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Protecting Pennsylvania Seniors From Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

Elder abuse unfortunately affects millions of seniors throughout the United States annually.  While our grandparents and parents age, the average life expectancy has risen to 78.8 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Life expectancy has increased for the total U.S. population, but women are still expected to live longer than men, approximately 81.2 years versus 76.4 years.

Advances in medical technologies and an awareness about healthy lifestyles will likely increase the average life expectancy.  The question is what happens to people who live beyond the point of caring for themselves.  Families consider long-term nursing home facilities to be an answer, hoping to find a respectable and caring facility that will provide trusted care for their loved one.  In many situations, these homes and their staff provide love and support to the elderly.

But the reality is that elder abuse exists.  Nursing homes may violate elder abuse laws and often lack adequate staff to properly care for patients.  In many nursing homes, physical abuse is rampant, accompanied by resident-to-resident abuse, psychological abuse, and gross neglect.  Sexual abuse as well as financial exploitation also occur in nursing homes.

Abuse can be caused by combined psychological, economic, and social factors. A victim with physical or mental limitations may make it difficult to point to maltreatment.  Those with dementia are considered to be at great risk of abuse.  Accusations can be deflected because many presume what these seniors claim to have occurred may not in fact be true.  In some cases, residents of nursing homes may fear retaliation and feel reluctant to mention abusive treatment.  They may also feel their claims will burden their families.

Signs that may indicate abuse or neglect include a malnourished or dirty appearance. If your loved one has bed sores or bruises that they cannot explain, it may be an indication of a larger issue. Some residents display unexplained personality changes following abuse or neglect.

All nursing homes have a system in place to address concerns about patient safety.  Any concerns about nursing home abuse should be seriously considered.  State health agencies are required to investigate any complaints sent to them about nursing homes. It is not unreasonable to call the police should you feel concern that someone you know may be a victim of elder abuse and is in life-threatening danger.

If you believe a nursing home may be responsible for your loved one’s injury or death, the nursing home negligence attorneys at Needle Law can help.  Seniors harmed by the neglect of others can potentially recover financial damages for their pain and suffering, as well as any resulting medical bills related to their injury. Discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney who understands the regulations that apply in a nursing home neglect or abuse situation. Our office can be reached by calling 570-344-1266 or using our online form.

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