Lehigh County Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Sadly, elder abuse is a widespread problem in nursing homes and assisted living facilities throughout Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. While precise statistics are largely unavailable due to under-reporting by victims, major studies conducted by the National Center on Elder Abuse estimate as many as one in ten senior citizens will suffer abuse or neglect in the course of a year.
If you’re worried that your parent, grandparent, or elderly loved one is being neglected or intentionally mistreated at his or her facility, nursing home abuse attorney Brent Wieand can help. Brent is the founder of The Nursing Home Injury Help Center, and was recently named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars,” an honor bestowed upon fewer than 3% of all Pennsylvania attorneys.
Your family may be eligible for compensation to help offset your pain, suffering, and financial losses, so contact our team at (215) 666-7777 today to speak more about your legal rights in a free and private case evaluation.
Common Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Neglect, or negligence, means that a resident’s caregivers failed to live up to health and safety standards delineated by state and/or federal law. Negligence often amounts to carelessness, forgetfulness, or a lack of adequate training. By contrast, abuse refers to the deliberate and intentional infliction of harm, and may be physical, emotional, sexual, or even financial in nature.
Even though negligence is not necessarily malicious like outright abuse, the resulting injuries and illnesses can be just as severe. In extreme cases, negligence can even result in the accidental death of the resident. Some common red flags and warning signs for abuse and neglect include:
- Bed Sores — Bed sores, or pressure ulcers, usually form because a caregiver fails to move and clean a bed-bound resident. Bed sores usually affect bony areas, such as wrists and ankles.
- Bone Fractures — Bone breaks and fractures typically result from either falls or physical abuse. While broken bones are painful inconveniences for young people, they are even more serious for the elderly, who have weakened immune systems and reduced bone density.
- Amputations — When illnesses such as diabetes become very advanced, it may be necessary to amputate a foot or leg. However, amputations are an extreme measure, and nursing homes should monitor and manage diabetes well before amputation becomes necessary.
- Emotional Changes — If you notice your loved one exhibiting unusual or uncharacteristic behavior, it may be their way of responding to abuse. Be on the lookout for sudden irritability, depression, crying fits, anxiety, fearfulness, and social withdrawal.
- Infections — Even the smallest and most harmless cut or sore can become life-threatening if an infection takes hold. Nursing home medical staff are responsible for diagnosing and treating wounds and infections in a timely and appropriate manner.
- Weight Loss — Unless a disease is responsible, weight loss is a warning sign that your loved one is eating less. Many elderly people need help feeding themselves, and nursing homes are obligated to provide nutritionally balanced meals. Weight loss may be a red flag for malnutrition or other negligent care.
Brent handles claims related to all of the above issues, in addition to claims involving:
- Wrongful Death
- Wandering and Elopement
- Medication and Dosage Errors
How Long Do I Have to File an Injury or Wrongful Death Claim?
Unfortunately, you only have a limited amount of time in which to file a claim against an assisted living facility. This limited amount of time is known as the statute of limitations — and if it expires, you will lose your legal recourse forever. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits is two years, beginning from the date the victim was injured. Pennsylvania’s time limit for wrongful death actions is also two years, beginning from the date of death.
While two years may sound like more than enough time to follow up on your issue, it’s very important that you consult with a Lehigh County nursing home abuse lawyer immediately. Not only will this help protect your loved one from further harm, it will also allow greater time to conduct an investigation into the injury or death.
If you’re concerned about your loved one’s safety, the time to act is now. To speak privately with Brent in a free consultation, call The Nursing Home Injury Help Center at (215) 666-7777 right away, or fill out our web form to get started.
Disclosure: Attorney Brent Wieand’s office is located in Philadelphia, PA. We happily serve clients throughout all of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.