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Reading Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

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The decision to move oneself or a parent or grandparent into a retirement home or long-term care facility is rarely an easy one. You want the best care possible for your loved one, and to trust that their caregivers will treat them with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Every year, nursing home residents across Pennsylvania suffer from abuse and neglect at the hands of their caregivers. This might happen for a variety of reasons. Many elder care facilities are short on resources, understaffed, and experience high turnover. Staff members may be insufficiently trained or inexperienced. The reporting and inspections designed to keep people safe can be inconsistent. In these situations, neglect and abuse can lead to life-threatening injuries and illnesses. The National Center on Elder Abuse found more than 180,000 instances of elder abuse each year in the U.S., but they also emphasize that elder abuse is extremely underreported, so the numbers are probably much higher.

If you suspect that your loved one has been neglected or abused at a long-term care facility in Reading or Berks County, a nursing home abuse lawyer at Munley Law can fight for the justice your family deserves. We hold negligent facilities accountable and uphold elders’ legal rights. Contact us today for a free, private consultation with a Reading nursing home abuse attorney.

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Rights of Nursing Home Residents in Reading, PA

reading nursing home abuse lawyerWhen someone enters a nursing home, they often find themselves in a very vulnerable state. It is important to know that your loved one has rights under the law that their caregivers at the nursing home must uphold and protect.

Residents of nursing homes and elder care facilities have certain rights outlined by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. These rights include:

  • The right to be informed about their medical conditions and treatment and to participate in their own plan of care. Residents must be given the opportunity to participate in developing their care plan, and have the right to refuse care.
  • The right to choose one’s own doctor and pharmacy.
  • The right to be informed in writing about the facility’s policies and about any charges incurred for services rendered.
  • The right to privacy, including the confidentiality of medical information
  • The right to manage one’s own personal finances. In the event that the nursing home has been placed in charge of the resident’s finances, the resident has the right to remain informed and to receive regular updates about their financial situation.
  • The right to be treated with dignity and respect
  • The right to be free from mental, physical, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and involuntary seclusion
  • The right to make an official complaint without retaliation.
  • The right to communicate confidentially with others

Nursing home residents also have the right to sue if they suffer from abuse or neglect at their facility. If your loved one is not capable of pursuing legal action on their own behalf, they may designate someone to do so for them (often called “power of attorney”).

Know the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

There are many different kinds of elder abuse that take place at nursing homes. Nursing home residents can be subjected to physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, and financial abuse. Abuse can take the form of overt acts of violence, as well as failure to provide adequate care and attention.

Signs of abuse and neglect in nursing homes include:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, sprains, or broken bones in various stages of healing
  • Bedsores
  • Falls
  • Unexplained venereal disease or infections
  • Sudden changes in behavior or mood
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Staff refusing to allow visitors to see resident or delays in allowing visitors to see resident
  • Staff not allowing the resident to be alone with the visitor
  • The resident being kept in an over-medicated state
  • Loss of resident’s possessions
  • Poor hygiene
  • Sudden large withdrawals from bank accounts or changes in banking practices
  • Abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents
  • Deliberate lack of communication between caregivers and patient’s family members
  • Nursing home staff being uncooperative or evasive

In the most tragic cases, neglect or abuse can be fatal. If you believe that negligence at a nursing home caused your loved one’s death, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility and/or the individuals responsible for their care.

What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse in Reading

Reading Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If you suspect that your family member is suffering from abuse, neglect, or improper care at a Reading nursing home, you have the right to take action. These are the steps you can take to protect your loved one and begin the legal process.

First, report the suspected abuse to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. Provide as much detail as possible. You will likely hear from an ombudsman who will follow up with you and conduct a more thorough investigation.

Document all of your concerns and any communication you have with nursing home staff. If you are hearing complaints or stories of abuse and neglect from your loved one directly, record their statements in as much detail as possible.

If you can, collect your loved one’s medical records and most recent prescription information.

If you believe your loved one is in imminent danger, you may have them removed from the facility and/or contact the police.

Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer about your concerns. There is no charge and no risk in meeting with a nursing home abuse lawyer, and the consultation may provide you with the information and the peace of mind you need to move forward. During our initial meeting, we will answer your questions, give you advice based on the information we have gathered, and explain your options. If you choose to move forward, we will get to work right away.

Reading Nursing Home Abuse FAQs

How do I report nursing home abuse or neglect in Reading, Pennsylvania?

The first step in reporting nursing home abuse and holding the facility legally accountable is to make an official complaint with the Pennsylvania Department of Aging.

What is an ombudsman?

The Pennsylvania State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program under the Pennsylvania Department of Aging contracts with 52 Area Agencies on Aging to provide Ombudsman services throughout the Commonwealth. An ombudsman is a trained individual who helps protect the rights of Pennsylvanians living in long-term care facilities. The ombudsman investigates claims of abuse and neglect and works closely with families as well as local law enforcement and other community entities.

Is nursing home abuse the same as medical malpractice?

Nursing home neglect and medical negligence are different types of legal cases. Medical malpractice can take place at a nursing home. For example, if the medical personnel at the facility committed negligence in giving your loved one the wrong medication or wrong dosage, misdiagnosed their condition, or failed to provide adequate medical treatment, that may be considered malpractice. A Reading nursing home abuse lawyer at Munley Law will review your situation in detail to identify all defendants and determine the best course of action.

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