Every year, thousands of families place their trust in the staff and managers of nursing homes and assisted living facilities to care for their elderly loved ones. To help ensure that residents are provided for and not neglected, both federal and state law require these types of facilities to meet specific health and safety standards. Unfortunately, these regulations are not always implemented and enforced, which can have devastating consequences for residents. Neglectful nursing home employees and managers can and should be held accountable for injuries sustained by elderly residents. If you are concerned about your elderly loved one’s circumstances, it is important to contact local authorities as soon as possible as well as an experienced personal injury attorney who can help protect their interests.
Nursing Home Abuse
According to 28 Pa. Code 201.3, nursing home abuse is defined as any of the following actions:
- The infliction of injury;
- Unreasonable confinement;
- Intimidations or punishments that result in physical harm or pain or mental anguish; and
- Deprivation by caretakers of goods or services that are necessary to maintain physical, mental, or psychosocial well-being.
These forms of abuse can include:
- Verbal abuse, such as threats or the use of disparaging and derogatory terms;
- Sexual abuse;
- Physical abuse, including hitting, pinching, and other forms of corporal punishment;
- Mental abuse, such as humiliation, harassment, or threats of punishment;
- Neglect; and
- Involuntary seclusion, which can include the separation of a resident from others or confinement to a room.
Under state law, nursing home residents must be treated with consideration and respect which includes being free from abuse and neglect. As a result, nursing homes can be held liable for negligence in:
- Providing care;
- Hiring or firing;
- Training staff on policies and procedures; and
- Reporting accidents and injuries.
This means that an injured resident could recover medical expenses as well as damages for pain and suffering.
Federal law also requires nursing home employees and owners to adhere to specific requirements, including that each facility:
- Have sufficient nursing staff;
- Develop comprehensive care plans for residents;
- Ensure that residents do not develop bedsores;
- Administer medications appropriately;
- Maintain acceptable parameters of nutritional status;
- Provide residents with access to treatment and assistive devices to maintain hearing and vision; and
- Ensure that residents are properly hydrated.
Nursing home staff are also required to maintain the emotional and mental well-being of residents by attempting to:
- Promote their quality of life;
- Maintain their dignity and respect; and
- Make sure that to a reasonable degree they are permitted to choose activities, make healthcare decisions, and make their own schedules.
To help ensure that all nursing homes and assisted living facilities are abiding by and enforcing these rules and regulations, federal law requires them to create and maintain accurate and accessible clinical records for all residents.
Contact van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin Today to Speak With an Experienced Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are a resident of Philadelphia and have reason to believe that your loved one has suffered from neglect or abuse and have already contacted law enforcement, please call van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin at (215) 486-0123 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated and knowledgeable attorney.