NURSING HOME NEGLECT
Unfortunately, we see many different variations of elder abuse, one of the most prevalent forms being nursing home neglect. With the elderly in a natural state of decline due to age, it can be difficult to spot health deteroation resulting from neglect. Signs are not usually obvious, so it may take many visits and dedication to reveal the extent of the abuse.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home, be diligent about the abuse or neglect that may be happening to those who only have staff members to rely on.
IDENTIFYING NURSING HOME NEGLECT
We see many different forms of neglect. Read below a few troubling examples of how nursing home staff can neglect those they are supposed to be caring for.
NEGLECT OF BASIC NEEDS
It may seem unthinkable that a nursing home would neglect the most basic needs of their patients - hunger, thirst, basic comfort, but it happens more often than one would think. Sadly, it is very common for those in a nursing home to suffer from malnutrition or dehydration. Signs that your loved one isn't receiving their basic needs, like food and water, could include weight loss, confusion, or sunken eyes.
NEGLECT OF PERSONAL HYGIENE
Personal hygiene is extremely important for the overall health of an elderly person to avoid things like rash or infection, but daily hygiene can be a more difficult task for some and nursing home neglect victims may not be receiving the help they need. Basic things like fresh clothes or teeth brushing are often neglected. If you notice a decline in your loved one's usual cleanliness, it may be a sign of the staff not helping them with bathing, grooming, and other basic hygiene needs.
The tell-tale signs of neglect can often be confused with the typical signs of aging - almost everyone experiences weight loss, confusion, or balance issues as they age. This means that identifying neglect could prove difficult, and perhaps the most challenging of all neglects to identify, is neglect. There are no physical signs of emotional neglect, but for someone who values every human interaction they encounter, it could be as harmful as any other form of abuse. When nursing home staff emotionally abuse or ignore their patients, it is a form of neglect.
Most elderly people are in a nursing home in order for them to receive the proper daily and medical care they need, but some nursing homes neglect the medical needs of their patients. Medical neglect signs could include bed sores or other skin infections. These show on the skin whenever a patient encounters too much pressure on the body from sitting or lying in one place for too long. These basic medical needs, and other small cuts and injuries, are often overlooked by nursing home staff.
NURSING HOME NEGLECT LAWSUITS
You can file two main types of claims against a nursing home for neglect. The first option is a personal injury lawsuit, where negligence, abuse, or neglect led to the nursing home resident’s injuries. The second and more serious option is a wrongful death lawsuit, where the nursing home’s actions cause the elderly person’s death.
FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO FILE A NURSING HOME NEGLECT LAWSUIT IN PENNSYLVANIA
Contact a personal injury attorney. Your attorney will meet with you and your loved one to discuss the circumstances of your case and assess your legal options.
Next, your attorney will launch an investigation into the facts of your case. Your attorney will review evidence such as medical reports, nursing home contracts, security footage, and photographs from the premises. Your attorney may also speak to medical experts who can provide testimony on your loved one’s injuries.
Next, your attorney will file the complaint with the Clerk of Court in your Pennsylvania jurisdiction. The court will serve the complaint to the defendants in your case.
You will then enter into negotiations with the nursing home and their defense attorneys. During this time, your attorney will exchange information and negotiate a settlement based on your loved one’s injuries. Many cases reach an agreement at this stage.
If you are unable to reach a settlement, your case will continue to trial. The civil court and jury will review the facts of your case and determine liability. They will also determine the amount of damages your loved one may receive.