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Burn Injury Lawyer

Burn Injury is Preventable with Proper Care

Elder Burn Injury. Nursing homes across Minnesota have an obligation to comply with minimum care standards established by state and federal regulations.   Many times the explanation for a burn injury, which occurs to residents of Minnesota nursing homes, assisted living and other types of elder care facilities is related to a corporate organization which is focused on maximizing profits at the expense of safety.   Many of the burn injury incidents resulting in serious injury or deaths could have been prevented with increased numbers of attentive and well qualified staff providing additional supervision.

Elder Abuse Burn Injury

Minnesota law requires that a nursing home must have on duty at all times a sufficient number of qualified nursing personnel, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nursing assistants to meet the needs of the residents at all nurses’ stations, on all floors, and in all buildings if more than one building is involved.  This includes relief duty, weekends, and vacation replacements.

Minnesota Rule 4658.0015 states that a nursing home must operate and provide services in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and codes, and with accepted professional standards and principles that apply to professionals providing services in a nursing home.

Minnesota Rule 4658.0105 mandates that a nursing home must ensure that direct care staff are able to demonstrate competency in skills and techniques necessary to care for residents’ needs, as identified through the comprehensive resident assessments and described in the comprehensive plan of care, and are able to perform their assigned duties.

Pursuant to federal regulation, 42 CFR §483.25 (h), Accidents; the facility must ensure that:

(1) The resident environment remains as free of accident hazards as is possible; and
(2) Each resident receives adequate supervision and assistance devices to prevent accidents.

According to Minnesota Statute 626.5572, Subd. 3. Accident. “Accident” means a sudden, unforeseen, and unexpected occurrence or event which:

(1) is not likely to occur and which could not have been prevented by exercise of due care; and
(2) if occurring while a vulnerable adult is receiving services from a facility, happens when the facility and the employee or person providing services in the facility are in compliance with the laws and rules relevant to the occurrence or event.

Despite the state and federal regulations designed to protect vulnerable adult, there are still an unacceptably high number of preventable burn incidents in nursing homes but the most common involve hot water scalding burn injuries in bathtubs or showers, or thermal burns due to the misuse of hot packs, or injuries due unsupervised smoking of resident, especially when using oxygen. Oxygen burn injuries.

Whatever the nature of the burn, the underlying reason may well be due to nursing home neglect.  Since the residents of Minnesota nursing homes residents are considered vulnerable adults it is the duty of the nursing home facility to assess the resident for risks and then keep them safe from those preventable risks, such as smoking in bed or with an oxygen tank on providing oxygen to the resident at the same time.

Prevent Burn Injury – Request Nursing Home Smoking Policies

Minnesota Administrative Rules 4658.0135 POLICY RECORDS. Subpart 1. Availability of policies.

All policies and procedures directly related to resident care adopted by the home must be placed on file and be made available upon request to nursing home personnel, residents, legal representatives, and designated representatives.

Subp. 2. Admission policies.

Admission policies must be made available upon request to prospective residents, family members, legal representatives, and designated representatives.

Questions regarding Oxygen Burn Injuries Burn Injury Accidents, from Smoking:

Did the resident require supervision when smoking?

What were the resident’s risks?

Dementia, Medications, Oxygen?

Did the facility have a designated supervised smoking area?

Was there a facility sign out sheet for cigarettes and lighter?

How does the facility monitor for return of cigarettes and lighter?

Often an employee is over burdened due to insufficient staffing levels or not trained for example to check the temperature of a bath which results in the burn.  Serious burns or other injuries from falls, can also occur when a resident is left alone without proper supervision in the tub or shower.   Extended exposure to even moderately hot water temperature can cause serious burn injuries to elderly people due to reduced thickness and other changes in the skin.  If you or someone you love has been a victim of a nursing home burn, no matter what the situation, it is important to contact a nursing home elderly abuse lawyer to discuss your legal rights.

Minnesota Elder Burn – Nursing Home Burn Injury

Burns are often more frequent in the elderly. This is because their skin is a lot more sensitive to touch and a considerably thinner.  Furthermore, many elderly due to physical constraints and/or medication have a reduced reaction time and diminished senses when exposed to water which is too hot.  In many instances, a burn will occur simply because the patient does not have the ability to pull away.  It is the responsibility of the nursing home to ensure this never happens and that the water is not too hot for the resident or that they are not exposed to hot water for long durations in time.

In some instances, a burn can be the beginning to other traumatic falls  or accidents.  If a patient is trying to get out of a scalding hot bathtub, they may suffer a serious fall and injury including broken bones or fractured limbs.   If this is the case, you are looking at a serious nursing home neglect lawsuit.

Preventing Burn Injuries When Bathing in Nursing Homes

The safest bathing temperature is approximately 100 degrees. However, often bathtubs are often filled with water that is much hotter due to either the neglect and irresponsibly of the nursing home staff members or due to a malfunction or improperly set water heater.  Also, staff member may fill a hot bath, leave the room and the place the patient in the bath without even checking the water temperature.   Burn injury as a result of exposure to hot or scalding water is a function of temperature and time.   The higher the temperature the less time it will take to sustain permanent injuries.  Anything over 120 degrees can cause third degree burns with water that is over 140 degrees can cause serious damage in less than 6 seconds.

It is the nursing staff’s duty to monitor and supervise their residents when taking a bath or using a medical device such as a hot pack.  If there is a problem with plumbing of a nursing home facility leading to unsafe water temperatures, it should be repaired rather than exposing the residents to the risk of burns.   Additionally, there are certain devices that should be used to ensure that burns do not occur. Anti-scald devices can automatically turn the water off when the temperature reaches above a certain temperature say 110 degrees.  This will help prevent burns from scalding water for all patients.

Contact a Burn Injury Lawyer For a Free Consultation A lack of care is often to blame for burns in nursing homes.  Contacting an experienced nursing home neglect attorney can assist you in ensuring that the facility is held accountable for a burns sustained to yourself or loved one and that neglectful burns are not sustained by others.