Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in Pittsburgh
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Defining Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 10 seniors have experienced abuse while staying at a nursing home, assisted living facility, or skilled nursing care center. In addition to physical and sexual abuse, seniors often face neglect when nursing homes have been negligent, including dehydration and malnutrition – which are experienced by 6 in 10 of nursing home residents. Now that over 40 million people are over the age of 65 and over 3 million of them are in nursing homes, millions of people could be at risk of serious injury and death in a nursing facility.
Despite the prevalence of nursing home abuse, few cases are actually brought to the family’s attention in time for them to prevent injury or secure better care. That’s why it’s crucial to check for the signs of abuse regularly and stay vigilant against neglect, so that you can hold caregivers accountable when they fail to protect your loved one.
Here are some actions that can constitute nursing home abuse or negligence:
- Starvation and dehydration
- Hospitalization for preventable injuries
- Financial abuse
- Sepsis and septic shock
- Bed sores (pressure ulcers)
- Medication errors
- Lack of personal hygiene care
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Lack of supervision
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse?
The signs of nursing home abuse and neglect can range from the very serious to the very subtle. While your loved one’s injuries may not be apparent or catastrophic at first, minor injuries that are left untreated can quickly spiral into a life-threatening condition – for example, a pressure ulcer that begins to show the bone and cause bloodstream infections.
In general, you want to keep an eye out when you visit your loved one’s nursing home, and ask the staff members a lot of questions. If they always seem rushed or irritated, it could be a sign of understaffing, which often invites neglect and abuse. You should also watch your loved one and other residents for indications of fear around the staff.
Some of the most common signs of nursing home abuse include:
- Unexplained sores, bruises, or cuts
- Dull or papery skin, from dehydration
- Lack of engagement or interest in their surroundings
- Fear and anxiety around caregivers
- Sudden mood and personality changes
- Unexplained injuries, especially from falling
- Repeated hospitalizations for minor injuries
- Lack of supervision
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Nursing Home Abuse?
If you’ve discovered that your loved one has been enduring abuse, negligence, and carelessness at their nursing home, you may feel understandably outraged and desire to pursue a lawsuit against the facility. Under Pennsylvania law, you are entitled to bring a lawsuit under the same statutes for the majority of personal injury legal cases. Section 5524 of the Pennsylvania Code clearly states that you have two years after the date of injury or wrongful death to bring a lawsuit.