When a loved one is in need of hospice care, you trust that their caretakers will look after them with the utmost attention to their needs and ensure that they receive the best possible hospice and palliative care. Unfortunately, there are some incidences in which that trust is misplaced, and the care given to a hospice patient is not on par with standards, medication or equipment is not applied correctly, or caretakers do not participate in effective communication. When these things happen, you have every right to pursue legal action.
Medical malpractice is one of the most common reasons for families to sue a hospice care provider. No injury or damages need to occur for you to sue for medical malpractice – it’s possible to take action against a provider if you find that their standards of care or level of communication are inadequate, or if there is a breach of contract. Other examples of medical negligence are failure to administer medication correctly or lack of proper training for hospice staff and employees.
Although instances are rare, older hospice patients can be at risk for abuse from their hospice caretakers. Abuse can take many forms: physical abuse, neglect, or even financial abuse. It’s important to establish methods of checking in on your loved one’s well-being: ask questions if signs of physical injury appear and follow up with the hospice provider, and be sure to secure your patient’s financial assets against abuse.
It may seem strange to file a wrongful death claim against a hospice provider, given that many patients need palliative care because they are already considered terminal. However, the purpose of hospice care is to provide patients the best possible quality of care and quality of life in their final days, weeks, or months. If the actions of a hospice caretaker lead to a patient’s death, they have not provided the quality of care expected from them and can be held liable for wrongful death.
The laws relating to who can file a hospice care claim vary. Typically, parents, children, spouses, or next of kin can file a wrongful death claim. If a patient has been injured or hurt in hospice care and is alive, they (or a guardian) may choose to file a claim themselves.