Watch for These Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
“I saw the warning signs early on. I just didn’t realize what they meant.”
Many of the distressed clients who come to our Harrisburg law office have similar stories. For the clients whose elderly parents have been victims of nursing home neglect in Pennsylvania, the stories often follow a familiar pattern. Early on, they saw indications that something was seriously amiss at the residential facility, but they didn’t recognize what these signs meant. They failed to ask the right questions, or they accepted a staff member’s dismissive answer, or they didn’t want to make trouble.
Weeks or months later, their father or mother is dealing with a desperate condition brought on by nursing home neglect, and our clients are heartsick with guilt for ignoring those warning signs.
If you are in this position, let us be the first to reassure you: none of this is your fault. You are not responsible for the injuries received by your parent. The nursing home and its staff had a special duty of care with respect to your mother or father, and they failed in that duty. This is a case of willful misconduct on their part, and there is no reason to believe they would have behaved differently if you pointed out the risks early on.
But now that nursing home negligence has hurt your Mom or Dad, the facility has a new obligation: make it right.
What duties do caregivers owe to nursing home residents?
Under common-law rules, everyone owes a basic duty to his fellow citizens to behave in a reasonably cautious way to prevent accidental harm. The obligations of nursing homes and their employees go far beyond this. The facility accepts money to take care of people who are known to be unable to care for themselves. That sets the bar of responsibility very high indeed. Everyone employed by the nursing home—caregivers, medical aides, cooks, maintenance workers, and even administrators—are legally obliged to protect the well-being of residents.
But, of course, as a profit-seeking business, the nursing home’s owners have the incentive to maximize net income by cutting costs. There is always the drive to hire fewer people than are actually needed, and to hire less-qualified staff. Safety and sanitation purchases are delayed and facilities are allowed to fall into disrepair. All employees are urged to make do with less, while still convincing visitors that their relatives are getting top-notch care.
Our Harrisburg nursing home abuse attorneys identify these signs as early warning indications that a residential facility may be a danger to its residents:
- Pest infestations
- Short staffing in key locations
- Weak medication control and distribution policies
- Medical condition monitoring for bed sores and infections
- Poor nutrition and hydration monitoring
Responding to nursing home neglect in central Pennsylvania
If it is clear that your parent’s basic needs are not being met at the nursing home, you need to take immediate action to remove him or her from the dangerous situation. Get an immediate medical evaluation and treatment, if necessary.
Your next step should be to consult an experienced Dauphin County nursing home neglect lawyer to get your questions answered. Obviously, you will want to demand compensation from the nursing home for any extraordinary expenses on behalf of your parent.
Schmidt Kramer offers free consultations on nursing home cases to potential clients. Contact us by filling out the online form or calling (888) 476-0807. We will schedule a case review at your convenience to answer your questions and explain how our legal representation can make a difference for you.