Gregory J. Jansen

Residents of nursing homes generally have weakened immune systems that leave them more susceptible to infectious diseases. While many residents will succumb to natural causes, many other deaths are preventable and are the result of abuse or neglect. Often, however, it is difficult to determine if the death was natural or preventable. A death certificate may list the primary cause of death, for example a sepsis infection, but it might not explain the source of the infection, for example a decubitus ulcer. In such a case, the nursing home may well be responsible for the death since the decubitus ulcer should have been prevented by the nursing staff in the first place.

If you have questions about how your loved one died and whether or not it was the result of neglect or abuse on the part of the nursing home, get the nursing home records regarding your loved one from the nursing home (and any other medical treatment facility) and present them to an attorney knowledgeable in the area of elder abuse/nursing home negligence. They have the tools to have the files reviewed for negligence and abuse. You can also contact the Department of Health Services, which will investigate and issue a report with their findings.