Personal Injury Lawyer
When people think of hospices, it is generally with a sense of sadness and poignancy. Although a terminally ill patient’s life is ending, hospice care is available to provide comfort, rather than aggressive treatment, in their final days. Almost two million patients receive services from hospices in the United States each year. And while this type of care is praised by many, there are patients all across the country who are suffering from neglect and dying without dignity from a lack of care that prudent organizations should be providing.
Unfortunately, more and more stories are surfacing from distraught families who have lost loved ones under these circumstances. If your loved one has been a victim of neglect under hospice care at home or in an inpatient facility, contact a compassionate personal injury attorney who can fight for the dignity your loved one deserved.
Hospice care is designed to provide routine palliative home care or inpatient care in a facility. Continuous care should be provided in the event of a medical crisis. The aim is to place the patient and family at the center with the hospice team based around them. Generally, the patient’s primary care physician is seen to be essentially ‘out of the loop’ from day to day operations while the hospice doctor and nurses take over.
Some would say the hospice doctor is only very loosely involved in caring for the patient leading to one pitfall of the whole idea of attentive care. Sick patients should not be seen as a ‘lost cause’ because they have an incurable disease, but rather as patients worthy of the appropriate standards of care- despite their circumstances.
Neglected and Suffering
The most disturbing cases of neglect being reported by families are occurring in instances where an emergency situation arises. Hospice care at home or in a facility needs to be monitored in a sustained manner. These are often the circumstances where patients are left suffering and die soon after. With close to 67 percent of hospice services taking place in the patient’s home, it is clear to see how many people are potentially being neglected.
Some offending hospice care providers are trying to provide only the most basic routine care as they do not want to incur the costs of ‘round the clock’ continuous care. This raises concerns over costs, understaffing, and the lack of adequately trained staff. This profit-driven industry is operating at the disadvantage of terminally ill patients and vulnerable and grieving families.
So, with the knowledge that under the radar, people are suffering, how does a family go about choosing a safe, reputable hospice care provider? Unfortunately, although there has been a surge in the numbers of organizations over the past decade, governmental regulation has failed to keep up, so choosing an organization has essentially been by word of mouth.
And much like any other referral, not everyone’s experience is the same. Reporting requirements and inspections occur so infrequently, how can families be assured of the best care?
If your family member has received inadequate care from a hospice provider and their death came about sooner than expected or there was prolonged suffering and the absence of the necessary palliative care, you should investigate your legal options. Although the death of your loved one may have been inevitable, the circumstances leading up to their passing are crucial, especially if the standard of care delivered fell below what is reasonably expected. Speak to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer Salt Lake City, UT relies on to find out what legal recourse you may have.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into medical malpractice and patient neglect.