How To Spot A Neglectful Nursing Home
More people in our society are living longer, and because of this, there is increased demand for elder care and nursing home expertise. However, not all elder care is created equal, and it can be too easy to miss potential signs of neglect. If you do have reason to suspect that your loved one is being neglected in his placement, contacting an experienced attorney can be a big help toward getting to the bottom of matters.
Many Ways To Be Negligent
Pennsylvania has a problem with the treatment of the elderly. Statistics cited in the 2014 Elder Law Task Force show that 95 percent of nursing home residents report that either they or another resident have been neglected. Certain forms of neglect are more common than others, and it is a good idea to be familiar with the most common so that they are easier to detect. Neglect in this type of situation is loosely defined as the failure to provide an elderly person’s basic life necessities; however, ‘necessities’ is subjective from person to person. In other words, someone may need medication, while another elderly person may only need help with housing or hygiene.
Some of the most common tells for negligence that one can find in a nursing home situation include:
- Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers. These occur when a nursing home resident is not repositioned often enough, or when bedding is not changed often enough, causing the same parts of the body to remain on increasingly soiled sheets.
- Allowing frequent falls to happen. In a nursing home, patients who are “fall risks” are supposed to be monitored properly to minimize the possibility of such an accident. A repeated pattern of falls is very troubling.
- An unusual pattern of behavior, such as a normally gregarious person being shy or withdrawn.
- Evidence of poor living conditions, such as a lack of heat or air conditioning. Failure to correct easily fixable problems in living conditions points to both financial and emotional neglect.
If You Suspect Harm
If you believe that your loved one is experiencing neglect from the people who should be taking care of him the most, there are options that you can pursue. However, it can be difficult to actually determine whether or not neglect has happened because many seniors are either loath to report neglect, do not believe that neglect has occurred, or may not be in a place where they are able to report. Sometimes the mere presence of an attorney can help a senior citizen to find the ability to report.
In addition to any potential civil lawsuit you or your loved one may wish to file, keep in mind that an attorney may also be able to help you make a formal complaint to Pennsylvania’s Department of Health, which oversees nursing homes. If you are able to establish a pattern of negligence, the nursing home can lose its funding or its quality rating. The quality rating in particular is given by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and can affect the nursing home’s ability to stay open.
Contact A Scranton Nursing Home Neglect Attorney
We want the best for our older family members, and the idea that they may be mistreated or neglected is nothing that you should ever accept. If you are concerned for an elderly loved one in a nursing home, contacting a Scranton nursing home neglect attorney at the Needle Law Firm can be the first step in making sure that conditions are what they should be. Contact our office today for a free consultation – we serve Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Stroudsburg, and most of northeastern Pennsylvania.