Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
If your loved one is in a nursing home facility, you expect them to be receiving the best of care. In most instances this is the norm. However, there are also unfortunate instances where neglect and abuse are prevalent. Often this substandard treatment can become an injury or liability case, and consultation with a lawyer experienced in these cases becomes wise and necessary. Karp and Hart have worked on such cases for decades, and are dedicated to successfully bringing a resolution to them. Similar to other issues in the malpractice area, there is the issue of responsibility; diligent care needs to be provided to patients and residents alike. Peter Hart and Stephen Karp are the litigation team you need on your side. These nursing home issues are often complex and entail a detailed investigation. Those guilty of neglect and abuse need to suffer the legal repercussion. Senior citizens in failing health should not be subjected to the emotional and physical trauma that we have often witnessed in care giving facilities.
Nursing Homes in Our Area
A Nursing Home is a residence that provides a room, meals, skilled nursing and rehabilitative care, medical services, and protective supervision of its residents. It also provides residents with recreational activities and help with activities of daily living. Nursing homes in this state are certified by both State and Federal government agencies to provide levels of care which range from custodial care to skilled nursing care that can only be delivered by trained professionals.
All Chester County nursing homes, except for the Coatesville VA Medical Center, are licensed and regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The VA is operated and licensed by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and meets standards set by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals.
Nursing Home Residents’ Rights
Residents of nursing homes have basic and special rights under Federal and State law. Complaints about violations of residents’ rights or any problems concerning nursing homes can be addressed to the local Ombudsman located at the Chester County Department of Aging Services. The telephone number is 610-344-6350.
Nursing Home abuse and neglect occurs when a care facility causes injury to a resident because of improper care. Oftentimes, it may be hard to determine whether abuse or neglect took place because some signs of abuse may be difficult to detect on your loved one. Oftentimes, because of the incapacity of the patient, it is hard to get accurate or adequate information from them. Other investigative techniques must be used and sometimes a lawsuit must be filed to obtain testimony of employees.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home negligence includes the failure to provide basic necessities such as water, protection from health and safety hazards and general appropriate care. Stephen Karp and Peter Hart have seen many neglect cases arising from falls, bed sores, malnutrition, dehydration and improper wound care. They also result from physical, emotional, verbal, mental or sexual abuse, improper use of physical restraints and overuse of sedatives to name a few.
Americans are living longer than ever before. It is the fastest growing group in the United States, and there is a large elderly population living in nursing homes. As a result of this demographic shift, many elderly Americans have become residents of nursing homes during their final years. There are over twenty nursing homes just in our immediate area. Since many of these nursing homes are underfunded and understaffed, disturbing incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect are being reported more often. Please contact attorneys Peter Hart and Stephen Karp – we are here to help you.
The Federal Government maintains a website www.medicare.gov/nhcompare which provides a wealth of information concerning our nation’s nursing homes and problems that any one or more may be experiencing. By going to this website you can better chose the appropriate facility for your parent or other loved one.
An Example of One of Our Cases
We have represented many elderly clients over the years for mishaps in nursing homes. These have included falls from beds and wheelchairs, medication errors, physical or mental abuse and neglect. One of the saddest cases involved an 85 year old client whose bedsores were so severe that the emergency room doctor wanted to bring criminal charges against the family because he thought the woman had been living at home rather than at a nursing home facility.
Our client, Mrs. Jones (a fictitious name), was doing well at a nursing home until she fell one day and broke her leg. As a result, she became wheelchair bound. After a few months, she began to develop Stage I decubitus ulcers on her buttocks and heel. Instead of giving the medical treatment including ointments, cushions and the proper type of mattress, the nursing home ignored Mrs. Jones’ condition. When the sores worsened, they called in an outside wound treatment company, but they only permitted them to come once a week to care for Mrs. Jones. By the time she was taken to the emergency room, the sores had become grossly infected and foul smelling. We immediately took photographs and a video, which showed that the Stage IV ulcer was down to the spine with floating pieces of bone. Mrs. Jones died three weeks after she was admitted to the hospital.
After we obtained the records – which revealed the lack of care – and an expert report from a leading nursing home care physician, we attempted to settle the case. Not only did we present the video and photographs, but we also produced 3’ x 6’ exhibits showing artist renditions of the wounds.
We were able to obtain a large settlement without the need of filing a lawsuit. More importantly, we learned after this case the home had been sold to a new owner who immediately put money into the facility and updated the medical care to their residents.
If you have a family member or friend who resides in a nursing home or long-term care facility, it is important that you check the condition of their skin on a regular basis. This may be difficult if the wound is in an area of the body that is hidden by clothing but must be done. You should review their condition periodically with the nurses to make sure that any bedsores are treated immediately and in the proper manner.
The legal team experience of Stephen Karp and Peter Hart in these investigations and litigation in the region that YOU live in will give you the confidence to pursue your case. Please consult with us on your loved one’s behalf.