A Jacksonville nursing home that our firm has sued on two occasions for causing the death of elderly residents has made the news for another death. As reported by Jacksonville’s Channel Four News , a resident at the Harts Harbor Health Care Center was hit in the head by another resident wielding a dresser drawer. The resident that struck him is reportedly suffers from dementia.
The victim suffered a very serious intracranial hematoma that required surgery. Tragically, approximately three weeks after the incident, the man passed. He was only 61 years old.
Nursing homes must be on the lookout for resident on resident violence, especially with residents suffering from dementia. While some people suffering from dementia are very pleasant, others may exhibit aggressive behavior. Such behavior can be very uncharacteristic of the how the person acted before the onset of dementia. Depending on the degree of dementia at issue, the person may not even be aware of the nature of his or her actions.
In cases like this, the nursing home must closely monitor the behavior of its residents suffering from dementia. Often, aggressiveness caused by dementia will escalate over time, which may provide the nursing home the opportunity to catch the behavior before serious injuries occur. An aggressive resident may not be a good fit in a nursing home environment, and, if other residents’ safety is being compromised, the aggressive resident must be placed elsewhere.
Resident on resident violence is a serious problem in nursing homes. Several years back, a plaintiff received a judgment for $750,000.00 against a Jacksonville nursing home when a female resident was raped by another resident who had a long history of sexual misconduct. Unfortunately, that judgment was never paid because shortly after the hard fought judment was received, the nursing home was transferred to new operators and the former company that owned was left essentially insolvent.
In this situation, it is unknown whether the aggressor had prior issues with violent behavior. If that person demonstrated aggression or violence in the past, and the nursing home did nothing to prevent other residents from being assaulted, then Florida law will allow family members to seek a recovery for their emotional losses.
This incident has been reported to Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), which oversees skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes in the state. AHCA has previously fined this facility for insufficiencies regarding safety and resident care.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Five Star Rating system, Harts Harbor Health Care Center has an overall rating of four stars; however, it has only two out of five stars on “quality measures.” Quality measures track things like: the prevalence of bed sores or pressure ulcers; the frequency that residents are injured in falls; the number of residents that report the onset of pain; and the rate of infections.
Both of the lawsuits our firm has handled against the Harts Harbor nursing home also resulted from the death of residents. One action is currently pending. Continue reading