Is Your Elder Loved One Safe from Nursing Home Abuse?
There are about 80,000 seniors in nursing homes across Pennsylvania, but no one can say how safe these seniors are — not even the government agencies who are supposed to regulate those facilities.. Last year, Ruth McCambridge, editor-in-chief of the Nonprofit Quarterly, highlighted many of the deficiencies in state oversight of nursing homes:
- The questionable decision by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to prohibit anonymous complaints about nursing facilities from 2012 to 2014, even though such anonymity is clearly intended to protect vulnerable seniors
- Lax health department enforcement of the law requiring 2.7 hours of direct nursing care per day for each resident
- A staggering number of missing or incomplete Department of Health staffing reviews
- “An unbelievably low number” of staffing level citations issued to nursing homes in the commonwealth
- Insufficient sanctions for violations (compare fines of $500 a day in Pennsylvania to those of $100,000 per day in California)
Given the sorry state of oversight and compliance with nursing home regulations, how can you know how safe your elder loved one is? Unfortunately, you can’t, unless you are actively engaged and advocating for your loved one’s care.
At Rudberg Law Offices, we want you to know the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect so you can protect your beloved senior relative. Things to look for include:
- Changes in mood, nervousness, apprehension or depressed state
- Discoloration of the wrists that could indicate the use of restraints
- Loss of appetite
- Poor personal hygiene
- Red spots on the elbows, heels, back of the head, buttocks
- Weight loss
If you witness these, you should immediately voice your concerns to the management of the nursing facility. But to ensure you get action on your complaint, it’s essential to contact an elder law attorney with experience in nursing home abuse cases. As Ms. McCambridge’s article demonstrates, nursing facilities are rarely motivated to reform their practices unless they have reason to fear legal sanctions.
If you suspect your elder loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in western Pennsylvania, Rudberg Law Offices, LLC can help. Call 412-488-6000 or contact our Pittsburgh office online to schedule a free consultation.