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Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Western PA

Pittsburgh injury law firm

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of Nursing Care Facilities, as of December 31, 2006, there were 725 facilities with a total bed capacity of greater than 89,000.

When choosing a nursing home, residents, their families, and their loved ones make their best efforts to choose a facility that meets the residents’ needs. Sometimes, however, the facility and its employees fail to live up to those expectations. When this situation occurs, residents can feel ashamed, helpless and alone. Families may be unaware of the situations occurring at the nursing facility.

Signs of nursing home abuse

Some signs of nursing home abuse can be apparent, and visible to the naked eye. Those signs include bruises, broken bones and bedsores.

Some signs of nursing home neglect, however, can be more subtle, but just as serious. Those signs include: lack of food or water, lack of cleanliness of the patient and/or the facility, and lack of ambulatory assistance of patients, resulting in falls and injuries associated with falls, such as broken hips, legs, or arms, bruising, abrasions, and lacerations. A nursing home can be liable for injuries to its residents whether or not the nursing home or any member of its staff committed medical malpractice.

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Rights of nursing home residents

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, state and federal laws govern the rights of residents. Those rights include:

  • The right to be informed in writing of your rights and the policies and the procedures of the facility.
  • The right to know about services and charges.
  • The right to know about your medical condition.
  • The right to participate in your plan of care, including the right to refuse treatment.
  • The right to choose your own physician and to use the pharmacy of your choice.
  • The right to have your personal and medical records treated as confidential.
  • The right to manage your own personal finances.
  • The right to privacy and to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • The right to use your own clothing and possessions.
  • The right to be free from mental, physical and sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and involuntary seclusion.
  • The right to be free from restraints.
  • The right to voice a grievance without retaliation.
  • The right not to be transferred or discharged, except for medical reasons, your own welfare or that of another resident, non-payment, or if the nursing home ceases to operate.
  • The right of access to nursing homes.

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What to do if your rights have been violated

If you feel that either your rights, or the rights of a friend or a loved one who resides in a nursing or long-term care facility may have been violated, there are persons and agencies that you can turn to. You should:

  • Report the conditions/situation to the nursing home administrator and/or director of nursing.
  • Call your local area agency on aging. The phone number is in the blue pages of the phone book.
  • Call the Pennsylvania Department of Health. After receiving the complaint, an investigation will be conducted.
  • Call the police.
  • Contact an attorney, such as our office.

If you or someone you love is injured, neglected, or abused in a nursing home, please contact the attorneys at Rudberg Law Offices, LLC for a free consultation. All lawsuits involving injuries under these conditions must be filed within two (2) years of the date of injury, however it is always most helpful to contact an attorney as soon as possible.

For complaints regarding a Nursing Home/Long-Term Care Facility, call the PA Department of Health at 1-800-254-5164.

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Additional information

For additional information, you may find the following links useful:

Contact a skilled accident lawyer in Pittsburgh

If you have been injured in any type of accident caused by the careless or wrongful actions of others, call the Pittsburgh accident attorneys of Rudberg Law Offices, LLC for assistance at (412) 488-6000, (866) 306-2667, or complete our quick contact web form.