When a loved one is in an assisted living facility or nursing home, you expect their care to be one of dignity and respect. But when you find out your family member has been neglected in a nursing home, you may wonder what legal options you have. At Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano, we defend and protect our region’s most vulnerable populations and we will fight for your family, too.
Nursing Home Abuse Signs
It is estimated that as many as 5,000,000 elders are abused each year. With alarming figures like this, you may wonder what signs to look out for if you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected.
First, it is important to recognize the difference between abuse and neglect. Abuse is categorized as the intentional infliction of injury, confinement, pain, or harm. Neglect though is the failure–be it intentional or not–to provide a person with the care and services they need to prevent a dangerous situation.
The common forms of neglect and abuse include:
- Verbal abuse
- Not caring for existing medical conditions
- Deprivation of basic life needs
- Sexual assault
- Restraint and seclusion without reason
While these acts can be difficult to navigate unless you have constant contact with your loved one, especially in these power situations where communications are at the hands of the abuser, there are signs you should be mindful of.
- Dehydration and hunger
- Emotional changes
- Falls, injuries
- Being withdrawn from family and friends
- Fear of speaking in front of nursing home staff
- Unsanitary conditions
- Fear of being touched, rocking, and other changes in behavior
- Use of sedation without reason
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
When you suspect a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you need to report it. However, in cases where you suspect immediate danger, call the police right away.
Nursing home abuse and neglect can be reported to the following entities and agencies:
- An administrator of the nursing home and/or doctor, nurse, or health care provider
- The Pennsylvania Department of Aging
Under Pennsylvania’s Older Adults Protective Services Act, employees of nursing home facilities must report suspected abuse. If you report abuse or suspected abuse to an employee, they are mandated by law to report the abuse.
While the law makes it that these employees must report abuse, it is still important to seek legal guidance once the initial report has been filed.
Damages Recovered in Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Nursing home abuse and neglect cases can be emotionally strenuous, but when a loved one has been hurt by the hands of a group that should be caring for them, it is necessary.
Potential damages that can be recovered in nursing home abuse and neglect cases include:
- Medical expense
- Quality of life damages
- Punitive damages
The damages available will vary depending on the facts of the case.
NEPA Nursing Home Abuse, Neglect Lawyers: Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano
When a loved one is in the care of a nursing home facility, you expect their care to be at a level of respect and attention that you shouldn’t be fearful that something dark is happening behind closed doors.
But when it is, you need to know you have a team to help you and your family through this time. Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano is here for you. Contact us today for a consultation.