Are Nursing Homes Liable For Lost Hearing Aids?
As people get older, they often start to lose their hearing, which is a vital sense. Some seniors manage to get by with a lower level of hearing, while others choose to get a hearing aid. Hearing aids are expensive, and they are also customized to the wearer’s needs. When someone is in a nursing home and they lose their hearing aids, it is natural to wonder if you can hold the nursing home liable for the loss. Technically, the answer is yes, but the full answer is much more nuanced.
Hearing Loss Leads to Accidents and Injuries
Lost hearing aids do not just impact a resident’s ability to hear what is going on around them. The connection between a person’s hearing and their own safety and well-being, particularly as people age, has been extensively documented over the years. When a senior cannot hear, they are more likely to be involved in accidents and sustain injuries as a result. The most common accidents caused by poor hearing include:
- Falls: According to the John Hopkins School of Medicine, seniors suffering from even minor hearing loss are three times more likely to fall than people that do not have any hearing loss.
- Medication errors: Good communication is an essential part of healthcare. When seniors cannot hear properly, they may not know what type of medication they are taking, if they have already taken it, or if they need to take it.
- Neglect and abuse: When a senior cannot hear properly, they are more susceptible to abuse and neglect. They may not be as able to respond to their caregivers, or voice their needs. This can frustrate staff members in the nursing homes, which can result in neglect and abuse.
Most nursing home abuse lawsuits that involve lost hearing aids focus on one of the above accidents that resulted in injuries.
What is the Nursing Home’s Responsibility when it Comes to Hearing Aids?
Nursing homes are expected to uphold the rights of residents to retain their own belongings and possessions. However, they also have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care to ensure a resident’s possessions do not become lost or stolen.
The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 gives residents the right to keep their own personal belongings. To uphold this right, nursing homes must ensure residents are in an environment in which their possessions will not be stolen or lost. The Federal Register also requires nursing homes to exercise reasonable care to ensure a resident’s belongings are not stolen or lost.
Due to these legal regulations, it is possible to sue a nursing home for lost hearing aids. However, before filing, you must consider whether a lawsuit is worthwhile. If a lack of hearing aids caused your loved one to become involved in an accident that resulted in injuries, you likely have a valid case. On the other hand, if your loved one only lost their hearing aids without injury, the cost of a trial or filing a personal injury claim may greatly outweigh the cost of the lost hearing aids and so, may not be as worthwhile.
Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Tampa Can Advise on Your Case
If your loved one has lost their hearing aids in a nursing home facility, it is important to speak to our Tampa nursing home abuse/neglect lawyer at Kohn Law, particularly if they became injured as a result. Call us today at 813-428-8504 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation so we can review your case.