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Proving Nursing Home Abuse

June 07, 2018

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Tragically, nursing home abuse seems to be on the rise in the last few years. Just recently, the Pennsylvania Department of Health revoked licensing from St. Francis Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare nursing home care after an inspection found a serious lack in patient care. One patient had even developed “wounds that went down to the bone with exposed tendon,” as reported by The Philly Inquirer. The investigation found serious issues with wound care, failure to respond when patients underwent significant weight loss due to not eating, failure to adequately respond to acute medical conditions, and more. Whether your older loved one has not been getting the care and treatment they need and have paid for, or they have been the target of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse, the staff and management of the nursing home needs to be held accountable. Unfortunately, holding the facility financially responsible is more difficult than one would assume, because proving that abuse or neglect has occurred can be difficult. A growing number of concerned families are turning to hidden cameras.

Using Hidden Camera to Show Abuse in Nursing Homes

The adult son of an elderly man in a Michigan nursing home placed a hidden camera in his father’s alarm clock when he noticed a pattern of bruises on his father’s arm. The camera ended up catching staff using ethnic and anti-Arab slurs as they allowed him to slide off his wheelchair onto the ground. As reported by Michigan NPR, they then jerked his head back and forth while screaming obscenities in his face. In another horrible case, an 89-year-old call for help when he was struggling to breathe. Multiple nurses were caught on hidden camera coming into his room and instead of administering CPR or calling 911, they laughed at the man left, came back later, and left again, according to 11 Alive News. Two of the nurses were charged with murder. Using a camera to monitor abuse and neglect may be the solid evidence that you need to have criminal charges stick, and to be compensated for the physical and psychological damages that your loved one has endured.

Signs of Abuse

Common signs of physical, sexual, and emotional/psychological neglect include the following:

  • Bruising, cuts, falling injuries, and bed sores;
  • Unexplained injuries that your loved one does not want to talk about;
  • Sudden withdrawal from social activities, such as wanting to stay in the room at all times;
  • Unexplained mood changes, depression, loss of appetite, and sudden weight gain or loss;
  • Your loved one has not been taking their prescription medicine or their health changes suddenly–potentially due to lack of medication provided by staff; and
  • Fear of staff.

A Philadelphia Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Can Help

Not all nursing home residents feel comfortable talking about the abuse or neglect they have suffered. Sometimes they may feel the threat of further retaliation by nursing home staff, and other times they may simply be too proud to talk about it. Whether they have discussed the abuse or neglect with you, or you suspect that something is going on that they are not telling you, an attorney can help you get to the bottom of this ordeal, and ensure that justice is served. Contact the lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim in Philadelphia today for help.


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