Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing Home Abuse

Our elderly population is growing. Many people are simply not able to handle the care requirements of aging family members, and they may turn to nursing homes for help. Though the majority of care facilities provide solid care and safe oversight, there are also some that unfortunately do not. The Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse attorneys at DLP have helped families through difficult times with elderly family members.

Though it is a sensitive subject to think about, Physical Abuse in Pennsylvania nursing homes happens too often. This can include beatings, sexual abuse, denial of food or water, and excessive use of restraints.

There can also be Psychological or Emotional Abuse such as threats, isolation, verbal assault, and humiliation.

Financial Abuse, such as cashing an elderly person’s check without their permission, forging their signature, stealing their money or possessions, and abusing guardianship, is also a danger.

Another type of abuse is Neglect. Neglect refers to failing to provide food, water, shelter, clothing or other necessities.

The thought of your parents, grandparents, and other elderly loved ones being abused and neglected can be overwhelming. Though there are laws to help protect the elderly, it is becoming more and more difficult for some understaffed nursing homes to keep up with patient care demands. Are you or a loved one a victim of nursing home abuse?

Nearly 70 percent of those turning 65 will require long term care DLP Attorney Sean McDonough has unique experience and knowledge of Pennsylvania nursing home abuse laws and procedures. He has testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives at a hearing entitled “The Impact of Predators in Long-Term Care on Small Business Operators.”

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Pennsylvania’s Aging Population

Pennsylvania has almost 2 million citizens over age 65 (2007 Census)

By 2020, Pennsylvania’s 60 and older population is expected to be 25% of the total population — more than 3 million people. By 2020, the number of people age 85 or older is expected to increase 10% to more than 360,000 residents. (2007 Census)

Nursing Home Abuse Related Injuries

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Bed sores :

are sometimes called pressure sores or pressure ulcers, and most commonly occur on bony or cartilaginous areas of the body. They can develop after extended pressure or rubbing on vulnerable areas of the body. Bed sores are classified into five stages based on their severity. Complications may arise among nursing home patients with bed sores due to a lack of blood circulation.

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Decubitus Ulcers :

are a type of pressure ulcers caused by prolonged pressure to the back. Pressure points near the tail bone, sacrum, or iliac crest are particularly vulnerable. These ulcers can range from a mild redness/blistering to a deep open wound. Decubitus ulcers are generally considered preventable afflictions. The condition can be avoided by turning the individual in care every two hours or so. Without attention from caregivers, decubitus ulcers develop when the weight of the person’s body presses on the bone, which presses on the tissue and skin that covers it.

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Fall Injuries :

are some of the most common problems endured by elderly individuals in nursing homes and other care centers. In fact, up to 75 percent of all nursing home residents fall every year. Each year, a typical nursing home with 100 beds reports 100 to 200 falls. Many falls go unreported! This number only increases as those being cared for become older and their bones more fragile. There can be a variety of causes for fall down injuries, tragically though, some falls are a result of nursing home abuse or neglect. About 35% of fall injuries occur among residents who cannot walk.

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Dehydration :

is a truly disturbing form of nursing home abuse resulting from a deprivation of water. It is serious and potentially life threatening with symptoms such as headaches, decreased blood pressure, dizziness, fainting, and eventually delirium, unconsciousness, and death. Dehydration symptoms can become noticeable after only 2 percent of one’s normal water volume has been lost. It is important that nursing home staff take care to provide an adequate amount of water to residents. When hydration needs are ignored, the most basic requirements of life are tragically denied to elderly individuals.

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Restraint Injuries :

Physical restraints are sometimes used in nursing homes as a safety device and to prevent falls. Unfortunately, the use of such methods is often misguided and can result in serious injuries. Nursing home restraints may include bed rails or mechanical restraints to limit mobility. Both have the potential to cause death or strangulation. Additionally, the use of mechanical restraints may put some individuals at risk of developing pressure ulcers or bed sores, incontinence, and confusion. Additionally, there are psychological effects such as a limiting of freedom, dignity, and quality of life that can cause harm to persons being restrained.

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Sepsis :

is a very serious medical condition that can be common and dangerous in the elderly living in Pennsylvania Nursing Homes. It is caused by a severe infection and activates inflammation and coagulation pathways which can lead to circulatory system dysfunction, multiple organ dysfunction syndrome and even death. The mortality rate of sepsis ranges from 20 percent to more than 60 percent, depending on the severity of the case.

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