Are Nursing Homes Liable for Resident Suicide?
Nursing homes must take reasonable and appropriate steps to prevent self-harm and suicides among their patients. Tragically, suicide is more common in nursing homes than many people think. If a resident of a nursing home commits suicide while in the nursing home’s care, staff members, administrators, and owners may be held liable in some cases. However, this is not always the case. Below, our Tampa patient suicide attorney outlines when you can file a claim against a nursing home.
Was the Resident’s Suicide Attempt Foreseeable?
When a reasonable person would have foreseen the suicide, nursing homes should use safeguards to try and prevent it. On the other hand, if the suicide could not have been expected, it can be difficult to hold the nursing home liable.
For example, if a patient was admitted into the facility due to previous suicide attempts, the staff should reasonably foresee another attempt. Conversely, if a resident was admitted due to limited mobility and did not show signs of suicidal behavior or depression, it is not as easy to foresee the risk of a suicide attempt.
Could the Facility Have Prevented the Suicide?
Just like when people become harmed in other ways, such as car accidents, the question of liability always lies in whether another person or entity could have stopped it. With nursing home resident suicide, it must be questioned whether the facility could have prevented it from happening. This requires more than just determining whether the suicide attempt was foreseeable.
For example, a nursing home resident may have a history of overmedicating themselves. In this instance, the facility should control, manage, and administer certain prescriptions only when necessary. If a staff member left the entire bottle of medication in the resident’s room, that is not taking the proper steps to prevent a suicide attempt, or even an accidental overdose.
How Nursing Homes Should Prevent Suicide
Although it is impossible to prevent all suicides from occurring, there are steps nursing home staff members should take to try and stop harm to their patients. These are as follows:
- Supervise residents who are at a higher risk of a suicide attempt
- Monitor prescriptions and other medications to prevent an intentional or accidental overdose
- Make sure new residents are properly acclimated to the facility and to the community
- Recognize the signs of depression and obtain the appropriate help for any residents showing symptoms
- Take immediate action when suicide notes are found or when it is suspected that a suicide attempt is imminent
When nursing homes do not take the necessary steps to prevent any type of harm to their patients, they can be held liable for their inaction.
Our Patient Suicide Attorney in Tampa Can Help During this Difficult Time
Losing a loved one is always difficult. When the death was sudden and unexpected, and the result of another person’s negligence, it is even harder to move past it. At Kohn Law, our Tampa patient suicide attorney knows what a difficult time your family is going through. We can help you file a claim for any loss caused by the death and handle all the legal aspects of your case while you and your family mourn the loss. Call us now at 813-428-8504 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.