Nursing home neglect in Pennsylvania is a serious and pervasive problem. The state is home to over 2.2 million adults over age 65, which accounts for nearly 20% of the population. As such, Pennsylvania is home to over 700 nursing homes. Many of these facilities provide great care of their residents.
Unfortunately, some facilities fail to follow resident care laws, and their residents do not receive the care they deserve. Nursing home neglect can be purposeful or unintentional. It occurs when residents in nursing homes do not get proper care. This lack of care can lead to physical or emotional health problems. Nursing home neglect is the failure to meet a resident’s needs for food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene, or medical care. If your loved one sustained an injury due to nursing home neglect in Pennsylvania, an attorney may be able to hold the facility accountable.
Reported cases of nursing home neglect and abuse has increased during the pandemic. However, most incidents go unreported to authorities. If you suspect a friend or loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect in Pennsylvania, it’s important to learn how to identify signs and symptoms.
Examples of nursing home neglect include:
As the aging population in the US increases, the need for nursing home care continues to grow. Unfortunately, the demand for services is outpacing the number of competent nurses and caregivers. The number of nursing homes and long-term care facilities reporting nursing shortages have grown significantly over the past two years during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, between May 2020 and April 2022, the number of Pennsylvania nursing homes reporting nurse staffing shortages experienced a 59% increase. In April 2022, over 140 nursing homes in Pennsylvania alone reported nurse and aide staffing shortages. This accounts for more than 1 out of every 5 nursing homes in the state.
Consequently, many nursing homes are severely understaffed and have high rates of turnover. A Kaiser review of payroll data points to great volatility in nursing home staffing, with weekends being a prime time for staffing shortages. The victim of these circumstances is often the nursing home’s residents and families. Even more heartbreaking is that some facilities deliberately understaff to make a larger profit.
Understaffing is not just a poor business decision; it’s illegal. The Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (FNHRA) requires that nursing homes employ a “sufficient nursing staff to provide nursing and related services to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident.” These staff members should include registered nurses (RN’s), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Facilities that fail to properly staff neglect their elderly residents. These residents can suffer from isolation, pressure ulcers, and poor nutrition and hydration. The neglect can also increase their risk of injuries from falls and infection risk.
It’s vital to thoroughly research a nursing home before entrusting your relative to their care. Medicare provides an excellent checklist to help family members in their nursing home search. This checklist includes questions about safety and care, preventing abuse, and staff characteristics.
If your loved one is already in a nursing home, regularly ask them about their care. Take their concerns seriously and intervene quickly if you suspect neglect or abuse.
Residents who have suffered from nursing home neglect in Pennsylvania may be eligible for compensation for their injuries, pain, and suffering. Our attorneys offer free, no-obligation consultations to victims and their families who want to learn more about their rights under the law. Act now to stand up for the rights of your loved one and put a stop to nursing home neglect.