Philadelphia Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer
No one makes the decision to commit a loved one to a nursing home lightly. As family members go over their options, they look at everything from the food quality to the social options. This is because we expect our elders to be extremely well cared for and respected in these facilities. Sadly, nursing home neglect is alarmingly common across the nation.
Fighting Neglect in Pennsylvania
Elder abuse ranges from physical harm (like bedsores or improper feeding) to emotional and mental problems – including verbal abuse or stealing a patient’s money. Unfortunately, nursing home medical professionals have access to patients who often cannot defend themselves or report neglect. This is especially a problem considering the steady growth of the elderly demographic in America.
During the next 30 years, the US population older than 65 will grow exponentially, exceeding 85 million elders by 2050. The National Center on Elder Abuse has reported the following data collected from a study of reported nursing home neglect:
- Ten percent of nursing home residents reported physical, mental, or emotional abuse.
- Approximately 4-7% of abuse cases are never reported.
- Financial abuse and identity theft are more common than other types of abuse.
Under-reporting is also a major problem, which not only prevents seniors from being compensated for neglect and personal injuries; it keeps us from developing better facilities and preventing future problems.
Watch for these Signs of Neglect – and Know When to Act
Though abuse covers a range of problems, failing to nurture patients in nursing homes is a major issue. In this case, neglecting or failing to care for residents can lead to problems like bedsores, malnutrition, and medication errors. Nursing home staff members are responsible for carefully following all patient diets and schedules, and when they overlook these needs, health care professionals commit negligent acts for which they should be accountable.
There is an increasing trend of reporting elder abuse in the US. This is good news, but we must continue working to prevent these acts from occurring. When you visit a loved one in a nursing home, look for these signs of neglect:
- Physical damages: Failing to turn over an immobile patient can lead to bedsores. A resident may also report sudden weight change if he or she is not given the correct diet. Nursing homes sometimes restrain or ignore patients; you can identify this by physical marks or behavioral problems.
- Emotional changes: Depression is a common side effect of neglect. If your loved one’s disposition has suddenly changed, carefully evaluate how nurses and staff members are caring for him or her. You may also look at how other residents act and are treated.
- Mental suffering: Depression manifests through emotional changes, but it is a mental disorder. This can progress into other mental issues, as patients may repress or ignore neglect. If a patient frequently wanders from the facility, he or she may be suffering mental side effects due to lack of care.
If you notice any of these signs or a loved one reports a problem, take it seriously. Pursue immediate action. Health care professionals must meet high standards, and when they neglect their duties and patients suffer, they should be punished.
Report Nursing Home Neglect in Philadelphia
There are many national and state resources to either report nursing home neglect or find more information. These include:
- The Pennsylvania Health Department
- The National Nursing Center on Elder Abuse
- The National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities
- The Administration for Community Living
In addition to these organizations, reach out to a Philadelphia personal injury attorney for more information. These professionals understand the heinous nature of abuse and neglect, and they know how to collect evidence and pursue a case in Pennsylvania. Contact the team at Ciccarelli Law Offices to start today.