Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
Has someone you love been subjected to abuse or neglect in a nursing home? You may have the right to seek compensation on their behalf. Contact Edelstein Martin & Nelson for a free consultation to see how we can help.
People in nursing facilities receive a unique level of care that can only be provided by such a facility. Thousands of Americans rely on these facilities to provide care to their loved ones when they cannot. Care in a nursing home is more involved than that in assisted living facilities, so elderly people unfortunately are more vulnerable to abuse or neglect. Nursing home abuse and neglect are part of a larger category of elder abuse.
When nursing home abuse or nursing home negligence occurs, the nursing home resident who endured the abuse may experience serious injuries, illness, financial loss, and sadly, even wrongful death. If they survive, their quality of life may be seriously impacted. Their family members may have to spend more money to get them care and treatment for elder mistreatment, on top of what they were already spending for their initial care. Even vigilant loved ones cannot prevent nursing home abuse or neglect if they do not know the signs, and many have difficulties proving their claims.
If you or your loved one has experienced nursing home abuse or neglect, Edelstein Martin & Nelson, LLP is here to help. When you call us for a free consultation, we will inform you of your legal rights according to the details of your case.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Nursing home abuse is the engagement in any harmful intentional or negligent act or omission by a caregiver or anyone else in the nursing home toward a resident. The harm residents can experience include physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse. It also includes neglect or abandonment, or a combination thereof.
Residents who have experienced nursing home abuse have had a serious violation of their rights and may experience possibly serious consequences for their physical and mental health. Consequences of nursing home abuse can include physical injuries, depression, anxiety, or wrongful death. A Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawyer is a worthwhile advocate who can fight for your elderly loved one’s rights and hold the nursing home accountable for the harm their staff caused.
What Types of Nursing Home Abuse Are There?
Many types of nursing home abuse and neglect can occur in long-term care facilities. Some of the most common types are:
Physical abuse: The most obvious type of abuse, this type involves the use of physical force that causes bodily harm, pain, or impairment. Hitting, slapping, pushing, or restraining a resident are some examples of physical abuse that can occur in a nursing home.
Emotional abuse: Also known as psychological abuse, this type of abuse involves the use of words or actions that result in emotional or mental distress. Yelling, insulting, or threatening a resident, or isolating a resident from social activities or visitors are examples of emotional abuse.
Sexual abuse: This type of abuse involves any form of initiating non-consensual sexual contact with a resident. Sexual abuse includes sexual assault, such as unwarranted sexual touching or intercourse, or forcing a resident to engage in or watch sexual acts.
Financial abuse: Also known as financial exploitation, financial abuse is one of the most common forms of elder abuse, with or without the presence of other forms of abuse. This type of abuse involves the use of a resident’s funds, property, or assets obtained through theft, blackmail, deceit, or forcing under duress (such as the influence of drugs). Financial exploitation in a nursing home may involve forging checks or documents or persuading a resident to sign over their money or assets.
Neglect: Neglect occurs when a caregiver or other staff member fails to provide support to a resident per their duty of care. Some examples of neglect are failing to pay attention to provide the basic needs that elderly people often have, such as mobility, food and water, assistance with personal hygiene, medical care, and safety.
Abandonment: Abandonment occurs when a caregiver or other staff member in a nursing home deserts a resident and leaves them without care or support. It can be intentional or unintentional.
It’s important to remember that none of these types of abuse or neglect is mutually exclusive from the other. One type of abuse often occurs in combination with another, but one may be more apparent than any other. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, your case will involve an investigation to find out whether your elderly loved one was abused or neglected in more than one way.
Examples of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Here are some examples of both abuse and neglect, as they typically occur within a nursing home setting. All of these would be grounds for a nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuit.
Nursing Home Abuse
- Physical abuse, such as pushing, hitting, or slapping a resident
- Emotional abuse, such as threatening, insulting, or yelling at a resident
- Sexual abuse, such as nonconsensually touching or performing sexual acts on a resident
- Financial abuse, such as stealing and cashing Social Security checks
- Medical abuse, such as neglecting diabetic medication, over-medicating, or providing unnecessary medical treatments to a resident
Nursing Home Neglect
- Failing to provide or withholding food or water from a resident
- Failing to provide or withholding adequate medical care or medication to a resident
- Ignoring or failing to provide a resident’s basic needs, such as turning them over in bed, changing their clothes, or bathing them
- Failing to provide adequate movement or care by allowing a resident to develop bed sores, pressure sores, or ulcers.
- Failing to provide the assistance or supervision a resident needs, leading to slips, falls, and other injuries
Although these are just a few examples of nursing home abuse or neglect, they can take any one of several forms. Any intentional or negligent act or omission that causes harm to a resident constitutes abuse or neglect and should be reported immediately. You should also contact a Pennsylvania nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer as soon as possible to find out your options for getting justice.
Nursing Home Statistics
Nursing home abuse and neglect are serious problems in the United States. Here are some facts about what goes on inside our nation’s nursing homes:
- The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 and over have experienced some form of elder abuse.
- A study conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services found that approximately 1 in 3 US nursing homes were cited for an abuse violation, while 1 in 5 were cited for neglect.
- In 2020, the National Ombudsman Reporting System received 14,260 complaints of nursing home abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
- The most commonly reported types of nursing home abuse are physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect.
- Studies of nursing home residents with dementia show that they are more susceptible to abuse or neglect. Estimates suggest that up to 50% of nursing home residents with dementia experience some form of abuse or neglect.
- Economic difficulties highlight the issues and challenges faced in properly staffing nursing homes due to increasing reports of neglect or abuse.
- Unfortunately, most nursing home abuse cases and nursing home negligence cases go unreported. Authorities only receive reports for an estimated 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse or elder neglect.
We can compare these facts to those in the state of Pennsylvania:
- The Pennsylvania Department of Aging found 32,381 reports of suspected exploitation, abuse, or neglect of elderly people in 2020.
- 4,638 of these reports were related to abuse or neglect in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
- There were 2,654 investigations of nursing home abuse or neglect in 2020. 1,170 of these cases were substantiated.
- The most common types of nursing home abuse and neglect reported in the state include physical abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect.
- According to a report by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, more than 50 nursing home employees were charged with abuse or neglect of residents.
- According to a study by the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, understaffing is a major problem in the state, with a daily average of only 2.66 hours of direct care per resident.
Serving Nursing Home Abuse Victims
Nursing home residents receive personal care and have a wide range of needs for medical conditions. Employees provide medical care 24 hours a day. This type of health care, especially in a long term care facility, requires a degree of competency and trustworthiness from nursing home staff. It is important for family members to make sure their elderly loved one’s health is in good hands.
If their elderly loved one experiences nursing home negligence or abuse, they as family members have the responsibility of protecting them. Nursing home abuse lawyers provide legal grounds in support of the elderly person’s right to care and compensation for the harm they experienced. They help those who get harmed fight against elder mistreatment, negligent acts, and other instances where elder abuse was suffered or proper care was not given. This includes medical malpractice, such as being given the wrong medication, and medication errors. They also hold the liable parties responsible for all damages they caused by working to recover maximum compensation for their clients.
Whether or not an elderly person has next-of-kin, they need an advocate for their personal injury case. If you yourself are suffering abuse in a Pennsylvania nursing home, you deserve legal representation. An experienced personal injury attorney from Edelstein Martin & Nelson is available to help you. Contact us today to discuss your situation involving nursing home neglect or abuse.
Who Can Be Held Accountable For Nursing Home Abuse?
When any employee of a nursing home is found to be responsible for abuse or neglect, the following parties can be held liable:
- Nursing home staff members
- Nursing home administrators
- Physicians or other medical providers
- Other nursing home residents
- Third-party contractors
- The nursing home company
A Philadelphia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Who Can Help
Nursing home residents have the right to transparency in communication and a high standard of care and quality treatment in a long term care facility. A Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawyer is your best choice for defending your rights and seeking compensation for the following damages:
- Physical pain
- Emotional trauma
- Costs to treat medical conditions and injuries caused by abuse or neglect
- Rehabilitation or any other long-term care
- Expenses to relocate to another nursing facility
- Reduced life expectancy
- Loss of enjoyment or quality of life due to trauma, scarring, disfigurement, or permanent disability
Even if you are not aware of all the damages, an experienced personal injury attorney such as one from Edelstein Martin & Nelson, LLP can help you determine all of the damages that you can claim in your suit. We have the knowledge to successfully recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages for elder abuse.
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
An elderly person’s family members should take initiative to investigate for signs of nursing home abuse or neglect anytime they have a loved one in a nursing home facility. The following symptoms could be evidence of abuse or neglect:
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Frequent or unexplained infections
- Slip and fall injuries, including head trauma and broken bones
- Unexplained, rapid weight loss or gain
- Unexplained injuries or multiple injuries in various stages of healing
- Serious injuries that require emergency medical care
- Restraint injuries
- Missed medication doses
- Altered state from sedation or heavy medication
- Torn or dirty clothing or bedding
- Unsanitary or unclean living conditions
- Sudden behavioral changes including agitation, withdrawal, fear of touch, fear of being left alone or in staff member’s presence, or reluctance to speak in staff member’s presence
- Soothing behaviors like thumb-sucking, mumbling, or rocking
An elderly person may have one or more of these signs. If your loved one’s health has suddenly deteriorated and you are trying to find out the cause, a personal injury lawyer can help you conduct an investigation.
How Do I Report Elder Abuse or Neglect?
If you are certain of elder abuse, your first phone call should be to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. You should also consult a nursing home abuse attorney to investigate and document evidence immediately.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations To File a Nursing Home Abuse Claim in Pennsylvania?
The statute of limitations for filing a nursing home abuse claim in Pennsylvania is similar to that of other personal injury cases. You have up to two years to file an abuse claim, regardless of whether it is for wrongful death, medical malpractice, or another personal injury.
Recovering from Nursing Home Neglect
Any intentional or negligent act that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a resident is considered abuse or neglect and must be reported to the proper authorities. For the sake of your loved ones, if you suspect that they are suffering abuse or neglect in a nursing home, it’s important that you immediately report it to the proper authorities as well as seek legal counsel with a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney authorized in the state of Pennsylvania.
You should be able to trust nursing homes with the proper care of your loved ones. When nursing home staff fail to provide adequate care or attend to basic needs for residents, they must be held liable, and you can exercise your legal options to do so. Edelstein Martin & Nelson, LLP is experienced with nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect cases. Contact us for a free case evaluation by calling 888-208-1810.