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Posted On June 21, 2021

When Nursing Homes Violate Advance Care Directives

Violation of advance care directives by nursing homes may result in reduced trust between the residents and caregivers. It may also inflict emotional and financial distress on residents and lead to potential lawsuits against the facility and staff members. Nursing homes should determine whether a new resident has an advance care directive. Nursing facilities have a legal duty to follow the resident’s directives.

Consequences of Violating Advance Care Directives

Mistrust between Residents and Caregivers

Nursing facilities promise to offer compassionate and quality medical care to residents. Consequently, residents hold these facilities in high regard. Failing to honor advance care directives erodes trust that the resident had for the institution and the caregivers. What’s more, ignoring advance care directives qualifies as abuse and may compromise the quality of care the patient gets. Nursing home staff members should seek clarification from the resident’s agent or family members when they can’t figure out what the resident really wants.

Exerting Unnecessary Financial Strain

Violating a resident’s advance care directives puts an undue financial burden on family members tasked with funding the resident’s medical care. Funding extra medical procedures could be costly, which may be against the wishes of the resident.

Causing Emotional Suffering

When nursing homes ignore advance care directives, they inflict emotional suffering on residents. A 2020-study by the American Journal of Managed Care found that 38 percent of residents with advance care directives that demanded limited care were receiving medical care discordant to their wishes. The study also found that violations, such as unwanted intensive care, resulted in emotional distress to the patients.

Communicating Properly

The resident issuing advance care directives should clearly communicate his or her treatment preferences to his or her agent, family members, and caregivers.  He or she should avail copies of the care directives to family members and caregivers in the nursing home. The resident should alsoexplain the underlying reasons for the treatment preferences.

Legal Liability

The law requires nursing homes to find out if incoming residents have advance care directives.  Residents can suffer injuries or get killed when nursing homes fail to develop care plans that suit each resident’s unique needs and directives. Nursing home neglect lawyers can review the resident’s medical reports and records to determine if his or her advance care directives were followed. They can then help the injured resident obtain maximum compensation by suing the liable parties.

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