Scranton Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

We turn to nursing homes when our loved ones can no longer care for themselves, often paying thousands of dollars each year to keep them safe. Unfortunately, some of our nation’s most vulnerable individuals – the elderly and disabled – are prone to abuse.

The National Council on Aging estimates that around 1 in 10 of all Americans over the age of 60 has already experienced some form of abuse. According to their research, around 5 million elderly people are abused in nursing homes each year. Yet, nursing home abuse remains a silent problem, as only 7 percent of cases are reported to authorities. If you suspect or know that someone is being abused, you have options. Know the warning signs of elder and nursing home abuse, as well as when to contact an attorney.

Defining Nursing Home Abuse

We define nursing home abuse as any offense that hurts a resident physically, mentally, financially, or emotionally. Though nursing home residents are most often seniors, nursing home abuse also affects the disabled and those with special needs. We classify nursing home abuse as:

  • Financial – A staff member of a nursing home may commit financial abuse when they steal a resident’s financial information in order to commit fraud. They may also steal property or cash outright, or coerce a resident into amending their will.
  • Neglect – This can result in actual or possible serious harm. One of the most common forms of neglect in nursing homes is bedsores, which often result from failing to move incapacitated patients. Over time, bedsores can become deep enough to expose bone, which leaves patients vulnerable to serious infection. When neglect results in serious harm, it becomes physical abuse.
  • False imprisonment – This occurs when a staff member prohibits a resident from leaving a certain area, such as a room or wing of the residence. This is also a form of mental abuse. Staff members may also limit mobility by keeping a resident from their walker or wheelchair.

The Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Every case of nursing home abuse is different, and some abusers know how to minimize the outward signs of abuse (this is especially true of financial abuse). Still, there are several red flags that may indicate nursing home abuse:

  • Bedsores or bruising resulting from blood pooling (this is often the result of failing to turn a patient).
  • Sudden weight loss.
  • Broken bones.
  • Suspicious changes in behavior or spending habits, such as more frequent withdrawals of cash.
  • Fear around certain staff members.
  • Depression.
  • Angry outbursts.
  • Injuries that the staff report occur from falls, but seem suspicious.

While these are some of the most common symptoms, it’s also not an exhaustive list. If you ever suspect elder or nursing home abuse, don’t wait to take action.

Suspecting Elder Abuse: Next Steps

If you suspect a resident is experiencing nursing home abuse, take the following actions as soon as possible:

  1. Find them another place to stay. If you suspect nursing home abuse, removing your loved one from the dangerous situation should be your top priority.
  2. Gather evidence. Once your loved one is safe, try to verify their story. Talk to other residents of the facility for corroboration, and request copies of all the resident’s medical records and prescriptions.
  3. Alert the authorities. If you suspect abuse, report it to the local police station or district attorney’s office. If they find sufficient evidence, they will press charges.

Find an Experienced Elderly Neglect Attorney

Abuse is a crime, and those who exploit our nation’s most vulnerable must pay for their actions. Even if your loved ones’ abuser is facing the criminal justice system, you’re entitled to file a civil suit to pay for damages. For more information about this process, contact Rosenbaum & Associates for a free initial consultation.