If you are like most people with family members in a nursing home, you want to believe the best about their situation. You want to believe they are being treated well and receiving the best care possible. This makes it easier to ignore or downplay certain signs. The bruises in different stages of healing on your loved one’s arm are from unavoidable falls, their sudden unexplained weight loss must be due to their age, their apparent lack of hygiene could be due to a refusal to take part in their own care.
Abuse and neglect in nursing homes are more common than you might think. Statistics on nursing home abuse vary, but it is widely believed that abuse and neglect in nursing homes go underreported. In one study, 44 percent of nursing home residents said they had suffered abuse, 95 percent said they had been neglected or had seen the neglect of another resident.
It all seems easy to explain away, but if you are noticing certain signs or symptoms in your loved one who lives in a nursing home, it may be time to take a closer look. If you do suspect abuse, reach out to a Nursing home abuse attorney in Pennsylvania who can help investigate your suspicions.
Nursing Home Residents Afraid to Speak Out
Not only are nursing home residents more vulnerable to abuse and neglect, but they are also less likely to report their abuse. Part of the reason that nursing home abuse goes underreported is that nursing home residents do not tell anyone about their experiences. Even if you have a close relationship, your relative may be afraid to tell you what is going on for a variety of reasons including:
- Fear of retaliation
- Worry that what they experienced didn’t really happen or wasn’t as bad as it seems
- A desire not to cause you to worry
- A desire not to cause problems
If nursing home residents are less likely to tell someone about the abuse they suffer inside of a nursing home, who will report it? They rely on you as their family member to recognize the possible signs of abuse and neglect and to act on those signs by enlisting the help of an experienced Pennsylvania nursing home abuse attorney.
Know the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Anyone with a family member or a friend in a nursing home should be familiar with the signs and symptoms of possible nursing home abuse. These signs should raise suspicion that something out of the ordinary is going on that deserves further attention. Do not overlook the following signs:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Bruises, welts, or scrapes
- Broken possessions like eyeglasses
- Withdrawing socially
- Being easily scared or startled
- Refusing medication
- Changes in behavior
- Acting fearful of being alone
- Angry outbursts
- Loss of memory
- Sudden weight loss
- Having a room that is continuously unkempt or dirty
- Overuse of restraints
- Staff inattention
While any one of these signs may not necessarily mean that your family member or others within a skilled nursing facility are being abused, they do require further investigation. There may be other reasons for these signs and symptoms to occur, which is why nursing home abuse is so often overlooked. Being on the lookout for them and not being afraid to ask for help or report what you notice can help reduce the risk of nursing home abuse and neglect. If you do suspect abuse, reach out to a nursing home abuse lawyer in Pennsylvania who can help you determine what steps to take next.
Why Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Occurs
Mistreatment in a nursing home can occur for a variety of reasons. First, residents in a nursing home are a vulnerable population. They lack the physical and mental skills to protect themselves, and they also are less likely to report abuse and neglect. Other reasons for the occurrence of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
- Lack of staff training
- Lack of enough staff
- Staff frustration
Since nursing home abuse and neglect often go unreported, and staff often do not face consequences for their actions, the abuse and neglect continue. By reporting the potential signs of abuse that you observe or witness, you can help protect not only your senior family member but others as well.
Why You Need a Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Lawsuits against nursing homes can be extremely complex, usually because they involve federal and state regulations and specific medical knowledge. Finding out that your loved one has been victimized in a place you trusted to provide them with the best care can feel violating and overwhelming. You may not know what to do next or what rights you and your loved one have in such a situation. Turning to an experienced nursing home abuse attorney in Pennsylvania can help make the situation less confusing and ensure that something is done about the abuse.
Your attorney can help prove that your elderly loved one’s injuries were caused by neglect or intentional abuse. The administrators of the nursing home may offer you a settlement to keep the situation out of court. In some cases, the compensation offered is fair and covers the damages done to your loved one, but in other cases, the settlement falls short. Working with a Pennsylvania nursing home abuse attorney can help ensure that you do not settle for anything less than what your case is worth.
Hire a Seasoned Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Don’t overlook the signs and symptoms of abuse or neglect in your loved one who resides in a nursing home. Be alert and aware of these signs and talk to a seasoned nursing home abuse lawyer in Pennsylvania if you notice them. Remember that nursing home residents are less likely to report the abuse themselves, and they need you to be their advocate. By speaking with an attorney, you can learn more about what options you have if your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect at the hands of nursing home staff.