Erie County Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Nursing home abuse is a far more common problem than many people initially realize. Every year, tens of thousands of senior citizens are neglected or even deliberately abused by the very caregivers who are supposed to tend to their health and safety. Assisted living facilities and nursing homes right here in Erie County may not be providing the degree of care your loved one deserves by law.
If you’re concerned that your loved one has been victimized by abuse or neglect, or if you think that his or her care facility is violating any laws or regulations, it is very important to consult with experienced legal representation as soon as you possibly can. Your parent or grandparent’s safety could be in jeopardy, so don’t wait for the situation to escalate.
To set up a free and private legal consultation, call attorney Brent Wieand at (215) 666-7777 today.
Proving Liability in Neglect and Injury Claims
Neglect and abuse can both cause devastating injury, illness, or even wrongful death.
Abuse means that a caregiver intentionally harms a resident under his or her care. Abuse can be physical, verbal, sexual, or even financial in cases where a caregiver exploits the resident’s credit cards, bank accounts, or benefits.
By contrast, neglect or negligence means that a caregiver failed to meet the standard of care provided for by state law, federal law, or the protocols normally observed within the industry. Abuse can manifest as neglect, but in many cases, negligence occurs because the home has not hired enough staff members or purchased enough supplies to adequately care for each and every resident.
In order to be successful with a personal injury or wrongful death claim, it must be proven that:
- The defendant (i.e. the nursing home) owed a “duty of care” to the plaintiff (i.e. the resident).
- The defendant acted recklessly, unlawfully, or negligently (i.e. was abusive or neglectful).
- The defendant’s conduct caused death or serious harm to the plaintiff.
Common Warning Signs of Negligent Elder Care
The majority of nursing homes in the United States are for-profit businesses. Sadly, the result is that many facilities place protecting their bottom line over the comfort and safety of their residents. Driven by financial imperatives rather than concern for their patients, elder care facilities frequently fail to hire sufficient staff, fail to properly train their staff, or neglect to conduct basic background checks on employees who later cause harm to innocent residents.
However, abuse and neglect are not always as obvious as a black eye or a broken bone, and the red flags can be easy to miss if you do not know what to look for — particularly because the victims seldom speak up about the mistreatment. It is extremely important to be able to recognize some of the common warning signs that your loved one is being abused or neglected, so that you can remove them from the dangerous situation as soon as possible. Signs to look out for include:
- Bed Sores — Bed sores, or pressure ulcers, are among the most common personal injury claims we see at The Nursing Home Injury Help Center. Bed sores usually occur on bony areas such as hips and ankles, and can be prevented if staff members change sheets and turn bed-ridden residents regularly.
- Frequent Falls — Falls are sometimes accidental, but are entirely preventable in other cases. Nursing homes must provide close supervision and any walking equipment seniors with mobility issues need to move around safely. Hip fractures are a common consequence, as well as injuries to the face and wrists.
- Malnutrition and Dehydration — Elderly people sometimes need help drinking and feeding themselves because of issues with motor control or memory. When nursing home staff are abusive or forgetful, residents can become dehydrated or malnourished, resulting in weakness, fatigue, and a weakened immune system.
- Elopement (Wandering) — A sizable portion of nursing home residents suffer from mental conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, and must be watched closely for their own safety. Patients with these sorts of illnesses must be supervised very closely because they can be robbed, assaulted, struck by vehicles, or become lost if they wander off facility grounds. When a patient does “elope” from a home, careless supervision — or even a complete lack of supervision — is often to blame.
- Medication and Dosage Errors — Most senior citizens take at least one daily medication, often for serious and life-threatening conditions. If a nursing home’s medical team makes a dosage error, gives the wrong medication to the wrong patient, or forgets to administer medication at the right time, the results could be catastrophic. Other medication errors include failure to obtain a detailed medical history, failure to avoid dangerous drug interactions, or failure to change or discontinue a dangerous dosage.
- Limb Amputations — Many elderly people suffer from health conditions which cause extremely poor circulation, with the most common example being diabetes. In most cases, diabetes is a manageable illness which can be eased by exercise, medication, a healthy diet, and of course, vigilant medical attention. If your loved one had to have a foot or leg amputated because of advanced diabetes, there’s a possibility that the nursing home medical staff was negligent and failed to monitor the disease.
Contact Nursing Home Attorney Brent Wieand
If you’re worried that your loved one has been the victim of a serious injury or wrongful death at his or her Erie County care facility, our legal team can help. For a free and confidential case evaluation, call nursing home abuse lawyer Brent Wieand right away at (215) 666-7777.
Disclosure: Attorney Brent Wieand’s office is located in Philadelphia, PA. He proudly serves clients throughout all of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.