The Wilkes-Barre nursing home abuse lawyers at Munley Law hold negligent facilities accountable
We all want our elderly family members to receive the love, care, and attention that they need. Many of us turn to healthcare facilities like nursing homes or assisted living residences in order to make sure that loved ones who can no longer take care of themselves are safe and healthy.
Tragically, elder abuse is a prevalent problem in many nursing homes. This abuse is more prevalent that many believe–1 out of every 3 nursing homes in the United States has been issued a citation for the abuse of residents.
Luzerne County is home to a number of assisted living and long-term care facilities. These places have a duty to uphold a standard of care and to protect their residents from harm. If the facility fails to meet standards and your loved one gets hurt or becomes sick, that facility should be held legally responsible.
It is unacceptable that our elders should suffer from nursing home abuse and neglect simply because they are vulnerable. At Munley Law, fighting for the vulnerable is what we do. If you know or suspect that someone you love has been mistreated by the retirement facility where they reside, call our nursing home lawyers at Munley Law today. For over 60 years, our experienced attorneys have fought on behalf of victims and their families. Call or fill out our online form for a free consultation today. Together with a doctor on our staff, one of our personal injury and malpractice lawyers will review your situation for free. And there’s no fee unless we win your case.
Do I have a case against the nursing home?
Long-term care facilities (also called nursing homes, assisted living facilities, retirement homes, and elder care facilities) have a duty to provide a safe environment for their residents and uphold a standard of medical care. When caregivers or their employers fail to meet this standard, they must be held legally accountable. Typically, accountability comes in the form of monetary compensation for the family. Compensation may include reimbursement for medical expenses and therapy, pain and suffering and other related damages. A lawsuit also serves to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions and help prevent future abuses.
An experienced nursing home abuse lawyer at Munley Law can make sure your loved one gets justice. Our attorneys have earned recognition nationwide as leaders in handling complex personal injury cases. Together with our dedicated, compassionate legal staff, we have won groundbreaking victories on behalf of our clients. The nursing home abuse lawyers at our firm have earned the industry’s highest ethical and professional standing including AV-Preeminent ratings and a Platinum-Level Client Service Award from Martindale-Hubbell.
Someone I love lives in a long-term residential healthcare facility in Wilkes-Barre. How do I know if they are being abused or a victim of nursing home neglect?
“Nursing home abuse” is a blanket term that describes a range of harms. The first step to stopping abuse or neglect of assisted living facility residents is recognizing the signs and symptoms.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect: Neglect is one of the most common types of elder abuse, but according to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), it is the most unreported type of nursing home abuse, with just 1 out of every 57 cases being reported. Still, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime, nursing home neglect accounts for 14% of complaints against residential healthcare facilities, and one study found that in a 12-month period, over 20% of nursing home residents were neglected on at least one occasion.
If your loved one appears as if they are not regularly showering, brushing their teach, wearing clean clothes, eating and drinking enough, these may be signs of neglect. Erratic behavior or sudden medical changes can also signal that medications are being improperly or inconsistently administered. Bed sores, abrasions, bruises and broken bones can also be symptoms of neglect.
Signs of Physical Abuse: According to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO), 9.3% of nursing home staff admitted to physically abusing residents. However, the DOJ reports that only 5% of instances of physical abuse are reported.
Signs of physical abuse include broken bones, burns, hair loss, damage or loss of teeth, sprains, bruises, lacerations, and dislocated joints. These are serious cases of nursing home abuse and neglect and should be reported.
Signs of Sexual Abuse: According to the DOJ and WHO, sexual abuse of nursing home residents is the least reported type of abuse. Alarmingly, hundreds of facilities where abuse is reported have received multiple citations for sexual abuse of residents.
Many residents are impaired such that they cannot verbally report sexual abuse. Signs of sexual abuse include bruising and scratches, especially in areas of the body that are near the genitals, pelvic fractures, problems walking or sitting, sudden mood changes, increased anxiety and agitation, and the emergence of a sexually transmitted infection.
Signs of Financial Abuse: Unlike the other types of nursing home abuse, spotting financial abuse likely requires family members to regularly check residents’ financial accounts and legal documents. Signs of financial abuse include unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts or ATMs, especially if the resident is bedridden. Other signs include changes to wills, power of attorney, property titles, and life insurance policies. When reviewing credit card and bank statements, closely monitor subscriptions or purchases that would not make sense for your loved one to buy or need. Finally, nursing home residents should be wary of keeping large amounts of cash in their rooms.
Emotional Abuse: Observing how nursing home staff interact with residents can also reveal emotional abuse. If you see a staff member belittling, mocking, scaring, or threatening any healthcare facility resident, you should report it immediately.
What Should I Do If I Suspect that Someone I Love Is Being Abused at a Wilkes-Barre Nursing Home?
If you are seeing the signs of neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, or emotional abuse, you should not wait to act. As soon as you observe any symptoms, you should take the following actions:
Stay Calm–Realizing that the staff entrusted with your loved one’s daily care may be perpetrating abuse can understandably provoke an emotional response, but it is imperative that you stay relaxed and rational so that you can respond appropriately.
If Possible, Speak with your Loved One About Your Concerns–If your loved one is able to communicate, carefully and evenly ask them about the signs of abuse you observed and their relationships with the nursing home staff, medical team, other residents, and frequent visitors. Document their response and note the date of the conversation.
Question Nursing Home Staff and Administration About the Signs of Abuse–Calmly bring any physical injuries or other symptoms of abuse to the attention of the healthcare facility’s staff and management and ask for an explanation. Again, document their response and note the date of the conversation.
Take Photos–Take photos of any physical signs of harm and anything in your loved one’s room that looks amiss.
In Case of Clear or Imminent Danger, Call the Police–If you have reason to suspect or know that a nursing home resident is facing or will face imminent harm, provide a detailed account to the authorities immediately.
Consult an Experienced Attorney–Your loved ones are entitled to feel safe and protected at the long-term healthcare facility where they live. Understanding elder abuse laws in your state, which protections apply to your family member, and whether the person you love is entitled to compensation for the harm they suffered can be complex and difficult to navigate alone.
For over 60 years, our Nursing Home Abuse Team at Munley Law has fought for victims of abuse and their families. We want to help you make sure that any assisted living facilities staff members who abuse and neglect or take advantage of elderly residents are held accountable and that your loved one can get the care that they deserve. If someone you love resides in a long term care home in Luzerne County and you suspect that they may be the victim of neglect or physical, emotional, financial, or sexual abuse, don’t wait! Call a Munley Law personal injury lawyer for a free consultation today.