Philadelphia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you suspect that your loved one is being physically, emotionally, or verbally abused while living in a nursing home, call the police and an attorney immediately. Your loved one deserves compensation for everything they have gone through.
Nursing home abuse is one of the most reprehensible acts that can occur in our society. First, there is the actual abuse or neglect that is inflicted and the negative effects that it has on the patient. This is made even worse by the fact that family members trusted the nurse or caregiver to provide care for their loved ones. This breach of trust is even more reprehensible because the caregiver and care facility are paid to provide care. Thus, multiple levels of trust are breached when a nursing or extended care home fails to provide adequate care and support. And, worst of all, a loved one who has spent their life working dutifully to make the world a better place suffers physical trauma, emotional trauma, or both.
To begin your fight for justice, contact The Reiff Law Firm and speak to our nursing home abuse attorneys to schedule a free case review by calling (215) 709-6940.
What is Considered Nursing Home Abuse?
It is sad to say, but nursing home abuse can take many forms. In general, abuse in a nursing home, hospice, or extended care living arrangement occurs when the actions or practices of a medical professional fall outside of the professional standard of care.
This means that a doctor, nurse, specialist, or other caregiver acts in a way that deviates from how a similarly situated medical professional would act. Deviations from the standard of care can also occur at the institutional level due to decisions made by the nursing home management and executives.
What You Should Do If You Believe Your Loved One is Being Abused in Their Nursing Home in Philadelphia?
Realizing your family member or loved one has been abused while living in a nursing home can be incredibly painful. Not only do you want to get your loved one out of there, but you might also be wrestling with intense guilt. Your first step to getting your loved one help is to call the police and report the abuse.
Abuse may be a criminal offense, especially if it involves physical injuries, and the police will want to investigate. Contacting the police can help you expedite removing your loved one from the abusive nursing home and launch a police investigation. We might even be able to sue evidence uncovered by the police in a civil lawsuit once any criminal proceedings are complete.
Your next step should be to get your loved one to a doctor for evaluation. At this point, you might not know the full extent of the abuse or if the abuse involved physical injuries. A doctor should examine your loved one and determine if they have any current injuries. The doctor might even be able to tell if there are old injuries that were never reported. Medical records from these evaluations might be extremely important to your claims against the nursing home and the abusers.
You should also report the abuse to the appropriate state agencies. A good place to start is filing a report with the Pennsylvania Department of Health Division of Nursing Care Facilities. You can also report elder abuse, whether in a nursing home or not, to the Pennsylvania Older Adult Protective Services.
Finally, you should call a lawyer. Our nursing home abuse attorneys can help you determine who should be held responsible for the abuse and what damages are involved in your case.
Nursing Homes in Philadelphia Can Be Understaffed Due to Management Decisions Regarding Profitability
The root cause of nursing home abuse often does not rest with the individual medical professionals but with the directors and managers who set facility staffing levels. An understaffed nursing home with overworked and overburdened employees is significantly more likely to have cases of nursing home abuse. Some of the most frequent signs of an understaffed home are frequent urinary tract infections in patients due to inadequate care. Other signs of an understaffed nursing home where patient neglect may occur include pressure ulcers (bed sores) and frequent respiratory infections.
What Other Types of Abuse Can Occur in Assisted Living Facilities?
Unfortunately, injuries caused by neglect due to understaffing are far from the only type of abuse that occurs in nursing homes and elderly care facilities. In some cases, nurses and other staff members may be abusive and violent to patients. In other cases, sexual abuse may occur at the facility. In still other cases, staff members may make errors regarding medication. They may fail to provide prescribed drugs, provide the wrong dosage, or provide the wrong prescription. In other cases, staff members may even over-sedate patients to make their own jobs easier.
Although it might be uncomfortable to think about, physical abuse in nursing homes is more common than many people realize. Caring for older adults, many of whom might have physical or cognitive impairments, can be very challenging. There have been cases of nursing home staff members becoming overwhelmed or frustrated and physically harming patients out of anger or frustration.
Physical abuse might happen only once, or it might happen multiple times in a pattern of harm. In either scenario, it is important to identify the abuse and get your loved one help as quickly as possible.
Verbal and Emotional Abuse
Not all abuse is physical. In many cases, abuse victims report being intimidated, belittled, and emotionally manipulated by nursing home staff members. Such abuse might involve verbal name-calling or harassment. It might even amount to bullying. In many cases, verbal and emotional abuse are parts of ongoing problems, and your loved one might have been dealing with their abuser for an extended period. The psychological effects of this kind of abuse can be severe, and many victims have difficulty recovering emotionally.
Sexual abuse has been reported in nursing homes before, and it can be incredibly difficult for victims and their families. Often, the abusers in these cases are people the victim trusts and relies on. For example, a nursing home resident might be sexually abused by a nursing home aide. Often, abusers have access to the victim’s private living area, and victims might be unable to fend off an attack.
Failures and Omissions
Some abuse does not stem from direct or intentional acts of harm. Instead, the abuse arises from the nursing home’s failure to properly provide care. Perhaps the nursing home staff routinely fails to provide your loved one with their medication. Maybe meals are improperly cooked, and your loved one gets sick a lot. Maybe another nursing home resident is abusing your loved one, but the staff does nothing to stop or prevent it. The nursing home should be held accountable for failing to protect and care for your loved one.
What Are the Consequences of Abuse Suffered in a Nursing Home?
The consequences of nursing home abuse can be extremely serious and tragic. The patient can suffer serious physical injuries, including cuts, bruises, scrapes, abrasions, burns, or broken bones. In the case of neglect sores, urinary tract infections (UTIs), dehydration, malnutrition, and bowel impaction can occur. For elders, abuse can also inflict psychological scars. In some cases, they may even come to blame their loved ones rather than the responsible parties for their abuse.
In some cases, the abuse tragically results in the death of the individual. Therefore, it is essential that you keep an eye out for signs of abuse, report signs when you see them, and hold the home accountable for the abuse it inflicts on your loved one.
Potential Damages in Cases of Nursing Home Abuse in Philadelphia
It would be best if you talked to a lawyer and your loved one’s doctor about the injuries involved in your case. Damages in nursing home abuse cases can be high, especially when the abuse is particularly shocking, violent, or otherwise outrageous.
Many abuse victims and their families encounter steep financial losses because of the abuse. The injuries your loved one sustained might be very costly to treat. On top of that, your loved one might have old injuries that were never reported or treated, making their medical care even more complicated and expensive. Many families report taking time away from work to care for their loved ones until they can find a different, safer nursing home. As such, families lose income when they need it most.
Your loved one likely has injuries that took a toll on their mental state rather than their wallet. Abuse is hard for survivors to come to terms with, and many experience severe emotional and psychological distress. Your loved one might live with PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and a loss of the enjoyment of their life they previously had. Although these experiences might not involve money, they should still be compensated.
What Are Some Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
There are many signs and symptoms that a concerned son, daughter, or another family member can use to help identify signs of abuse. To start, anytime your elderly loved one suffers an injury when in the care of a facility, the circumstances and cause of the injury should be thoroughly investigated. When injuries are frequently reoccurring, this is a red flag that they may not be receiving adequate assistance or that dangerous conditions may exist at the facility.
A loved one who rapidly loses weight after entering a facility may also suffer neglect. Likewise, unexplained access to your loved one’s accounts or generous gifts to staff members may illustrate financial abuse. Other signs of abuse one should watch for include:
- Recurrent infections where medical treatment is not provided
- Bed sores
- High levels of staff turnover
- Frequent UTIs
- Low staff pay
- Low levels of staff training
- Minimal levels of credentials among staff members
Unfortunately, most instances of nursing home abuse are not reported. Abuse by other residents due to insufficient staffing and supervision also frequently goes unreported while being explained away by staff members.
Gathering Evidence to Prove Your Claims of Nursing Home Abuse in Philadelphia
We must find strong evidence when preparing your lawsuit against the nursing home and the people directly responsible for the abuse. Exactly what kind of evidence you need will depend on how your loved one was abused.
One of the most important pieces of evidence in your case might be your loved one’s medical records. These records might reveal what kind of abuse your loved one experienced and how long it had been going on. We might even have a medical expert review the records and testify about how they might have been inflicted.
Other evidence might come from the nursing home. For example, security camera footage might depict the abuse or at least corroborate parts of your loved one’s claims. We can also talk to other residents at the nursing home to see if they know anything about the abuse. Often, abuse affects more than one resident, and others might come forward with allegations.
Our Philadelphia Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Can Help
To get justice for your loved one, call our nursing home abuse lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 to arrange a free review of your claims.