It is hard to lose a family member because of nursing home negligence, but it seems that Tennessee is lightening the regulations and inspections of nursing homes, which could increase nursing home injuries. There has also been a move to make it more difficult to sue for injuries sustained in a nursing home and a cap on damages for injuries or death.
Nursing homes are meant to provide for our relatives when their medical needs are more than we can safely care for at home. No one would intentionally put their loved ones in a home in which they could be abused, neglected or mistreated, but many Tennessee families are finding out too late how dangerous nursing homes can be. In recent studies, Tennessee nursing homes have come out at the bottom in respect to two areas of care.
It does not seem like the reforms in nursing home regulations will bring Tennessee's nursing homes up in the rankings, however. As many new residents enter nursing homes, they are required to waive any rights to a trial before the nursing home will actually admit them. This could prevent residents from later suing the nursing home for many common errors or oversights. There is also a new measure that will limit when and for what patients can sue nursing homes. One of the main restrictions is a cap on jury awards for poor care.
These new restrictions, in conjunction with federal reports that say Tennessee has failed to regulate nursing homes and to investigate reports of abuse and neglect, has affected nursing home victims' ability to take their complaints to the courts. The cap on jury awards may deter families from even bringing a lawsuit because they cannot collect enough money to risk going to court.