If you or your loved one has suffered negligence or abuse at a nursing home, it's important to have experienced legal counsel by your side. Nursing home injury victims generally recover more financial compensation when they have legal representation compared to those that do not hire a lawyer.
I appreciate all of your assistance. Thank you for everything.
- Amy B, Mount Joy, PA
At the law offices of Schmidt Kramer, we have been helping individuals and families throughout Pennsylvania for more than 25 years and have successfully recovered more than $20,000,000.00 in compensation on behalf of our clients including a confidential recovery amount for the family of an 80 year old nursing home resident that passed away as a result of the nursing home failing to monitor changes in the resident's condition and report it to the treating physician.
If you suspect your loved one has fallen victim to nursing home neglect or abuse, talk to our nursing home abuse lawyers today and learn more about your legal options.
For a free case review, call (717) 888-8888.
Do You Have a Case?
Nursing home residents have certain rights under federal and state law. A nursing home must protect and promote the rights of each resident as outlined in the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act and Pennsylvania’s Nursing Home Resident Rights. Residents in these facilities have the right to:
- Dignity, respect and a comfortable living environment
- Quality of care and treatment without discrimination
- Freedom of choice to make independent decisions
- The safeguard of his or her property and money
- Be informed about the policies and procedures of the facility
- Participate in his or her plan of care, including to refuse treatment
- Be informed about his or her medical condition and overall health
- Privacy in communications, including personal and medical records
- Voice grievances without fear of retaliation
- Be free from mental, physical, sexual abuse, exploitation and neglect
Residents may be able to take legal action when a nursing home or long-term care facility does not comply with these rights. A licensed Harrisburg nursing home abuse lawyer from our firm is ready to help.
If you are unsure or if you have some questions about a possible case that you need help finding answers to, we encourage you to call and speak to a lawyer at our firm today. Your initial call is free and if we determine that you have a case, there are no upfront fees if you hire us.
Complete our Free Case Review form today.
Holding Negligent Nursing Homes Accountable
More than one party could be held accountable for nursing home abuse or neglect. This could include the facility itself, administrators, doctors, nurses, caregivers and other staff members.
Establishing liability means showing that negligence played a role in your elderly loved one suffering harm. A facility may be found negligent if it hired inexperienced staff, failed to provide adequate training, or neglected to perform background checks on applicants for a history of anger issues or abusive actions. Nursing homes administrators could also be liable for cutting corners or cutting costs in an effort to save time and money.
A nurse, caregiver or other staff member may be found negligent for delivering substandard care if it leads to malnutrition, dehydration, injuries from falling, choking, bedsores and medication errors.
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.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania requires any employee or administrator of a facility to report all types of nursing home abuse or neglect in accordance with the Older Adults Protective Services Act (OAPSA). The law requires that you report the abuse to local law enforcement in an emergency situation. For non-emergencies, you can contact:
- The Pennsylvania Department of Aging
- Local Ombudsman’s Office
- Pennsylvania Department of Health
- Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General: Protecting Seniors
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
In many instances, it can be difficult to determine if your loved one is being neglected or abused until it is too late. However, there are often warning signs that observant family members and guardians can be on the lookout for to help minimize the chances of a nursing home resident becoming a victim.
With this in mind, some of the most common signs include:
- Abnormally pale complexion
- Bruises in a pattern that would suggest restraints
- Excessive and sudden weight loss
- Lice, fleas or dirt on the resident or in the resident’s room
- Poor personal hygiene or other unattended health problems
- Torn clothing or broken personal items
- Unpleasant odors
- Untreated bedsores, wounds, cuts, bruises or welts
Other indicators, include:
- Caregivers allowing residents to wander off the premises
- Pest infestations
- A caregiver's inability to explain a resident’s condition
- Short staffing in important positions
- A caregiver's refusal to allow visitors to see the resident alone
- Lack of proper heating or cooling in the nursing home
- Sudden change in a resident’s medication
If you have noticed any of the above signs, contact our Harrisburg nursing home abuse lawyers for legal help. Our main office is located in Central Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, right down the street from the State Capitol.
No Upfront Fees. Ph: (717) 888-8888.
Nursing Home Abuse Cases Our Firm Handles
There are many types of abuse or neglect in nursing homes with different levels of severity. Our legal team at Schmidt Kramer has decades of experience handling different nursing home abuse cases, such as:
When a resident suffers bodily injury or physical trauma, such as hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, biting, pushing, shaking, grabbing or shoving. Physical abuse could also be restraining or confining a resident with restraints or using an object to cause harm.
Using certain words or actions can cause a resident to become fearful, anxious, depressed or otherwise emotionally distressed. This type of psychological abuse could include:
- Verbal insults
- Threatening violence
- Intimidation tactics
- Isolating residents from others
Sexual abuse includes any type of unwanted sexual activity that is forced on a resident. Examples include touching, groping or feeling someone without consent, intercourse, rape, coerced nudity, or watching or participating in sexually explicit photos or videos. Sexual abuse can cause a resident to suffer from bruising or lesions in the genital area. These acts are often committed while a resident incapacitated or mentally ill.
This type of abuse happens when a resident is intentionally exploited and manipulated into giving control of his or her finances, such as money and property. Examples include stealing money or personal documents, not allowing access to funds, forging documents to get funds, or the misuse of power of attorney for personal gain. Financial abuse can cause a resident lose his or her income and savings to help pay for continued care.
General neglect in a nursing home or long-term care facility happens when a resident is not provided basic necessities, such as food, water, medications and shelter. Other examples include:
- Allowing a resident to live unattended and in filth
- Failing to treat bedsores and skin ulcers
- Leaving residents unattended for extended periods of time
- Ignoring a resident’s or family member’s complaints about staff or another resident.
If you suspect a loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, it is in your best interest to notify the proper authorities and then consult with a Harrisburg nursing home abuse attorney for legal help.
Contact a Harrisburg Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer
Nursing home abuse is a serious matter, one that should never even be committed. Unfortunately, each year hundreds of victims are abused or neglected and the problem is often missed due to the failure to see signs of nursing home abuse. The Pennsylvania nursing home abuse lawyers at Schmidt Kramer have experience handling these cases - our attorneys have a comprehensive knowledge of the laws in Pennsylvania that are applicable to nursing home and elder abuse lawsuits, and we have a full team of support staff to help build a strong argument for your damages claim.
If you are unsure if you have a case or need some information about your rights, we encourage you to fill out our free online consultation form and let us investigate your claim. We’ve protected the rights of other Pennsylvania nursing home abuse victims for many years and welcome the opportunity to help you.
It's free to talk to a lawyer about your potential case, there are no upfront fees if you decide to hire us and we only get paid when we obtain a recovery on your behalf.
Free Consultation. Ph: (717) 888-8888.