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Nearly two million elderly Americans live in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Their safety and wellbeing is of the utmost importance.
Meet Our Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorneys.
We trust in nursing homes and assisted living facilities to care for our loved ones with their daily needs, while providing a safe environment for them to live. Most of us assume that a nursing home’s staff will provide the quality care we’ve come to expect. Tragically, our assumptions can be tested by the common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect.
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Be Watchful: Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
According to federal regulations, nursing homes are obligated to provide all of their residents with a life “free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, corporal punishment, and involuntary seclusion.” But all too often, Pennsylvania nursing homes and assisted living facilities fail to provide their residents with a safe and caring environment.
Every day, seniors in our state fall victim to elder abuse and neglect:
- Abuse – the intentional infliction of injury or harm, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, care deprivation or punishment that results in physical harm, pain or mental distress
- Neglect – the failure, intentional or unintentional, to provide a resident with the care and services necessary to ensure freedom from harm or pain, or the failure to react to a potentially dangerous situation
Elder mistreatment is inexcusable. Seniors deserve to live with dignity. Thanks to federal and Pennsylvania State law, they can also demand it in court.
As the loved one of an elderly individual, you deserve to know that your loved one is being treated with care and respect. Perhaps you’ve already noticed signs that trouble you – a withdrawal from social interactions, unexplained bruises or nursing home staff members who seem less than caring. These may be red flags, signs of abuse or neglect.
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Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
Your loved one deserves better. Nursing home abuse and neglect are national problems that aren’t going away any time soon. As a loved one, you need to remain vigilant for the common warning signs of elder mistreatment, so that you can step in when necessary to protect your loved one. If your loved one has been victimized via abuse or neglect, your family may be eligible to exercise the right to file a private civil lawsuit for compensation.
- Falls and bone fractures
- Unresolved infections or chronic infections
- Frequent illnesses, especially when not reported promptly to a physician and family
- Pressure ulcers (bed sores)
- Rapid weight loss or weight gain
- Signs of restraint use, including rope marks on the wrists
- Unexplained injuries, such as bruises cuts, burns or welts
- Injuries in various stages of healing
- Injuries requiring emergency treatment or hospitalization
- Unsanitary or unclean living conditions, including soiled bed clothing or clothes
- Unexplained or unexpected death
- Upset or agitated
- Withdrawal from interaction, non-communicative
- Instances of wandering or elopement (unsupervised wandering)
- Reluctance to speak in front of a staff member
- Obvious tension between the resident and a caregiver
- Unusual or sudden changes in behavior (fear of physical contact)
- Regressive behaviors (sucking, biting, rocking, mumbling)
- Searching out isolation from others
- Heavy use of medications, especially sedatives
- Caregiver refuses to allow you to be alone with the elderly individual
Signs Of Sexual Abuse
While rare, elder sexual abuse can occur. It can be committed by a caregiver, family member, stranger, other resident of the nursing home or nursing home staff member. Nursing homes have a duty to protect residents from sexual abuse, including by providing adequate supervision of their interactions with staff members and by adequately performing background checks on staff members before they are hired.
- Unexplained sexually-transmitted diseases (STD)
- Genital infections
- Bruising near the genitals, on the thighs or around the breasts
- Stained, bloody or torn underwear
- Vaginal or anal bleeding (when unrelated to a known medical condition)
It’s crucial to understand the various warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, in many cases, family members fail to notice the warning signs until it’s too late, which is one reason why nursing home abuse and neglect stand among the least reported crimes in our society. In other cases, the signs of abuse and neglect are confused for symptoms of dementia, including confusion, isolation or agitation.
Filing A Nursing Home Lawsuit In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania protects seniors from both abuse and neglect, through strict regulations, criminal statutes and the State’s long tradition of civil law. Your family has rights. If you believe that your loved one is suffering neglect or abuse, take action now.
Your family may be eligible to file a private lawsuit against the nursing home. Nursing homes who fail to adequately protect residents are often guilty of committing negligence, a legal term for a careless disregard for the safety and wellbeing of others. Nursing homes have a legal duty to provide residents with a safe and caring environment. When they fail to do so, nursing homes can be held accountable for financial damages.