PA Attorney General Sues Nursing Homes
Pennsylvania nursing homes have been under fire for a failure to provide routine care for their residents. Between 2014 and 2016, the Attorney General's
office filed three lawsuits against large nursing home chains Golden Living, Reliant, and Grane Health Care. The suits alleged that despite accepting millions of dollars in federal aid for programs like Medicare and Medicaid, they failed to even provide basic services.
These chains made use of big marketing budgets to misrepresent portray a large staff capable of meeting the needs of many elderly residents. Apparently, acquiring new business and maximizing profits takes precedence over providing the care our elderly citizens need in the twilight of their years.
The attorneys general teamed up with private law firms to file these suits. It's taken far too long for someone to stand up and demand accountability from nursing homes and care facilities, but thankfully we have the public and private sector coming together to fight back against these injustices.
In October of 2016, Reliant agreed on a settlement for $2 million. Hopefully, more public and private representatives are encouraged to hold nursing homes more accountable for a high standard of care.
Common Warning Signs
In some cases, an elderly patient may not speak up about the neglect they're facing. This could be because of fear of repercussions or an inability to communicate effectively because of cognitive impairments such as dementia or Alzheimers.
If you've noticed any of the following warning signs in your loved one, you may want to consider the possibility of elder neglect:
Poor hygiene is usually easy to spot. You're probably aware of what your elderly loved one is capable of. If a nursing home resident is suffering from hygiene issues, it is almost never their own fault.
Take a careful look around the facility any time you visit. If you notice any unsanitary living conditions, don't be afraid to call out the staff. Specifically, check the bedding, clothing, and bathroom and kitchen areas.
Sudden Weight Loss
Malnutrition and dehydration are not easy to hide. If you've noticed a significant weight loss since your loved one has been admitted, something is wrong. Speak up, consider moving your relative, and speak with an experienced nursing home neglect lawyer.
While it's normal for our elders to have limited mobility in their later years, nursing home staffs are expected to treat this. An adequately staffed home will help their patients through range-of-motion exercises and other physical activities. It's important for the elderly to engage in some form of regular physical activity if they're capable of it.
Unexplained physical injuries are almost always a red flag. If a nursing home is providing proper care, there should be almost no risk of patients ending up with broken bones, bruises, or head and back injuries. Patients who are at risk of injuring themselves in falls and other accidents should always be accompanied by a staff member when moving throughout the facility.
Moving into a home is never easy for either side. While emotional difficulties are normal after being separated from loved ones, extreme issues are often the product of neglect. If you've noticed sudden mood changes such as fearfulness, anger, or a lack of trust, you may be witnessing psychological byproducts of neglect.
Should I Consider A Lawsuit?
If you have even the slightest inkling that your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected, you should take action. Discuss the matter with your loved one and encourage them to be open and honest with you. Let them know that you're prepared to do everything in your power to fix this problem.
Removing your loved one from the facility is a crucial first step. But the fight for justice doesn't end here. As a society, we must demand that our elderly citizens are treated with the respect they deserve.
A successful lawsuit not only provides your loved one and family with the compensation you deserve, it also demands accountability from all nursing home facilities. It shouldn't take financial repercussions for these facilities to provide quality care, but seeing a headline about a $2 million nursing home settlement can be pretty motivating.
Which Type of Lawsuit?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may wish to pursue either a medical malpractice or a personal injury claim. Malpractice claims are appropriate if a healthcare professional has acted neglectfully; such as a doctor who failed to prescribe the correct medication. Personal injury claims are applicable if an unsafe condition caused your loved one's injury, such as a slip and fall on a wet floor.
To find out more about your options for protecting your loved one and demanding nursing home accountability, contact Monheit Law today for a free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis - that means that you don't pay a dime until we earn justice for your loved one.