As we age, most of us reach an age at which it becomes difficult to live alone. In an effort to help our older family members enjoy their remaining years, we hire caregivers. In some cases, the best option, given the circumstances, is to place our loved ones in a nursing home. We expect the nursing home to be a safe place where our loved ones can receive medical care without having to be in a hospital. Unfortunately, not all nursing homes are safe, either because it is not properly maintained, is run by negligent staff or improperly trained staff, or is understaffed for the number of residents. Nursing home abuse and neglect is a horrifying reality. According to the National Center for Adult Abuse, between one and two million elderly Americans have been mistreated, injured or exploited in some way while being cared for by someone entrusted to look after them.
If you have reason to believe that a family member is suffering from abuse or neglect while living in a nursing home, you need an aggressive group of personal injury attorneys to help you get to the bottom of things. Cooper Schall and Levy has extensive experience representing victims of nursing home negligence throughout the Philadelphia area, including Montgomery, Chester, Lancaster and Philadelphia Counties, as well as New Jersey. We have a proven history of holding nursing homes accountable for abusing their patients and helping those patients obtain meaningful compensation. When you become our client, you can rest assured will fight tirelessly to protect your rights.
Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is on the rise and often goes unreported by the patient. Common examples of this include the financial exploitation or theft of money, savings or other financial instruments by taking advantage of an elderly patient. Often times actual physical or emotional abuse occurs. There have also been cases of sexual abuse as well. If you observe any signs of physical abuse, such a bruising or broken bones, emotional abuse or signs of abnormal financial dealings, you must act to protect your elderly family member. Do not hesitate to contact the lawyers at Cooper, Schall, and Levy to help if you suspect abuse on the part of the nursing home and staff.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect
Mistreatment of the elderly comes in two forms: neglect and abuse. These terms may sound similar, but they are actually very different. Nursing home neglect is best described as someone not being properly cared for. Many times this simply means that the elderly individual doesn’t receive as much care or attention from the staff as they need.
While this sounds relatively harmless, serious medical problems can result from patients who don’t receive the medications they need or whose basic needs are ignored. Many nursing home residents are completely dependent on the nursing home staff to take care of them.
Nursing home neglect occurs in many ways. Some of the most common involve:
Improper Personal Hygenic Care: Elderly people often need assistance in performing the basic hygienic tasks we all require on a daily basis. From brushing teeth to combing hair and help to go to the bathroom, a nursing home staff is responsible for meeting these very basic needs. Failure to do so may lead to serious dental problems, infections, sores and bruising. If you see signs of deteriorating dental health, hygiene or personal care, your loved one may be suffering neglect.
Nutritional Difficulties: sometimes the nursing home neglect may manifest as poor nutritional health or dehydration. Nursing home staff are responsible to make sure each of their residents is eating healthy food and drinking enough water to stay healthy. In cases of neglect, these basic needs are not being met. If you see signs of rapid weight loss or dehydration, such as cracked lips, dry mouth or canker sores, this may be a sign of nursing home neglect.
Insufficient Medical Care: Elderly patients have ever-increasing medical needs. It is one of the most basic functions of a nursing home to make sure that your loved one is taking their medication as prescribed, receive medical care if they become sick or injured and are monitored frequently to make sure they are not in pain as they age. Most of their residents have medical care plans which must be followed to ensure they maintain good health. Failure to adopt these plans or provide the essential medical their residents need is a type of nursing home neglect. You and your loved ones are depending on the nursing home to maintain sufficient health care for each person in the home. If you suspect that proper medical care is not being provided, take note of the details as much as you can and contact our office immediately.
Social/Emotional Needs: One of the benefits of a nursing home is the ability of your loved ones to socialize and make friends with the other residents. Often the nursing home plays a vital role in making sure that your loved one is able to leave their room and socialize with the other residents. Failure to make proper arrangements to ensure contact with the other residents is a type of neglect.
What Are Your Legal Options?
Congress recognized the rise in nursing home abuse and passed a law to give people legal options in dealing with the aftermath. The name of this law is The Nursing Home Reform Act. It lists the basic rights of nursing home residents. Nursing home patients have a right to the following:
- Freedom from abuse, mistreatment, and neglect
- Freedom from physical restraints
- Medical, physical, psychological, and social needs
- To be treated with dignity
- To exercise self-determination
- To communicate freely
In addition to these recognized rights, there are other methods under Pennsylvania law that allow nursing home abuse victims and their families to fight back against the nursing home facility and employees responsible for the neglect and abuse of their loved ones.
Contact Our Philadelphia Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorney
Cooper Schall and Levy has extensive experience representing victims of nursing home negligence throughout the Philadelphia area, including Montgomery, Chester, Lancaster and Philadelphia Counties, as well as New Jersey. We will stand by you and make sure your elderly loved one is protected and hold those responsible accountable. Call us or contact us through the form on our website for a consultation.