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Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

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Moving a loved one into an elder care facility is a big decision and one that is often fraught with emotion and uncertainty. If the people you have trusted to care for your parent or family member fail to uphold their duty, they must be held accountable. A nursing home abuse lawsuit not only provides real accountability and economic consequences for the wrongdoer but also provides your family with the compensation you are rightfully owed under the law. 

All elderly people and long-term care residents deserve dignity, quality care, and protection from harm. If your loved one suffered physical harm, illness, or neglect due to willful mistreatment or substandard conditions at a Pennsylvania nursing home, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Munley Law for a free consultation. We will answer your questions, explain your rights, and advise you on the next steps. The Pennsylvania nursing home abuse attorney consultation is free, and we only get paid if we win your case, so you will never have to pay any upfront fees. 

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How Often Does Nursing Home Abuse Occur?

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in PennsylvaniaAccording to the National Council on Aging, one in ten Americans over the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse. The true number of nursing home abuse cases that take place each year is difficult to pinpoint because it is estimated that only one in 24 cases are reported. Not all of these instances take place at a nursing home, but elder abuse and neglect at long-term elder care facilities is far too common. 

The United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) studied 20 Pennsylvania nursing homes in 2022. Inspectors found 586 life safety, emergency preparedness, and infection control deficiencies among the 20 facilities. 

There are many reasons why nursing home abuse takes place, but staffing issues are among the leading causes. Many Pennsylvania facilities report a turnover rate of more than 50%, some as high as 90% or more. With the growing aging population in the U.S., many facilities are significantly understaffed. Overworked, under-trained, and underpaid nursing home staff often lack the capacity or the patience to give each resident the level of care they need and deserve. Facility owners who either want to cut costs or can’t afford to cut staff may ignore problem employees rather than fire them and hire under-qualified employees willing to work for lower pay. As a result, it’s the vulnerable patients and residents who suffer the consequences. 

What Are the Types of Nursing Home Abuse in PA?

Those consequences take many forms. Multiple types of elder abuse can take place at an elder care facility. 

  • Physical Abuse: This type involves the use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment. It includes actions like hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of restraints, or any form of physical coercion. 
  • Emotional or Psychological Abuse: Emotional abuse can be verbal or non-verbal and includes actions that cause emotional pain, distress, or anguish. This includes verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, isolation from friends or activities, or non-verbal psychological abuse. 
  • Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse in nursing homes involves non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with a resident. This can range from unwanted touching to rape. Residents with cognitive impairments like dementia are especially vulnerable. 
  • Financial Abuse or Exploitation: This type of abuse occurs when a caregiver illegally or improperly uses a resident’s money, assets, or property. Financial exploitation can include stealing cash, forging signatures on checks, coercing residents into signing financial documents, or any act of misusing a resident’s financial transactions. Signs include sudden changes in bank account balances, missing belongings, unexplained withdrawals, and changes in power of attorney or wills.
  • Neglect: Neglect fails to provide for a nursing home resident’s basic needs, including food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and essential medical care. It can be intentional or result from inadequate staffing and resources. Signs of neglect include malnutrition, dehydration, bed sores, untreated health problems, poor personal hygiene, and unsafe or unsanitary living conditions.

What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse in Pennsylvania?

Recognizing the warning signs of nursing home abuse is crucial for the safety and well-being of elderly residents. Abuse can manifest in various forms, including physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and through neglect. Here are some common warning signs of abuse:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, or fractures.
  • Signs of restraint use, such as marks on the wrists or ankles.
  • Frequent, unexplained injuries or reports of falls.
  • The resident’s reluctance to speak openly or explain injuries.
  • Withdrawal from social activities or sudden changes in behavior.
  • Unusual behaviors symptomatic of dementia (e.g., rocking, biting, or sucking) that were not present before.
  • Signs of fear, anxiety, or depression.
  • Avoidance of eye contact or becoming visibly upset around certain staff members or residents.
  • Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts or changes in banking practices.
  • Missing personal belongings or valuables.
  • Documents related to finances or wills that the resident cannot explain or did not authorize.
  • Poor personal hygiene, including unwashed hair, dirty nails, and soiled clothing.
  • Unattended medical needs, such as missing medications, untreated injuries, or bedsores.
  • Weight loss or signs of malnutrition and dehydration.
  • Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions, including soiled bedding, pests, or broken appliances.
  • Changes in the resident’s personality or behavior.
  • The caregiver refused to leave the resident alone with visitors.
  • The resident is unusually quiet or withdrawn around the caregiver.
  • Complaints from the resident about being mistreated, whether directly stated or implied.

Steps to Take if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

If you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse in Pennsylvania, taking immediate and appropriate steps is crucial to ensure the safety of the victim and to hold the perpetrators accountable. Here’s a guide on what to do:

Document Evidence

  • Photograph any visible injuries, such as bruises, cuts, or bedsores, as well as conditions of the living environment that may indicate neglect or abuse.
  • Secure copies of the victim’s medical records that could indicate a history of injuries or neglect, including hospital visits, medications, and treatment plans.
  • Collect statements from anyone who might have witnessed the abuse or has information about the case, including other residents, visitors, and sympathetic staff members. Document any communications between you and the facility administrator regarding your concerns. 

Report Abuse to Appropriate Authorities

  • Contact the Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s Protective Services hotline. They are tasked with investigating reports of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and abandonment of older individuals.
  • If you believe the situation is an emergency or involves a criminal act, such as physical assault or sexual abuse, contact local law enforcement immediately.
  • Every state has an ombudsman program that addresses complaints and advocates for improvements in the long-term care system, directly impacting residents’ health, safety, welfare, and rights.

Seek Medical Attention for the Victim

  • Ensure the victim receives immediate medical attention for any injuries or health concerns. A healthcare professional can also provide an independent evaluation of the victim’s condition, which can serve as critical evidence.

Contacting Munley Law for Legal Guidance and Representation

Contact Munley Law for a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Our expertise in nursing home abuse cases means we can provide specific advice tailored to your situation.

How Our Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Can Help

Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawyerWhen facing the distressing situation of nursing home neglect or abuse in Pennsylvania, enlisting the help of specialized lawyers can be a crucial step in securing justice and compensation for the affected resident. Here’s how Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawyers at Munley Law can help you:

Free Consultation and Case Evaluation

The lawyers offer an initial free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case, providing an opportunity to understand the legal options available without any financial commitment. They evaluate any evidence you might already have and advise on the strength of your case. The team explains the legal process, what you can expect, and how to proceed with a claim for nursing home abuse.

Comprehensive Investigation of Suspected Abuse

Nursing home abuse attorneys will collect detailed evidence to support the claim, including medical records, eyewitness statements, and expert testimony. They work to identify all potential defendants, including individual caregivers, nursing home staff, and the facility itself.

The legal team will assess the type and extent of abuse or neglect, employing medical experts if necessary to provide insight into the injuries and their impact on the victim’s life.

Filing Legal Claims Against Negligent Nursing Homes and Staff

Legal Documentation: Lawyers will prepare and file all necessary documents to initiate a lawsuit against the responsible parties. They ensure that your claim is filed within Pennsylvania’s legal deadlines for nursing home abuse cases. Throughout the legal process, your lawyer acts as your advocate, ensuring your voice is heard and your interests are represented.

Seeking Compensation for Damages

Our legal team will accurately calculate the total damages, including medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, and other related expenses. Nursing home abuse lawyers often negotiate with the opposing parties to reach a settlement that adequately compensates for the damages without the need for a trial.

Our experience and negotiating skills aim to secure the highest possible compensation for the victim and their family.

Representing Clients in Negotiations and Court Proceedings

The lawyers will handle all negotiations to reach a fair settlement before the case goes to trial. Suppose a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached. In that case, your legal team is prepared to represent you in court, presenting your case with compelling evidence and expert testimony to seek a favorable judgment. Throughout the entire process, from the initial consultation to the final resolution of your case, we provide continuous support, keeping you informed and involved at every step.

By leveraging their specialized knowledge and experience in Pennsylvania nursing home abuse cases, lawyers from Munley Law can provide comprehensive legal support, helping to alleviate the burden on victims and their families while pursuing justice and compensation for the harm suffered.

Pennsylvania Nursing Home Resources

Here are some resources to learn about nursing home regulations, reports, etc. 

Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse FAQs

How Do I Report Suspected Nursing Home Abuse?

If you suspect abuse or neglect at a nursing home in Pennsylvania, you can contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health Division of Nursing Care Facilities and file an official complaint.

If you believe your loved one may be in immediate danger, call 911. 

To file a complaint:

  • call the Department of Aging’s 24-hour hotline at 1-800-490-8505 to report suspected abuse
  • call 1-800-254-5164 to report a concern about the safety or conditions of a nursing home
  • use the online complaint form
  • email [email protected]
  • send mail to:
  • Division of Nursing Care Facilities Director

Pennsylvania Department of Health
Division of Nursing Care Facilities
625 Forster St., Room 526, Health and Welfare Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0701
fax 717-772-2163

Is Nursing Home Neglect a Crime?

Personal injury lawyers Caroline Munley and Chris MunleyIn Pennsylvania, nursing home neglect can be considered a crime under certain circumstances. The state takes the well-being and protection of nursing home residents seriously, and laws are in place to address neglect, abuse, and exploitation of older and dependent adults.

Pennsylvania law, specifically under the Older Adults Protective Services Act (OAPSA), provides a framework for the protection of older adults (aged 60 and over) from abuse, neglect, exploitation, and abandonment. 

Criminal neglect in the context of a nursing home involves situations where the care provided falls significantly below the standard required and results in harm or a risk of serious harm to the resident. It can include failure to provide basic needs such as food, water, medication, medical care, hygiene, and protection from health and safety hazards.

The penalties for individuals found guilty of neglecting nursing home residents can vary, depending on the severity of the neglect and the specific circumstances. It can range from misdemeanors for less severe neglect to felonies for severe neglect that results in serious injury or death. 

What Federal Laws Protect Nursing Home Patients’ Rights?

The 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law, officially known as the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA-87), establishes the standards of care and rights for residents in nursing homes that accept Medicare and Medicaid. It outlines services that must be provided, mandates individual care plans, and specifies residents’ rights, including the right to be treated with dignity, privacy, communication, and the right to manage one’s affairs. 

The law also states the requirements for sufficient staffing and the qualifications of nursing home staff. It mandates that a registered nurse (RN) must be on duty 24 hours daily in facilities with more than 120 beds. 

Contact Munley Law for a Free Consultation

If your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect at a Pennsylvania nursing home facility, contact the experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at Munley Law for a free consultation today. 

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