At The Javerbaum Wurgaft Nursing Home Group, our attorneys handle a significant number of claims regarding nursing home negligence. We are commonly asked by families of nursing home residents how to determine when an injury or illness is the result of abuse or neglect, and when it is simply the result of aging. First of all, it is important to understand and correct some common myths about nursing homes:
Myth: Declining health is natural in a nursing home. Pennsylvania and New Jersey state laws and Federal regulations (OBRA) require that nursing home residents maintain or improve their levels of health. Nursing home staff members are required to make regular observations about a resident’s health, and the administration must involve the family or physician if there is any decline in health, including weight loss, apathy, mobility, and incontinence.
Myth: Elderly people fall and have other accidents. Most nursing home residents are there specifically because they are unable to care for themselves. Rather than expecting accidents and declining health, nursing home administrators are required to evaluate each patient on a regular basis, identify risks, and take special measures to avoid incontinence incidents, bed falls, wandering, bedsores, dehydration, malnutrition, and other common nursing home illnesses and injuries.
Myth: Nurses and aides will not report abuse or neglect. In fact, if family members keep lines of communication open with caregivers, nurses and aides will often identify risks and inform families as to problems, preventing injuries and catching situations early enough to turn them around.
In order to detect neglect or abuse, you, as the responsible party, have a right to access caretakers and reports. If you have any suspicions that a vulnerable adult is subject to abuse or neglect in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or at the hands of a home health care aide, demand a meeting with the director of nursing and insist on immediate changes in patient care. Begin keeping a record of your suspicions. You may even set up a recorder in the patient’s room.
If there has been a serious injury, or you fear the patient is being subjected to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, contact the state ombudsman to begin an investigation:
- Pennsylvania: (717)783-1550, Pennsylvania Department of Aging
- New Jersey: 1-877-582-6995, Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly
Contact a nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer
Our lawyers have recovered compensation for many residents when the nursing homes’ failures to perform required actions resulted in illness, injury, or death. If you are concerned about the quality of care a loved one is receiving, contact the Mount Laurel office of The Javerbaum Wurgaft Nursing Home Group today for a free and confidential case evaluation and learn more about nursing home litigation and your rights. In most cases, our services are contingency-based, meaning our client pays no attorney fees unless we recover damages on the client’s behalf.