Many of us worry about the health and safety of our aging grandparents, parents, spouses, relatives, and friends. We want to be there to help monitor their health, provide companionship, offer home-cooked meals, and assist in their day-to-day activities. Sometimes we reach a point where we need help meeting our loved one’s daily needs. Nursing homes staffed with competent medical professionals offer care and comfort to over 1.5 million disabled and elderly Americans who can no longer live on their own or in their own homes. Most nursing homes are staffed by experienced, capable professionals and offer excellent care. Sadly, however, some nursing homes fall short.
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reported almost 188,600 complaints regarding abuse, neglect, or exploitation in a single year in the United States. However, the NCEA also found nursing home abuse and injuries are grossly underreported, so the actual numbers likely run much higher. Abuse can take different forms and can be committed by nursing home staff, other residents, or even visitors to the facility.
Our loved ones are particularly vulnerable to suffering both physical and emotional damage as a result of nursing home abuse. Whether it comes as the result of intentional physical assault or simply a lack of attention, nursing home abuse is inexcusable. Abuse and neglect can have severe consequences to the resident, including serious bodily injury, depression, and premature death.
Any nursing home resident who sustains injuries as a result of the negligence or wrongful conduct of anyone at a nursing home has important legal rights. The law gives nursing home abuse victims the right to take legal action and seek compensation for any physical, emotional, and financial injuries suffered. The Levin Firm in Philadelphia understands how nursing home residents can incur severe and lasting injuries due to abuse. We are here to seek justice and financial recovery for our clients. Please discuss a possible case with our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys today.
Nursing home abuse cases can vary significantly from one victim to the next. In some cases, a staff member may negligently forget to provide the necessary care for a resident. In others, a staff member may lose their temper and physically or verbally lash out at a resident. Other cases involve staff providing inadequate security or supervision and allowing others in the facility who hurt your loved one. In any case, the potential for severe injuries is high.
The following are some types of nursing home abuse:
Neglect – Nursing homes have the duty to provide for a resident’s basic needs, which include having proper shelter, sustenance, a sanitary environment, necessary medical care, and more. Sometimes, staff communication breaks down or certain staff members neglect their duties. When residents do not have adequate food, water, hygiene assistance, shelter, or medical treatment, they can suffer serious injuries.
Physical abuse – People can commit physical harm to others in almost any situation – and nursing homes are no different. Staff or other residents may hit, kick, bite, punch, wrongfully restrain, or otherwise cause physical injury to nursing home residents. Older residents are particularly vulnerable to assaults and injuries, as they may not be strong enough to defend themselves. Injuries may require serious medical treatment and may even put a resident’s life in danger. Such assaults can cause mental trauma, as well.
Emotional abuse – Not all abuse causes physical injuries, as emotional abuse can be seriously harmful to a victim. Staff members may belittle, criticize, threaten, or make other emotionally-harmful statements to residents that can result in serious emotional scars. Residents may also be wrongfully isolated from others, may be forced to live in fear, or may be emotionally manipulated and traumatized in other ways.
Sexual abuse – Not many people discuss the possibility of sexual abuse against elderly nursing home residents, though this happens more often than you may believe. Residents may be incapable of defending against a sexual attacker and thus are completely vulnerable to unwanted sexual exposure, touching, or assault. Needless to say, sexual abuse can cause severe physical and mental trauma.
Any type of nursing home abuse can result in lasting injuries and effects for a victim. Nursing homes should be held fully liable for the wrongful or negligent acts of staff members or others at the facility, as well as failures to provide appropriate levels of care.
The lawyers at The Levin Firm understand that nursing home abuse is underreported. Our attorneys know that some residents are fearful that the nursing home abuse will continue or escalate if the nursing home abuse is reported. Others are ashamed to admit having been victims of nursing home abuse, or perhaps they do not think anyone will believe them. Other residents may not have the cognitive capacity to understand or recall how they were injured. As a result, it is important to be aware of possible signs that your loved one may be a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect.
Signs of nursing home abuse or neglect can include any of the following:
If you notice any of these warning signs, or anything else out of the ordinary, you should not hesitate to discuss your best course of action with a skilled nursing home injury attorney.
Medical malpractice also commonly causes injuries to nursing home residents. This occurs when a medical professional fails to abide by their required duty of care and their error causes unnecessary injuries to residents. Some ways that medical malpractice can lead to nursing home injuries include:
Failure to diagnose a condition – Nursing home residents may develop many times of injuries and illnesses and the nursing home should properly identify when a resident is in need of medical care. If nursing home doctors fail to diagnose a medical condition or misdiagnose a condition, a resident will not receive the treatment they need and the condition may become worse or life-threatening.
Medication errors – Nursing home staff distribute many types of medications to many residents each and every day. Facilities should have strict policies and procedures to ensure that each resident receives the proper amount of the right medication when they need it. When doctors or staff members make errors, residents may not receive their medication, may receive the wrong medication, or may receive too much of a medication, all of which can have harmful effects.
Failure to monitor health issues – When a nursing home resident has a known health condition, the medical staff should take all necessary steps to monitor that condition for signs of complications or other changes in their status. If a nursing home does not properly monitor vital signs or other aspects of a resident’s health, they may not realize when the resident needs emergency care.
Failure to respond properly – When it is clear a resident needs emergency care, the nursing home medical staff should respond adequately to stabilize the resident whenever necessary. If a resident is in crisis and staff members take too long, residents can suffer preventable complications or even death.
Medical malpractice can be difficult to identify and prove, so you want the right attorney evaluating your situation if you suspect this type of incident involving your loved one.
Representing victims of nursing home abuse requires a team of lawyers, nurses, and others trained to review the facts of these cases, including medical records. It can be very difficult to prove that even the most serious nursing home injury is the result of assault or medical malpractice. That’s why you need attorneys on your side to investigate medical records and find the best medical experts to examine the extent of your injuries. At The Levin Firm, we also work with highly-regarded experts to determine the type of medical malpractice and how and why it happened. At times, we will work with other law firms with particular expertise to assure that our clients receive the most thorough and zealous representation.
When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you or a loved one who has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, contact
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