Many elderly adults in Philadelphia live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities that provide long-term care they are no longer able to provide for themselves. At their best, these facilities give older adults the resources and support they need to live their golden years with peace and dignity. However, some facilities prioritize their profits over the quality of care, leaving their residents vulnerable to unthinkable acts of abuse and neglect.
If you know or suspect that someone you love is suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect, the attorneys of Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. want to hear from you. Contact us now to discuss your concerns in a free, confidential case review with a Philadelphia nursing home negligence attorney.
Types and Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many forms, some of which are difficult to identify, especially when residents are unable or unwilling to speak out. These forms include physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse or neglect, which may be committed by caregivers, administrators, other residents, and nursing home staff members.
Watch out for these common signs that point to nursing home abuse and neglect:
- A sudden or unusual decline in a resident’s ability to care for themselves
- A sudden or unexplained lack of communication
- Visible signs of injury, such as extensive bruising, skin lesions, or fractures
- Visible signs of inappropriate contact, such as marks from hands or restraints
- Loss of eyeglasses, a cane, or other assistive medical devices
- Signs of neglect, such as bedsores, infections, and preventable fall injuries
- A disheveled, uncleanly, dehydrated, malnourished, or disoriented appearance
- A sudden or unusual increase in a resident’s anxiety, aggression, or agitation
- A sudden or unusual increase in a resident’s depression, insomnia, or withdrawal
- Unusual trouble communicating with others, especially when caregivers are present
- A sudden or unusual decline in cognitive faculties, self-esteem, or self-efficacy
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unexplained injuries in intimate areas
- Missing possessions, abnormal transactions, and mysterious estate plan changes
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
If you suspect that your loved one may be suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect, you should investigate the situation immediately. Here are some critical steps you can take to address suspected abuse or neglect and make sure your loved one is in a safe environment:
- Visit your loved one and discuss your concerns with them directly, preferably in private. Many abuse victims deny or minimize what is happening out of a sense of self-preservation or shame. Trust your instincts if anything seems out of the ordinary.
- Speak to the nursing home administrators about your concerns as well. A good administration will welcome feedback, take your concerns seriously, and suggest appropriate solutions.
- Trust your instincts, regardless of what anyone tells you. Observe common areas throughout the facility and ask the staff reasonable, respectful questions if you notice anything unusual or unsafe.
- Call 911 immediately and arrange to have your loved one removed from the facility if you discover clear signs of the abuse or neglect of any resident.
- Report known or suspected nursing home abuse to Pennsylvania’s Adult Protective Services office or your local Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
- Contact a trusted nursing home neglect attorney as soon as possible. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you understand your options and hold negligent nursing homes accountable for elder mistreatment.
How Do You Prove Nursing Home Neglect?
Most instances of nursing home abuse and neglect occurs behind closed doors, so it is often difficult to detect and prove nursing home neglect. However, strong evidence can help you establish a claim, and a skilled lawyer can help you obtain it. Here are some examples of evidence you might be able to use to support a nursing home neglect case in Philadelphia:
- Nursing home facility, staff, and patient records
- Photos or videos of unsafe living conditions
- Photos of videos of visible resident injuries
- Copies of reports and complaints to local authorities
- Statements from witnesses, residents, staff, and family
- Records of facility inspections, results, and citations
- Notes from your own observations of the nursing home