Families often provide care for their older loved ones as they age, but may realize their loved one requires a higher level of care. While it’s an emotional decision for a loved one to move into a nursing home, families usually conclude that it’s the best option for their loved one. However, if the nursing home has abusive staff or negligent practices, then the residents in that home could be at risk. If your loved one has been injured or neglected in their long term care home, a Williamsport nursing home abuse lawyer can fight for you and your loved one.
Stapp Law, LLC is a personal injury firm in downtown Williamsport dedicated to protecting the rights of people in central Pennsylvania. Our compassionate team is ready to seek justice for you and your loved one who was hurt.
Our Lawyers Protect Pennsylvania Nursing Home Residents’ Rights
When seniors move into a nursing home or assisted living community, they have rights meant to protect their wellbeing. This ranges from how they’re treated, their agency in their healthcare, and what they have access to. Take a look at some examples of PA resident rights:
- Residents have the right to not be discriminated against.
- Residents will not be abused, neglected, intimidated, mistreated, or face corporal punishment.
- Residents will be treated with dignity and respect.
- Residents are informed of new home rules and will have 30 days written notice before they go into effect.
- Nursing home residents will have telephone access and privacy when they make calls.
- The residents may communicate with the local ombudsman.
The rights above are a few examples of what our Williamsport nursing home abuse lawyers protect. You can see the full list here. While many rights are stated in the law, this doesn’t always prevent nursing homes from neglecting or abusing residents. That’s where a Williamsport nursing home abuse lawyer can help you.
Our lawyers know the rights of residents and the common ways that nursing homes break them. We’ll identify what rights were violated and hold the negligent home accountable.
What Are the Types of Nursing Home Abuse?
As we look into your loved one’s case, we’ll see if there’s evidence for any of the following types of abuse. In some situations, there could be evidence for multiple types of abuse and/or neglect.
- Physical. When your loved one is physically abused, they could be hit or roughly handled by staff. In abusive environments, this could be used to control residents.
- Emotional. This form of abuse can be if your loved one is purposely left in their room and cut off from other residents and the activities happening in the home. Staff could speak rudely to them, yell or berate them, or not answer your loved one when they’re speaking.
- Financial. Sometimes, staff take advantage of residents and steal their belongings, cash, or also forge checks.
- Sexual. Abusive staff members can commit sexual assault or other forms of sexual abuse.
Other forms of mistreatment can come from neglect. While this may not happen because those working at the home are deciding to harm your loved one, neglect can occur when the home is not capable of providing your loved one with the care they need.
For example, a nursing home that is understaffed will not be able to provide all residents with attentive, round-the-clock care. This can result in residents missing meals, doses of medication, and help with using the bathroom. For residents who cannot move on their own, they may be stuck in bed all day. In more dangerous scenarios, a resident may try to walk on their own and fall. Falling injuries can be deadly for seniors and it could be a long time before someone finds them and begins treating them.
Our Williamsport nursing home abuse lawyers know what to look for and how to determine if abuse or neglect occurred. We’ll make sure to find out who was responsible and how your loved one was hurt.
How Do You Recognize the Signs of Elder Abuse?
The types of senior abuse and neglect can have red flags that indicate your loved one isn’t in a safe environment. If you notice any of the following signs, you may need to take action for your loved one:
- Injuries. Consistent bruises, bumps, and welts are not common. Severe injuries like broken bones without explanation are another serious warning sign.
- Change in Demeanor. If your loved one’s mood has suddenly changed where they seem more agitated or withdrawn, then abuse could be happening.
- Hygiene. Your loved one should have fresh clothes, a clean bed and room, and they should be bathed regularly. Noticing old clothes, bedsheets, or that your loved one hasn’t been cared for can indicate neglect.
- Malnutrition. A significant drop in weight can show that your loved one isn’t getting the nutrition they need.
- Illness. Nursing homes are supposed to have protocols to prevent the spread of infectious disease. If your loved one is always suffering from an illness, the nursing home may not have these precautions.
- Lack of Privacy. Your loved one is allowed to have visitors without supervision. If staff members are hovering or keep interrupting, this could be an intimidation tactic to prevent your loved one from confiding in you that something is wrong.
One common question that family members have when their loved ones have been abused or neglected is why didn’t they say anything? There are a few reasons that can prevent seniors from coming forward:
- Communication Issues. Your loved one may have a health condition that affects their speaking. Dementia and other forms of memory loss can do this.
- Fear of Retaliation. Some residents may fear what will happen if they do come forward, whether it’s from the abusive person or the nursing home.
- Feelings Shame. In some cases, the person may be too ashamed to say anything.
Because of these reasons above, it’s essential for residents to have an advocate. When you notice an issue and bring it up with the nursing home but nothing changes, then it’s time to look at your legal options with a nursing home abuse lawyer in Williamsport.
Contact an Attorney Who Will Fight for You
When your loved one was hurt in their nursing home, Stapp Law, LLC is here to help. Reach out to us today for an obligation-free evaluation of your case. With a Williamsport nursing home abuse lawyer on your side, you can rest assured that we’ll protect your loved one’s best interests and fight for the future they deserve.