Although nursing homes are called healthcare facilities, the reality is that a high percentage of nursing homes provide insufficient medical care. Understaffing, made worse by the problems of the COVID pandemic, has reached dangerous levels, and patients are suffering as a result. If someone in your family has developed a medical problem in a Philadelphia nursing home that worsened because it remained unaddressed, it is time to contact the nursing care neglect and abuse attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy.
Decades of experience in the field of medical malpractice have sharpened our skills, and we have an impressive record of successful outcomes. We are as determined to get you the compensation you deserve.
Why Patients Receive Insufficient Medical Care in Philadelphia Nursing Homes
Most nursing homes, especially those in heavily populated areas, provide little attention to their patients. As evidence, Pennsylvania nursing homes only require that nurses visit individual patients on a “need to be seen” basis and that doctors visit patients only once every 30 days for their first 3 months in the facility and then every 60 days unless they require immediate attention.
Most of the time, patients are cared for by certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who have minimal training and are underpaid and overworked. CNAs routinely offer patients the services listed below, but many nursing homes function with a 1 to 20 ratio of nursing assistants to patients. Since the CNAs are expected to do myriad tasks in addition to assisting so many patients, you can imagine how much time it takes them to get around to each individual with a request to use the bathroom, have dirty sheets changed, or get a drink of water.
Responsibilities of CNAs at Nursing Homes
- Feeding and hydrating patients
- Documenting patients’ food and liquid intake
- Checking patients’ vital signs
- Turning, bathing, and grooming patients
- Transporting patients to the bathroom or diapering them
- Changing bed linens
- Answering patient calls (e.g. about injury or pain)
- Stocking supplies
- Adhering to safety regulations
- Replacing nonsterile bandages
- Administering medications (in some instances)
Although not every patient needs help with every one of the listed tasks, most nursing home patients, for either physical or mental reasons, need physical help or reminders to keep themselves as healthy as possible. When a nursing home fails to keep a patient adequately nourished or hydrated, fails to clean them or prevent them from falling, or allows them to develop bedsores, it is time to contact the nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys of Cooper Schall & Levy.
How Absence of Everyday Care Becomes Medical Neglect
Patients are in nursing homes because they are, at least partially, unable to tend to their own needs. While missing one bath or a single changing may be viewed as a mistake, repeated “mistakes” constitute medical neglect.
It doesn’t take much to threaten the life of an elderly patient who is frail and has pre-existing conditions. If unnoticed or untended, an infected cut or bedsore, an ingrown nail or tooth abscess, an improperly administered medication, or a fall due to lack of monitoring —
all can result in tragic and avoidable death.
Nurses, Doctors, and Specialists Are Hard to Access in Most Nursing Homes
While nursing home patients with traumatic injuries or severe illness (e.g. broken bones, high fevers) are likely to be sent directly to the hospital, those who have worsening vision (or have lost their eyeglasses), have toothaches or new worrisome gastric distress often must wait weeks
or even months to see a nursing home doctor, a dentist, an ophthalmologist, or a gastroenterologist.
If your family member has waited too long to see a doctor and their condition has worsened during the interim, they are receiving insufficient medical care. Contact our accomplished attorneys to see whether you have a winnable case of medical malpractice.
Signs of Medical Neglect
Nursing home abuse is likely to be more noticeable than insufficient medical care. When you visit a loved one in a nursing home, you should look for the following signs of nursing home neglect:
- Sudden weight loss
- Bedsores or rashes
- Injuries (bumps, bruises, cuts) from falls
- Changes in skin condition due to dehydration or poor nutrition
- Increased withdrawal, decreased conversation
- Other behavioral changes, e.g. rage, irritability, depression
- Poor personal hygiene/poor grooming (e.g. dirty clothing, body odor, uncombed hair)
It is also important to pay attention to the facility itself. Are the floors and tables clean and dry? Are there unpleasant odors? Do the other patients look clean and well-tended? Are patients calling out without being answered? Is there water available for patients? Are the CNAs visible on the floor?
If you feel that something is amiss and speak to those in charge without getting an acceptable explanation, give our office a call to discuss your concerns and your legal options. Taking action will not only bring your loved one the compensation they deserve; it will also be a step in the right direction to look out for the other neglected residents of the nursing home.
How Our Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Attorneys Will Help
We take claims of insufficient medical care in nursing homes very seriously, committed to holding those who neglect our most vulnerable seniors accountable for their wrongs. We have the in-depth knowledge of the law and the legal skills to win your case and will charge you no fees until we recover damages.
Going up against a large medical organization can be intimidating, but we have the experience and know-how to handle all interactions with opposing attorneys and insurance companies. We will examine all of the patient’s medical records carefully, interview witnesses, and consult with experts who may testify in support of our claims of neglect. Most of all, we will be at your side throughout, defending your loved one’s right to receive sufficient medical care and to be treated with dignity and respect.
Contact Our Experienced Philadelphia Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse Attorneys Today
As soon as you get in touch with us, we will determine whether you have a viable case and, if so, begin working hard to bring you the damages your loved one is entitled to for private medical care, psychological counseling, physical pain, emotional suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Contact us now so we start bringing your family the just compensation you deserve.