Pittsburgh Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Pennsylvania Lawyers Committed to Protecting Victims of Nursing Home Neglect in Allegheny County and Throughout Western Pennsylvania
At Goodrich & Geist, P.C., our compassionate and experienced Pittsburgh nursing home abuse lawyers are here to help you evaluate whether your loved one is suffering from nursing home neglect, stop that neglect from occurring, and hold the responsible parties financially accountable. We offer a free initial consultation, so you have nothing to lose, and potentially everything to gain in protecting your loved one from nursing home neglect.
Nursing home neglect can be notoriously difficult to detect—even the most diligent visitors may be uncertain whether what they are witnessing constitutes neglect or simply the natural physical or mental decline of their loved one. While subject to strict and extensive regulations, nursing homes are often understaffed, and those staff members available may not have the training or resources necessary to ensure residents receive proper care.
Remember, your loved one may be suffering from nursing home neglect even after historically displaying the strongest will and personality imaginable—and even if you have taken every possible precaution to prevent such a situation from occurring. Also remember that it’s important not to wait for your loved one to come forward with a complaint, because many nursing home residents may be embarrassed or even afraid to report the neglect.
Identifying and Preventing Neglect in Nursing Homes
Nursing home abuse itself can take on any number of forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and even financial abuse. However, nursing home neglect is often significantly more subtle—which means that it can be difficult to even be certain whether the neglect is taking place. While every case is different, some signs of nursing home abuse to watch for include:
- Sudden or significant weight loss,
- Changes in mood, behavior or temperament,
- Lack of appetite (which can indicate depression),
- Broken bones or bruising, or other unexplained, frequent or suspicious injuries, which can indicate your loved one is not receiving necessary help with mobility—and can also signal outright abuse,
- Errors with medications,
- Unsanitary conditions in the nursing home itself,
- Poor hygiene or changes in hygiene generally,
- Bedsores, especially in residents with limited mobility, which may indicate that your loved one is either being inappropriately confined to a bed or is not being moved properly to prevent these dangerous sores from developing.
Dedicated Attorneys Hold Nursing Homes Accountable for Patient Neglect
At Goodrich & Geist, P.C., our skilled Pittsburgh nursing home abuse lawyers know that nursing home neglect can lead to long-term physical and mental complications. What begins as a small issue can quickly escalate into a problem that can dramatically impact your loved one’s health and overall quality of life even after being removed from the negligent nursing home. We fight to hold negligent nursing homes fully accountable based upon the theory that they either knew, or should have known, that their staff members were neglecting patients. This can be accomplished by showing:
- An outright violation of federal or state nursing home safety regulations,
- Failure to hire and train qualified staff, or failure to provide sufficient staffing,
- Failure to oversee staff by implementing quality control procedures (in other words, failure to appropriately monitor their facilities for problems),
- Failure to allocate resources sufficient to maintain equipment or facilities in a sanitary manner.
Assuming the nursing home receives funds from Medicare or Medicaid—as almost all nursing homes do—they are required under federal law to provide care that treats nursing home residents with dignity and respect (and Pennsylvania law subjects all nursing homes in the state to this requirement). You likely also entered into a contract with the nursing home that requires provision of a certain level or type of care. Our experienced Pittsburgh nursing home abuse lawyers will look to all available avenues for recovering compensation to help your loved one recover from the neglect, as well as to deter the nursing home from neglecting residents in the future.
Contact Our Skilled Pittsburgh Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers for a Free Consultation to Discuss Options in Your Case
If you even suspect that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect in the Pittsburgh area, don’t wait for conditions to deteriorate further. Our experienced Pittsburgh nursing home abuse lawyers are qualified to interpret the signs of neglect and conduct the needed investigation to determine whether additional action is justified—whether in the form of legal action or simply removing your loved one from the situation. We provide all potential clients with a free initial case evaluation, so call or contact us online today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Claims in Allegheny County and Across Western Pennsylvania
Many families who have made the difficult decision to place a loved one in the care of a nursing home may eventually find themselves questioning the level of care provided. If you are in this situation, you might be uncertain whether nursing home abuse and neglect is taking place or how to take legal action to hold the responsible parties accountable.
Below, we answer some common questions and discuss some of the most important issues for families who suspect their loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse and neglect. For more detailed information specific to your case, call Goodrich & Geist, P.C. to schedule a free consultation with our respected Pittsburgh personal injury lawyers.
If you believe your loved one is in immediate danger, you should call 911 to report your suspicions immediately. However, many cases of nursing home abuse and neglect are much more subtle. You should:
– Speak with an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer, who can help you understand your rights and how to proceed to determine whether your suspicions are true,
– Report your suspicions to your local Ombudsman’s office in Pennsylvania or the Pennsylvania Department of Health Nursing Home hotline (this report will trigger a state investigation into the nursing home’s practices),
– Speak with the nursing home administrator, who may be unaware that the abuse or neglect is taking place,
– Remain especially involved in your loved one’s well-being until the investigation has concluded.
Know that it is illegal for the nursing home to retaliate in any way against your loved one after you have reported the suspected abuse. However, to prevent any further harm, it is important to keep in close contact to monitor your loved one’s condition if you are not financially able to relocate to another nursing home.
Under both state and federal law, Pennsylvania nursing homes have a duty to treat residents with “dignity and respect.” That means that the nursing home has a duty to ensure that residents are receiving the proper level of care by:
– Ensuring the nursing home is properly staffed,
– Ensuring the nursing home is equipped with all necessary equipment,
– Providing nursing home staff members with appropriate training,
– Enacting rules to ensure proper supervision of staff members to prevent abuse and neglect.
Failure to ensure that nursing home residents receive care can subject the nursing home to liability under both federal and state law. Further, the nursing home may have provided you with a contract specifying the level of care that your loved one will receive. Failure to adhere to the terms of the contract could also generate liability under a breach of contract theory of law.
Nursing home abuse is a term used to describe intentional acts of abuse. That abuse can take any number of forms, including:
– Physical abuse,
– Emotional abuse, psychological abuse, and humiliation,
– Sexual abuse,
– Financial abuse.
Neglect happens when the nursing home staff fails to provide your loved one with the appropriate level of care. Examples of nursing home neglect may include:
– Failure to provide adequate food or water,
– Failure to administer medications properly,
– Poor sanitary conditions,
– Failure to provide the help your loved one needs to move from one place to another,
– Failure to take steps to protect your loved one’s physical safety.
The signs of nursing home abuse and neglect can vary substantially. Depending upon the circumstances, any of the following can signal abuse or neglect:
– Unusual weight loss,
– Sudden changes in your loved one’s behavior or moods,
– Unexplained injuries, including bruises, broken bones or bedsores,
– Unusual financial transactions,
– Unexplained withdrawal from normal daily activities, whether in the form of failure to communicate with loved ones or socialize with friends or residents.
Yes, you can file a lawsuit based upon nursing home neglect, nursing home abuse, or both.
Even if your loved one was in relatively poor health when entering the nursing home, you are still entitled to recover compensation for any medical conditions or mental health issues caused by nursing home neglect. Although most nursing home residents do not qualify for compensation for lost wages (assuming they are in long-term care and not employed), compensation for pain and suffering, and the humiliation caused by nursing home neglect can be substantial. In particularly egregious cases, we can even fight to recover compensation specifically designed to punish the nursing home for its failures if the actions involved were willful or demonstrated a reckless disregard for your loved one’s safety.
Ultimately, the nursing home or corporation that owns the nursing home is the entity that profits from your loved one’s presence in the nursing home. As such, it is responsible, as an employer, for monitoring what is happening in the facility itself—and is responsible for any negligent actions of the nursing home employees that occur in the course of employment with the nursing home. This makes sense because, except in cases of outright abuse, much nursing home neglect does not occur because staff members are bad people, but rather because they lack the training necessary to know what constitutes adequate care or lack the resources to provide that care.
In many cases, nursing home abuse and neglect are caused by:
– Shortages in nursing home staff,
– Failure to properly maintain the nursing home facilities,
– Inadequate screening when hiring nursing home staff,
– Failure to properly train or supervise staff members.
While there are any number of reasons nursing home abuse or neglect may occur, many cases are caused by the nursing home allocating inadequate resources to the home.
Yes. Our experienced wrongful death lawyers can fight to hold the nursing home financially accountable for your loved one’s death. Generally, the administrator of the estate will file the lawsuit. Our lawyers can help you understand the process for filing a wrongful death claim based on nursing home abuse and neglect.
Our lawyers work on a contingency basis, so you pay our attorneys’ fees out of any settlement award in your case. That means that you are not required to pay anything upfront and if we are unable to recover compensation, you don’t pay attorneys’ fees.
Contact Our Compassionate Pittsburgh, PA Injury Lawyers if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Today
Time really is of the essence in nursing home abuse and neglect cases. The sooner we begin to investigate your claim, the sooner we can help get your loved one out of a potentially dangerous situation. To learn more about our practice and how we can help get compensation for your loved one’s suffering, call our Pittsburgh-based nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers or fill out this online contact form today.