In nursing homes, physical therapy is frequently administered as a means of activity for residents. Physical therapy provides residents with much-needed exercise, and it is typically used as a way to improve patient outcomes. However, there are times when the use of physical therapy to treat a resident’s health issues may not be appropriate or is over-extended. In addition, a resident’s own preferences should also be acknowledged if he or she finds certain physical therapy movements to be embarrassing or degrading in front of other residents. Sometimes, physical therapy is also discontinued for residents who do not seem to be making any new progress. Their progress may have slowed down, and nursing home administrators may end therapy out of pure financial reasons.
It is important for family members to realize that physical therapy practices fall under the umbrella of The Nursing Home Reform Act. This Act requires that every resident be provided with medically necessary care, and therapy may be a crucial element of this “medically necessary care.” Even if Medicaid or Medicare funding has run out for a resident, this does not mean that physical therapy services must quickly be terminated. A nursing home is under an obligation to continue to provide excellent quality of care to residents despite the source of funding, and this includes providing physical therapy services.
What Is Physical Therapy Malpractice?
Physical therapy malpractice arises when there is any instance of professional misconduct in the course of providing rehabilitative exercises to nursing home residents. Physical therapy is intended to help residents regain control of their movements and improve their physical abilities. The unfortunate reality is that a majority of physical therapy malpractice claims arise in nursing home settings. In fact, they also account for the most costly malpractice claims, with the average indemnity claim amounting to $76,215.
Examples of physical therapy malpractice in the context of a nursing home environment may be the following:
• Dropping a resident on the floor
• Sexual abuse
• Failing to supervise residents during appointments
• Using equipment that is in disrepair
• Failure to inform of risks associated with exercises
• Over-extending limbs of residents in exercises
When residents are the victims of physical therapy malpractice, they can sustain serious injuries. These injuries can also be costly, and residents who suffer from them may be eligible to receive compensation. Some of the following are types of injuries that can follow physical therapy malpractice:
• Fractured Bones
• Delay in recovery
• Loss of use of limb
• Emotional distress
• Brain damage
A physical therapist also has certain duties that he or she must uphold in providing treatment to patients. A physical therapist must report a patient’s condition to the physician responsible for the resident’s well being. Also, physical therapists must also complete patient assessments on a regular basis. Failing to communicate any injuries or changes in a resident’s condition can increase the liability in malpractice claims that a physical therapist faces. A physical therapist must also thoroughly explain the steps involved in administering treatment so that a resident is fully aware of the touching that will be involved in the treatment process.
Get Help from Nursing Home Lawyers Today
If your loved one has suffered injury during physical therapy, then speak with a nursing home lawyer who can help you today. Nursing home lawyers can investigate how your loved one developed an injury during physical therapy and hold physical therapists accountable for their malpractice. The earlier you get in touch with nursing home attorneys, the sooner we can begin to research your case.