A nursing home neglect lawsuit has been filed in Montana against Evergreen Health and Rehabilitation following the death of a resident who fell at least four times during a 35-day stay. The family alleges that the Evergreen nursing home caused the death by failing to maintain adequate staffing levels and providing insufficient training.

>>INFORMATION: Nursing Home Staffing and Training Problems

On June 13, 2007, an 87 year old resident at the Evergreen Bozeman Health and Rehabilitation Center was found bleeding and unconscious after a fall, and she died of cerebral hemorrhage the following day. Her husband and their three children filed a lawsuit on July 23, 2008, through their nursing home lawyers at Waddell and Magam, in Bozeman, Montana.
 
During the course of her stay at the Evergreen nursing home, the family alleges that staffing levels dropped twice, which they claim was the primary cause of her death. Although the resident was a high risk for falls, the lawsuit alleges she was not assisted in going to the toilet because of staff shortages, and had to attempt to go on her own due to a lack of response to her multiple calls.

Insufficient staffing levels pose a substantial risk to residents at nursing homes throughout the United States. Current law requires at least one aid per 14 residents, but many consumers and advocacy groups have called for increased minimum staffing levels to protect residents. However, the nursing home industry has resisted increases in staffing due to the costs.

There are at least 58 Evergreen nursing homes throughout the West, including several in Montana, and they have faced multiple legal claims in recent years as staffing levels have dropped. The Montana Deptartment of Health and Human Services has also cited Evergreen Bozeman for several deficiencies in 2007, including leaving alone people who were known to be at risk of falls.

According to local news reports, in the Evergreen lawsuit filed, lawyers for the nursing home are attempting to argue that the family should be barred from suing their facility in court due to an arbitration agreement signed at the time she was admitted. Nursing home arbitration agreements are being required more and more frequently by facilities who want to deny injured and neglected residents the right to pursue their legal rights in courts.

The agreements waive the resident’s right to file a case in court if they are abused or neglected while at the facility. A new reform bill which was passed last month, the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act, is designed to invalidate these mandatory arbitration clauses, which many families have never read or even know they signed.

NURSING HOME NEGLECT LAWYERS

The nursing home lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. investigate and review potential cases for neglect and abuse throughout the United States. In most cases of neglect, inadequate staffing, poor training and insufficient supervision are the primary cause of severe and life threatening injuries. If your family member or loved one has suffered a nursing home injury, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.