Nursing home abuse and neglect is something that should never happen. Although nursing home staff is commonly overworked, understaffed, and undertrained, there is no excuse for this type of treatment or lack of care. Yet, it still happens every day in nursing homes across America. If you recently learned that your loved one is or might be the victim of abuse in a nursing home facility, you may be wondering what you should do next. You are not alone, and our experienced staff is here to help.
Both you and your loved one have rights, and now is the time to exercise them. An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in Pennsylvania can help you ensure that your loved one’s rights are protected in cases of nursing home abuse and neglect.
Possible Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Protecting your loved one’s rights after nursing home abuse begins with knowing how to spot the possible signs of abuse. Many nursing home residents are fearful of reporting their own abuse or neglect. They worry that they are exaggerating, being a burden, or that they could face retaliation. This makes it even more crucial that you be alert for the potential signs of abuse or neglect, such as:
- Emotionally upset or agitated
- Being withdrawn and non-communicative
- Falls, fractures, or head injuries
- Instances of wandering/elopement
- Pressure ulcers (bedsores)
- Rapid weight loss or weight gain
- Reluctance to speak in staff members’ presence
- Unexplained injuries such as wounds, cuts, bruises or welts in various stages of healing
- Unsanitary and unclean conditions
- Wanting to be isolated from others
Nursing Home Abuse: Emergency Situations
The safety of nursing home residents is of the utmost importance. If you believe your loved one or someone else in a nursing home facility is in imminent danger from abuse, contact local authorities or call 911 immediately. Not taking this step could leave them at risk of severe injuries or even death.
Gather Important Information
If the nursing home abuse situation is not an emergency, take the time to gather information and evidence that support your suspicions or beliefs that your family member is suffering from abuse or neglect in the nursing home. For example:
- Take pictures of any injuries or physical conditions that are causing you concern
- Take pictures of any concerning situations in the nursing home such as evidence of pest infestations or lack of running water
- Talk to possible witnesses such as specific employees, other residents, or family members of other resident’s and get their contact information
- Gather relevant medical records
Law enforcement, as well as your Pennsylvania nursing home abuse attorney, can use this information to help build a case against those who have been abusing or neglecting your loved one. The more convincing the evidence, the more likely it will be that you have a valid civil claim that will garner the compensation your loved one deserves.
Remove Your Family Member from the Situation
If your suspicions are substantiated, and you do not feel like the nursing home is taking steps to address the issue immediately or is capable of taking such measures, it is time to ensure your loved one’s safety by removing them from the nursing home as soon as possible. Ideally, you should move them to another skilled care facility where their individual needs can be meet without fear of abuse or neglect. If you are not able to do this within a relatively short period of time, you may want to consider some type of temporary arrangement until that is possible.
Report the Abuse to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging
Your next step to protect your loved one’s rights is to report the abuse to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging at 1-800-490-8505. Anyone reporting abuse or neglect can remain anonymous if they choose and have legal protection from retaliation, discrimination, and civil or criminal prosecution. The Pennsylvania Department of Aging will handle the report and take the necessary steps to investigate what might be going on.
Meet with a Skilled Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Once you have reported the abuse or neglect to the proper agencies and ensured the immediate safety of your loved one, you can pursue a civil claim against the nursing home and its employees who caused injuries and damages to your family member. Now is the time to schedule a consultation with a compassionate nursing home abuse lawyer in Pennsylvania.
An attorney can meet with you to discuss the details of your loved one’s abuse and the best strategy to pursue compensation. By seeking justice through the civil court, you and your loved one could receive monetary compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Emotional and mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Depending on your case, your nursing home abuse attorney in Pennsylvania may be able to negotiate a settlement before the case goes to court. By settling, the case could be over sooner, and you could avoid facing an emotional trial.
Call a Seasoned Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you do nothing else after learning about or suspecting nursing home abuse in your elderly loved one, reach out to a seasoned nursing home abuse attorney in Pennsylvania. When you hire an attorney, they can help take care of the investigating and reporting and help you take all the necessary steps to make sure your loved one’s rights are protected. This can be an unfamiliar time, full of questions and uncertainties. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse has become quite common, so common that our office has a protocol and knows how to handle the next steps.
When you meet with one of our Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawyers, we can explain the process and how much your elderly loved one might be entitled to for their damages. We will also address your questions and concerns and do everything we can to ensure your loved one is safe and well-cared for. Contact the successful Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers today to schedule your case consultation or use our confidential online contact form.