Making the decision to put a loved one in a nursing home can be one of the most difficult things a person has to do, but it is necessary when they require care we can no longer provide. We know that you take the steps necessary to ensure you place them in a wonderful environment.
But what happens if you discover that your loved one has been abused at the nursing home?
At The Weitz Firm, LLC, we believe that there is nothing worse than the abuse of the elderly in our society. If you need a Norristown nursing home abuse attorney, we are here for you.
Elder abuse is far too common in the US, but it is also underreported. That means that it has also not been studied extensively.
The National Council on Aging defines elder abuse as “physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment.”
We want to go over some of the types of abuse that the elderly can experience in a nursing home. Disclaimer: some of this is hard to read.
This can be both intentional and unintentional and includes any forceful contact by a nursing home staff member towards a resident in their care. It comes in many forms, including hitting, slapping, choking, scratching, burning, etc.
This is a form of physical abuse and includes any unwanted sexual contact between a resident and staff, including touching, intercourse, fondling, or other unwanted sexual contact. Often, the resident does not even know this is happening to them.
This includes verbal assaults, threats of abuse, intimidation, and harassment.
This includes nursing home staff ignoring the basic needs of their residents: not feeding, not washing, not tending to wounds, or failing to give them their medications.
This can include nursing home staff using a resident’s information to steal their identity or access their bank accounts. This can also include nursing home administration billing a patient’s insurance for materials or procedures that are never given or performed.
It is crucial for family members of nursing home abuse victims to understand that they have a limited amount of time to file these claims in civil court. The Pennsylvania personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. This means that family members have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent nursing home in order to recover the compensation their loved one needs. Failing to file a lawsuit within this time frame will result in the families and the victim is unable to recover the compensation they are entitled to.
We also know that Norristown nursing home abuse cases can revolve around medical malpractice claims. The Pennsylvania medical malpractice statute of limitations is also two years from the date the malpractice occurred. However, the time limit for these claims will not begin counting down until the patient or family discovers or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or illness was caused by medical malpractice.
If you suspect that your loved one has been the victim of abuse inside of a nursing home in Norristown, there are various steps that you can take to file a report. First, if the abuse is an emergency situation, you need to call 911 and let the police handle the situation. Your number one priority has to be to get your loved one into a safe situation.
There are other ways for you to report a concern or make a complaint about a nursing home in Pennsylvania. When we look at the PA Department of Health’s website, we can see information about how to file a concern or complaint. You can:
When individuals call the hotline in the first bullet point above, they will speak directly to a Department of Health professional. If the Department of Health is unable to take your call, you can leave a voice message that includes the name of the facility as well as the specific issue related to why you are calling. It is important to leave a name and callback number so the Department of Health staff can return the call. If you call and make a report, your identity will not be released to the facility you are complaining about.
Any complaints regarding a personal care home in Pennsylvania should be made by calling 877-401-8835.
There are some studies that suggest that one in 10 elders report emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. As the US population sees its average age trend upward, there will inevitably be more and more people going into nursing homes at some point in their lives.
If you suspect your loved one is being abused in their nursing home, contact law enforcement and get your loved one to safety immediately. Then seek legal assistance. Elder abuse is wrong and should not be tolerated. At The Weitz Firm, LLC, we want to help you seek accountability from those responsible.
We know that no amount of money can erase the abuse, but we want to help get compensation to cover the following: