are weakened or rupture, they can cause bleeding within the brain itself. These can result from arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) or aneurysms. 
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA): Sometimes called a mini-stroke or a warning stroke, these can happen days, weeks, or months prior to an ischemic stroke. They occur when a blood vessel is blocked temporarily. 

What Are the Warning Signs of a Stroke?

The most common signs of an ischemic stroke include:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Dizziness
  • Drooping and weakness in the facial muscles, especially on one side
  • Headaches
  • Weakness in the arms and legs

Hemorrhagic stroke victims often complain of headaches, nausea, and vomiting. They also experience stiffness in the neck, sudden changes in their mental state, lethargy, and seizures. Patients may suffer a hemorrhagic stroke while engaging in normal everyday activities or physical activity. These attacks usually occur during the day, and the symptoms can come on very quickly, increasing over the following hours. 

When someone has a TIA or mini-stroke, their symptoms may resemble those of an ischemic stroke but be much less severe. TIAs usually happen very fast and are over in 10-20 minutes. Many patients describe the feeling of having a shade pulled down over their eyes during the attack. TIAs usually precede a much more damaging stroke event that could cause significant loss of function or even death.

What Should You Do if You Suspect Another Person Is Having a Stroke?

If the person is at home or in public, you should call 911 and get medical help on the way. In the meantime, you can observe the victim and help them be safe and comfortable so they don’t hurt themselves. Check for stroke symptoms using the FAST technique:

  • Face: Look at their face and ask them to smile, noting if one side of their face droops.
  • Arms: Have the person raise both arms and see if one arm drifts downward involuntarily.
  • Speech: Ask them to say a simple phrase to you or ask them an easy question, such as what day it is. Notice if they have trouble answering, sound slurred, or cannot find the right words. 
  • Time: If they display any symptoms of a stroke, call 911 immediately—every minute counts.

Within a nursing home environment, staff should be ever watchful for stroke symptoms among their patients, especially if the person has already suffered one. Normal interactions with residents should allow providers to monitor patients regularly and call for a doctor if they suspect a stroke. 

When medical providers overlook obvious signs for any reason, such as unexplained paralysis on one side of a patient’s body, they should immediately have the person examined. Failing to do so could be the basis of a medical malpractice claim for nursing home negligence.

How Harmful Is a Stroke?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports strokes as the third leading cause of death for Americans, with over 3,400 deaths occurring in Maryland alone. In the last reporting year, approximately 460,000 people lost their lives to a stroke incident in the United States, according to the American Heart Association

Those who do not pass away from their stroke are often left with new or worsened health conditions, such as loss of mobility, paralysis, blurred vision, loss of hearing, inability to speak, or issues with coordination. These issues are often permanent and may severely shorten the life and recovery prospects of nursing home patients. 

Why Do Nursing Home Staff Miss the Signs of a Stroke?

The American Healthcare Association reports that up to 86% of nursing homes are experiencing moderate to severe shortages in their staff numbers, and 96% say they cannot find enough trained people to hire. This means there may not be enough people to monitor all patients adequately. It also means that the people who are responsible for caring for your loved one could be under or unqualified to do so.

As our population ages, more people go into nursing homes every year, putting an increased patient load on decreasing staff rosters. It’s a combination that raises the chance for negligence and malpractice as workers cut corners trying to look after every patient. Nursing home residents may be left unattended for hours at a time, making it easy to ignore or miss the signs of a TIA, ischemic, or hemorrhagic stroke. 

What Are Some Signs of Neglect in a Nursing Home?

Whether your loved one has suffered a stroke before entering the nursing home or is at risk of one after they are there, you may notice other signs that indicate the potential for neglect. These can include:

Disorientation, confusion, or unusual drowsiness 

If your loved one is usually alert and mobile, they could have experienced a stroke if they suddenly seem confused about who or where they are. They may sleep more than in the past. While some symptoms like this could be due to other diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia, your family member could also have been improperly medicated. 

The sudden occurrence of these changes should be a red flag that the patient could have been neglected or suffered an undiagnosed stroke event.

Incontinence and a Decrease in Personal Hygiene

Many people develop incontinence as a result of aging or deteriorating medical conditions. However, if your family member unexpectedly stops being able to control their bladder or bowels or stops tending to their personal grooming, it could be a warning sign that they may have suffered a stroke.

These symptoms could also indicate a lack of attention from staff. Other indicators include skin sores, rashes, or other irritation. Wearing the same clothes multiple days, being unassisted for the bathroom or other activities, and generally being left unattended can also have serious psychological effects on your family member. 

Physical Changes

Stroke patients may be unable to chew or swallow correctly, leading to breathing issues or even asphyxiation. They could lose weight unexpectedly since they can no longer eat or drink well. When you notice your family member experiencing problems chewing, swallowing, or drooling, they could have suffered a TIA or more severe stroke.

Likewise, if a formerly mobile patient is no longer able to walk independently or struggles with using one arm or leg, the staff may have neglected the signs of a stroke or other sudden complication. 

When You Need Justice for Nursing Home Negligence, Call the Snyder Law Group 

The Snyder Law Group, LLC, proudly represents clients throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C., in cases where patients have been harmed by nursing home staff who neglected to provide proper care or recognize the symptoms of a stroke. We are familiar with the stress and frustration you may feel when dealing with insurance companies and medical providers trying to escape the consequences of their careless behavior.

You can take heart in knowing our talented and experienced lawyers are ready to work for you. We are experienced in all aspects of medical malpractice claims, as well as other personal injury concerns. We have secured hundreds of millions in verdicts and settlements*. 

Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation and learn more about your options with our team. Please visit our website,, for more information and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and LinkedIn.

Call 410-THE-FIRM. Don't just sue them. SNYDER THEM

This entry was posted on Sunday, June 25th, 2023 at 6:27 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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