Pennsylvania is home to 2.2 million residents age 65 and older and this means that nursing homes in Venango County and throughout the rest of the state should be prepared for an influx in their admissions over the next ten years. When loved ones reach a point that they are not physically or mentally able to live safely on their own, they often go to nursing homes where they can receive around the clock care. The elderly population spent many years taking care of themselves and their families and when it is time to move into a nursing home, their loved ones hope that they will be well taken care of just as they deserve.
Our nursing home abuse lawyers know that family members go to great lengths to select retirement homes for their loved ones and it is devastating to find out that they are suffering abuse in their carefully selected facilities. Abuse is illegal and if you suspect your loved one has been the victim of abuse, contact an elder abuse attorney at SMT Legal to discuss your claim.
Why nursing home residents are targets
Elderly patients are in nursing home care because of their physical and/or mental decline making them unable to live independently. Their lack of independence and reliance on other people make them extremely vulnerable. They want to trust people who are there to care for them and they may be afraid to make caregivers and facility administrators mad by reporting abuse. They also may lack the mental or communicative skills necessary to recognize and report abusive treatment.
Types of nursing home abuse
Types of nursing home abuse include physical, emotional, and sexual abuse; neglect and isolation; malnourishment; unsanitary conditions; financial exploitation; and medical malpractice. Low nursing home budgets and understaffed facilities often lead to neglect and abuse with patients sustaining serious physical and emotional damages and injuries.
Signs of nursing home abuse
It is often hard for people to recognize when a loved one is being abused because they cannot monitor the around the clock care that their loved one receives. Abusers can be devious and they know how to avoid being caught. Abuse often occurs behind closed doors and when visiting hours are over. Signs of abuse include the following:
- Changes in mood and behavior such as becoming depressed, angry, anxious, or afraid
- Change in behavior in the presence of caregivers
- Physical injuries such as unexplained bruises and broken bones
- Change in estate documents such as wills and powers of attorney
- Missing cash, checkbooks, credit cards, or other financial materials and instruments
- Dehydration and malnourishment
- The presence of bedsores
- Poor hygiene
Recoverable damages in nursing home abuse cases may include, but are not limited to medical expenses, pain and suffering, and mental anguish. Sometimes punitive damages are recoverable when a defendant’s conduct was egregious. If a nursing home resident suffers fatal injuries due to caregiver abuse, a wrongful death claim may be appropriate.