Nurses take on a huge responsibility in caring for sick and elderly patients. Nurses, either need to carry nurses malpractice insurance or be provided coverage through their employer to address concerns about allegations of neglect or abuse. Coverage is vital for defending against lawsuits, often brought about by the family of a resident, or the patient themselves, even if the accusation has no grounds.
These types of accusations often occur at nursing homes. Conditions are such so that nurses are often alone with patients. A patient who may be suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s may believe that they are a victim of abuse, or may claim they’ve been taken advantage of financially or otherwise when this is not even the case. Unfortunately, the burden of proof that no wrongdoing actually happened falls on the part of the nurse, and proving innocence can be difficult under the circumstances.
Accusations can cause serious reputational damage
Elderly citizens with mental or physical ailments can present very trying situations for caregivers. Even the most patient nurses can falter under the stress of their duties. This could lead to abuse, even unintentionally, and once an act of abuse erupts it could lead to a pattern of abusive behavior. More than half a million reports of abuse are reported to authorities every year, while many more cases may go unreported. Such acts are viewed as criminally negligent at their worst, and if proven, can lead to costly judgments against the accused.
Families will report acts of physical abuse, once they can establish who the perpetrator is. Acts considered to be abuse include physical assaults, such as hitting or shoving, the inappropriate use of drugs, or dispensing of drugs in harmful amounts, use of restraints on patients, or confinement for unusually long periods of time. Such behavior has been deemed intolerable and must lead to more stringent observation of nurses providing assistance to patients, especially ones deemed difficult to care for.
In cases of emotional or psychological abuse, nurses may be at fault for speaking to, or treating patients in ways that can cause emotional pain or distress. Verbal and emotional abuse includes intimidation through yelling or making threats, humiliation, ridicule, even nonverbal psychological abuse, for example, ignoring requests or needs expressed by the patient.
When an accusation is made, whether warranted or not, having nurses malpractice insurance can help provide the necessary defense. Otherwise, such a situation can create a serious financial burden for the accused.