Generally, nursing homes and assisted living facilities provide high-quality and compassionate care for their vulnerable elderly residents. In some cases, these facilities that families trust to care of their loved ones end up being the cause of neglect, abuse, and preventable harm.
The first thing you should do if you suspect abuse or neglect of a nursing home resident is report your suspicions to the appropriate authorities and an accomplished personal injury attorney. An experienced State College nursing home abuse lawyer could help both victims of abuse and their family members better understand their legal options and take proactive action to keep their loved ones safe from harm.
State Laws Addressing Elder Abuse
First passed in 1979 and recently revised in 1999, the Health Care Facilities Act establishes the fundamental rights of nursing home residents in the state of Pennsylvania. In keeping with the federal Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, the rights detailed in the HCFA include but are not limited to:
- Freedom from unreasonable restraints
- The right to medical and personal privacy, as well as control over medical and financial affairs
- The right to sanitary conditions and proper nutrition
- The right to keep personal possessions and maintain a personalized living space
- The right to participation in religious, social, and community events
Anyone, including nursing home staff members and administrators, who suspects one or more of these rights has been violated is legally required by the Older Adults Protective Services Act to report the alleged mistreatment to the nearest State Agency on Aging. Additionally, if someone suspects that maltreatment in a nursing home involved sexual abuse or caused serious physical injury or premature death, he or she must report that conduct to both the Pennsylvania Department of Aging and local police.
In addition, nursing home mistreatment may take the form of physical violence, emotional manipulation or harassment, financial abuse, or simple legal negligence. A State College attorney could help the family of a mistreated assisted living facility resident identify and produce evidence of the mistreatment he or she unjustly suffered.
Filing Suit Over Nursing Home Neglect in State College
Once they meet state-mandated reporting requirements, prospective plaintiffs in nursing home abuse cases may pursue compensation for any and all losses stemming from the wrongful conduct. In some cases, these may include economic losses such as money taken through fraud or duress, extra medical expenses necessitated by preventable injuries, and costs related to the replacement of damaged personal property.
Additionally, these claims typically involve subjective, non-economic losses that cannot be defined in strictly quantitative terms. An elderly person who falls victim to neglect or abuse may suffer a loss of enjoyment of life, unnecessary physical and mental suffering, psychological trauma, and the loss of various personal opportunities—all of which a nursing home mistreatment attorney in State College could factor into a demand for civil compensation.
Consult with a State College Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Today
Filing suit against a nursing home for neglect or abuse of a resident can be challenging. Nursing homes vigorously defend claims brought against them, and malpractice may be hard to prove, especially if residents are unwilling or unable to come forward about their experiences.
Fortunately, help is available from a dedicated State College nursing home abuse lawyer. To schedule a free, confidential consultation and discuss your potential case, call today.