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Pennsylvania Nursing Home Neglect

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Elderly people are often at the mercy of whomever is helping to take care of them as they age, whether that is family or nursing home staff. However, this does mean that when caregivers are negligent, it is arguably more severe than it would be if their negligence was affecting someone not dependent on them. If you suspect that a loved one is being neglected in a nursing home, you may be able to seek compensation on their behalf.

Many Pennsylvania Facilities Leave Much To Be Desired

The Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA) estimates that 2.2 million of the state’s residents are over the age of 65, with the state also ranking 4th in the nation for population percentage over the age of 85. Long-term care is becoming more and more important in Pennsylvania families, but in the rush to provide it, sometimes corners are cut. A distressing number of facilities in Pennsylvania have received substandard rankings from the Department of Health in years past, and in 2015, a lawsuit was filed by the PA Attorney General against the Golden Living chain of senior care facilities, alleging endemic neglect.

There are, of course, perfectly reputable nursing homes and senior care facilities in Pennsylvania, but too many are running with shoestring budgets and too few staff. It is important, if at all possible, to research a facility before giving your loved one to its care, but it is also pivotal to know your rights and the rights of your family member if something does go wrong. Many believe that unless overt abuse is occurring, nothing can be done, and this is just not the case – negligence is just as actionable as malice, only in civil court instead of criminal.

Spot The Warning Signs

Because neglect is much more insidious than malicious abuse, it may be difficult to spot any red flags indicating that your loved one is being neglected in their nursing home or assisted living facility. Some of the more common include:

  • Bed sores or ulcers, which most often appear due to a failure to change bedding or help a patient move from one spot for a long period of time;
  • Unexplained injuries, such as from a fall; the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that falls are the number one cause of injury and death in those over age 65, but most are preventable if nursing home staff is vigilant;
  • Sudden changes in emotional or mental health, as someone who is being neglected very often will draw inside themselves, becoming prone to depression, anxiety, or both; and
  • Poor hygiene, which can either be caused directly by neglect of nursing home staff, or by the elderly person becoming so frightened or out of sorts that they fail to maintain their own hygiene standards.

In addition to the physical signs, the law can help you with your case in itself – negligence is specifically defined as failing to exercise reasonable care in a specific situation, rather than affirmatively acting out of malice, and requires a lower standard of evidence be proven than a criminal case would require. In criminal court you must prove something beyond a reasonable doubt, while in civil court most cases are proven only to a “preponderance of the evidence,” or in some cases, to a “clear and convincing evidence” standard.

Call A Scranton Nursing Home Neglect Attorney

Our twilight years are supposed to be spent among loved ones, enjoying what life has to offer. If you have reason to believe that someone you love is experiencing neglect in their nursing home or assisted living facility, you need to act fast. The Scranton nursing home neglect lawyers at the Needle Law Firm will work with you to make sure that all is as it should be, or if it is not, to change things for the better. Call us today for a free consultation.

Resources:

attorneygeneral.gov/taking-action/press-releases/pa-supreme-court-ruling-attorney-generals-lawsuit-to-protect-seniors-in-nursing-homes-is-reinstated/

phca.org/for-consumers/research-data/long-term-and-post-acute-care-trends-and-statistics

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