As medical care continuously evolves and medical technology enhances the treatment and care that people receive, people in the United States are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. As the elderly population in Pennsylvania is expected to increase over the next ten years, state officials are preparing for an influx in nursing home residents. While there are many high quality nursing homes in Clarion County and across the state, nursing home abuse attorneys know that there are also some low quality nursing homes where residents’ rights are violated and they are mistreated and abused.
Nursing home residents’ rights
Nursing home residents are protected by federal laws that set forth residents’ rights in nursing home facilities. See below for highlights of those rights.
- To be treated with dignity, respect, and care that maintains or enhances their quality of life. They also have the right to communicate with people inside and outside of the facility.
- To exercise their rights without interference, coercion, or discrimination from the facility.
- To be informed of and participate in their medical treatment including selecting their attending physicians.
- To be free from physical or chemical restraints used for disciplinary reasons or convenience.
- Self-determination including which facility activities they participate, visitors that they see or choose not to see, and the right to interact with the community inside and outside of the facility.
- To be informed of rules and regulations regarding resident conduct and responsibilities while living in the facility.
- To have access to medical records.
- To have telephone access and a list of state agencies and advocacy organizations they may contact.
- The right to privacy and confidentiality in terms of personal and medical matters.
- The right to express grievances about the facility or treatment without fearing discrimination or reprisal.
- To contact outside federal, state, or local entities about any matter without the facility’s discouragement or prohibition.
Pennsylvania makes elder care a priority in our state and they make sure that when residents’ rights are violated, they have rights to compensation from abusive facilities. Pennsylvania laws protect nursing home residents in a number of ways including permitting awards for punitive damages in nursing home abuse cases. Nursing home abuse cases are also not subject to the same financial recovery limitations that exist in other types of medical provider care cases.
Types of abuse
There are many types of nursing home abuse that are prohibited in Pennsylvania facilities including the following:
- Neglect and isolation of residents: Residents’ basic needs must be met including restroom facilities, not being left alone or confined to a room for long periods of time, hygienic conditions, and adequate nutrition and hydration.
- Physical, sexual, or verbal abuse: Facilities have a duty to protect their residents from being subjected to this type of abuse.
- Negligent medical care: Residents deserve medical care that treats their illnesses and ailments and preventative care as well.
- Financial abuse: Residents are vulnerable and because of this, it is often easy to steal from them or take advantage of their financial generosity.