Federal and state law both outline many rights and protections for nursing home residents. Under Pennsylvania’s Adult Protective Services Act, all nursing home residents in the state have the right to be free from abuse, exploitation, and neglect. Still, too many nursing home residents suffer at the hands of negligent or malicious caregivers every year.
Nursing home abuse is taken very seriously in the state, and across the country. Under state law, certain individuals are required to report nursing home abuse when they see it or suspect it. However, even those not required by law to make such reports should do so any time they suspect abuse to ensure it does not happen to anyone else.
Who is Required to Report Abuse?
A number of states have enacted universal reporting laws, which requires everyone in the state to report nursing home abuse when they suspect or see it. Pennsylvania is not one of them. In the Commonwealth, only employees and administrators of certain facilities are required to report suspected elder abuse or neglect. These facilities are as follows:
- Nursing home facilities
- Personal care homes
- Home care agencies
- Domiciliary care homes
- Adult day programs
- Residential treatment facilities
Any organization or agency that uses public funds to care for adults in licensed or unlicensed settings are also required to report abuse.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse
It is critical to report nursing home abuse, even if you are not required to. Abusive individuals must be held accountable, and reporting it is the only way to ensure no one else will become a victim of it.
Pennsylvania provides two very easy ways to report nursing home abuse. The first is through the Elder Abuse Hotline. To reach the hotline, call 1-800-490-8505. Reports can also be made to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. Reports can be made either way 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Important Things to Know When Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
Even when people feel a moral obligation to report nursing home abuse, they are sometimes still hesitant. They may think the facility will find out and retaliate against them, or they may not think they have enough evidence to prove their claim. These are not true. When reporting abuse, keep the following considerations in mind:
- You do not have to see the abuse happen. A reasonable suspicion is enough to make a report.
- Reporting is done anonymously. No one will know the source of the report.
- The Adult Protective Services Act protects you from facing criminal or civil liability when making a report, as long as you do not make the report with malicious intentions.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Philadelphia Can Help You Stop Abuse
Reporting nursing home abuse is an important step in stopping it from occurring. Still, if someone you love has already become a victim, it is important to hold the nursing home liable for losses sustained as a result. At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, our Philadelphia nursing home negligence lawyers know how to prove your claim and recover the fair settlement your family deserves. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation.