What to Know About Nursing Home Abuse in Pennsylvania

close up of elderly in therapy during adult care
September 4, 2019
Legally Reviewed By Attorney Rand Spear, Esq.

When family members grow older, they often need some extra help. This may be from a loved one or even a healthcare professional. Sometimes, people are placed in nursing homes so that they can receive this assistance. In doing so, it is expected by the individual’s loved ones that they will be taken care of properly. However, this is not always what happens and mistreatment does occur in nursing homes. It is because of this that it is crucial for loved ones to watch for warning signs of abuse to those in these homes. With the help of an experienced attorney, justice can be sought for victims of nursing home abuse.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Healthcare professionals have an obligation to treat their patients with the required standard of care. If they mistreat patients, they can be guilty of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is a form of negligence by healthcare professionals that causes patients to suffer a great deal. Examples of such can include a failure to diagnose, surgical mistakes, medicinal errors, insufficient consent, and more.

Signs of Abuse

When people have loved ones in a nursing home, it is important for them to look out for signs of abuse. This can manifest in a number of ways including physical abuse, sexual abuse, medication errors, and more. Some signs to look out for are:

  • Broken bones
  • Unexplained bruises
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Bedsores
  • Sudden weight loss
  • If the loved one expresses a fear of being left alone

In 1997, the Older Adults Protective Services Act was amended to mandate suspected abuse reportings. Under this act, administrators and employees of a nursing home are required to report any abuse they suspect. It must be reported to the local Area Agency on Aging and licensed agencies. In the event of sexual abuse, a serious physical or bodily injury, or suspicious death, additional reporting to the Department of Aging and local law enforcement is required.

What rights do residents have?

All residents in nursing homes have rights. This includes the following:

  • To be informed of personal medical conditions
  • To be informed of any charges or services
  • To receive, in writing, the policies, resident rights, and procedures of their facility
  • To be free of restraints unless medically ordered
  • To manage their own finances
  • To choose their own doctor and pharmacy
  • All records are confidential
  • To have their privacy, respect, and dignity maintained
  • To participate in their plan of care and refuse any treatment they wish
  • To voice their concerns without fear
  • To receive immediate visitor access from loved ones
  • To not be discharged or transferred unless for medical reasons, if the facility closes, nonpayment, or for their welfare or other residents’ welfare

Contact our Firm

If you or a loved one has been in a personal injury accident in Pennsylvania, it’s important that you contact an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney to help you with your case. Contact Spear Greenfield to get the right attorney in your corner.