Combating Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Nursing homes are a blessing for those who need to ensure that loved ones are well cared for when they are unable to provide care at home. Sadly, they can also be a source of pain and suffering for patients and their loved ones in the case of abuse or neglect. We frequently hear news reports that are simply shocking; mistreatment of nursing home residents seems to be a growing epidemic in our country and abroad.

Nursing homes are also known by other names such as rest homes, assisted living homes, and skilled nursing units (SNU) to name a few. Regardless of the name, they serve a very useful purpose. They are homes for the elderly who are unable to live alone as they can no longer effectively perform normal daily activities without assistance.

Many people of varying ages are also residents of nursing homes due to some disability, whether mental or physical which prevents them from taking care of themselves at home. In many cases, family members are unable to provide the needed care at home so they turn to these institutions as a kind of home away from home. Frequent visits are often implemented into the family’s routine so their loved one doesn’t feel quite so disconnected.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect by Employees

One of the biggest problems encountered in these homes is abuse and neglect of the residents by employees. Many different forms of neglect and abuse may be encountered in rest homes. This can be as simple as not responding to calls for assistance. When assistance is needed, it should be addressed in a timely manner, not neglected or put off indefinitely.

More drastic forms include lack of proper nutrition and not administering medication as scheduled. Meal and snack times are very important to the health, wellbeing and safety of nursing home residents. Abuse on the other hand includes:

  • Physical harm
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional or psychological abuse

It is important to be able to identify signs of abuse since many residents in these homes are unable to state what is happening to them. Some signs of abuse or neglect include:

  • Broken bones
  • Burn marks
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Withdrawal, especially by residents who were formerly outgoing
  • Dirty and general unhygienic living conditions such as soiled linen and clothing

Contact a Lawyer for Help

In many cases it becomes necessary to get legal advice when nursing home abuse or neglect is discovered or even suspected. Contact an attorney or law firm that specializes in these kinds of cases. If you are in Pennsylvania, it makes sense to contact a Philadelphia nursing home abuse attorney for help and advice.

Unfortunately, in some cases abuse and neglect are only detected after the death of the resident. While monetary awards and punishment for the guilty party or parties do not bring back a loved one, they can provide some measure of justice. This is one area where an experienced lawyer can help.

There is absolutely no need to go it alone when seeking compensation for the harm or death of a loved one. There is always the fear that if abuse is suspected and reported, the sufferer may be further victimized. This concern should be discussed with the lawyer. Their familiarity with these cases will help to put your mind at rest.