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Philadelphia Nursing Home Neglect Attorney

Signs Of Nursing Home Neglect

Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities may not be able to communicate about their experiences of nursing home negligence or abuse. Depending on the victims’ health, they may be unable to understand that they have suffered an injury; in addition, cognitively-impaired residents may not recall specific acts of malpractice. Even articulate, competent elders may not communicate their victimization because they feel ashamed and frightened of staff’s retaliation.

As a result, family and friends are often in the best position to protect their aging family members and friends in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. You should pay attention to changes in the physical condition, cognitive ability and emotional well-being of the resident. More specifically, remain alert to the following signs of nursing home neglect and elder abuse:

  • Appearing dressed in unclean clothing. If your aging relatives or friends are unable to dress themselves or to keep track of dirty laundry, the facility is responsible for providing that care. If the patients had previously been physically able to dress themselves, emotional distress from neglect or physical injuries from abuse may cause symptoms that interfere with self-care.
  • Poor hygiene. Be aware of offensive odors, dirty hair, unclean teeth, and other signs of neglect, such as accumulated food on clothing, hands or face. Elders who are left unwashed may be more prone to infections and lapsing into depression over the loss of dignity.
  • Not dressed appropriately for the temperature of the facility. The nursing home or assisted living facility should keep track of whether residents are dressed suitably for the season and the temperature within the facility. Basic comfort is a right of our elders.
  • Floors, furniture and other surfaces are not kept free of hazards. Note insufficient lighting and damaged or missing fire alarms, exit signs and sprinkler systems. The duty of a nursing home is to provide a safe, secure environment; otherwise, residents are at risk for falls that could cause life-altering disabilities.
  • Complaints of being restrained for extended periods of time. An elder’s complaint of restraint through physical or chemical barriers (e.g., oversedation) demands attention and resolution.
  • Reports of depression or anxiety or appearing distressed or tearful. Changes in mood may be a sign of adjusting to a new routine in a new place; however, unexplained, strong mood and personality shifts may indicate victimization.
  • Pressure sores, or “bed sores.” These ulcerations may be evidence of poor nursing care and medical malpractice. Bed sores result when staff fails to move the patient’s sedentary position to avoid compromising the skin’s integrity. These breaks in the skin are not only painful, but may be the entry way for dangerous infections that may cause permanent injuries.
  • Repeated urinary tract infections (UTIs). Without adequate treatment and prevention, these often painful infections may spread to the kidneys. The nursing home must provide adequate hygiene and timely assistance for bathroom needs.
  • Failure to provide needed medical care or medications. Your competent elderly relatives and love ones possess the right to make medical and medication decisions. Staff’s failure to observe elders’ needs, such as refusing to give a medication, may constitute nursing home negligence.
  • Weight loss or dehydration. Adequate nutrition and hydration are basic to survival. A staff member’s failure to meet these needs is malpractice.
  • Bruising, swelling, cuts, scrapes, or any wounds. Beware of signs of rough handling or beating. Be especially responsive to elders’ complaints of verbal, sexual or physical abuse, such slapping, shaking, beating, humiliation, or yelling at the resident.

Our attorneys can help you to identify these and other signs properly. If you believe that your family member or other loved one has been a victim of nursing home negligence or abuse, please contact us.

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Gavin P. Lentz, Esq.
Bochetto & Lentz

Gavin Lentz (right) was selected as a "Super Lawyer" for 2006-2009 in New Jersey by Philadelphia Magazine. He has also been selected as a "Super Lawyer" by Philadelphia Magazine and the Legal Intelligencer in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

On September 16, 2002 Mr. Lentz was selected as one of the top 50 lawyers in Pennsylvania by the Legal Intelligencer.

He has made many television appearances, including on Fox News, The Today Show, Inside Edition, and The Phil Donahue Show.

Mr. Lentz is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

As a former prosecutor, he knows how to aggressively go after a nursing home to prove the facts necessary to protect your loved one's rights.

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