All medical malpractice lawsuits, including the ones that involve nursing home abuse and neglect, require the plaintiff to show that the defendant (the healthcare facility and its employees) had a duty to care to the patient and that the defendant breached the standard of care. To know whether you have a case against the nursing home where your elderly relative has been cared for, you must first understand the standard of care to which nursing home patients are entitled. Title 22 is the California law that outlines the standards that nursing homes are required to uphold and the services that nurses and nursing assistants in nursing homes must provide to patients.
Nursing Home Patients’ Rights Under Title 22
According to Title 22, California nursing homes must fulfill the following duties to patients:
- Understanding the needs and preferences communicated by patients, using interpreters if necessary
- Having Enough staff members on duty at all times to provide each patient with at least 3.2 hours of nursing care per day
- Providing written care plans, so that patients and their families understand specifically what care the patients can expect to receive
- Providing adequate access to the services of physicians
- Providing routine and emergency dental care
- Providing adequate nutrition, helping patients with feeding, administering feeding tubes only for patients who are genuinely unable to swallow
- Offering food choices that meet patients’ nutritional requirements and conform to patients’ culturally based dietary restrictions, if any
- Providing adequate fluids to avoid dehydration, administering these fluids intravenously only when patients are unable to drink
- Helping patients with bathing and toileting, according to each patient’s needs
- Ensuring patients’ privacy during bathing and toileting
- Taking all necessary measures to prevent infection
- Ensuring that patients have sufficient exercise, so that they do not lose mobility or range of motion
- Administering medications appropriately and according to patients’ needs
What Title 22 Says About Medications
Many cases of nursing home abuse and neglect involve medication errors or other instances of improper use of medications. Title 22 prohibits nursing home staff from intentionally withholding medically necessary drugs from patients and from causing patients to miss doses of medication simply because the nursing home was not adequately staffed to provide the medication on time. It also protects patients from medication errors involving which medication was administered, as well as dosage errors. Here are some other highlights from Title 22’s provisions involving medications:
- Patients (or their legal representatives, if the patients are unable to speak for themselves) must consent to a course of treatment with one or more prescription drugs.
- The patient’s choice of pharmacy must be respected whenever possible.
- Nursing home employees must not overmedicate patients or give them drugs that are not medically necessary. Title 22 places special restrictions on sedatives, tranquilizers, and antipsychotics.
- Only licensed nurses can administer prescription drugs.
Contact Case Barnett About Title 22 Violations
Major violations of Title 22 constitute nursing home abuse and neglect. Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California if a nursing home has failed to uphold the standard of care for your elderly relative.