purchase, george & murphey.

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What Should I Do If I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?

August 11, 2021

What Should I Do If I Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?

Families throughout Pennsylvania rely on nursing homes to take care of loved ones who require more intensive and specialized health and personal care. While most nursing homes provide excellent care and service to their residents, too many people who live in nursing homes become victims of abuse or neglect inflicted by nursing home staff members. If you believe that a family member or someone you know is being harmed by nursing home abuse, below are steps you can take to protect their safety and their legal rights.

Who Should Report Suspected Nursing Home Abuse?

By law, there are certain professionals who are required to report suspected nursing home abuse to the appropriate authorities. These professionals include:

  • Physicians
  • Physician’s assistants
  • Nurses
  • EMTs
  • Health aides
  • Physical therapists
  • Dentists
  • Counselors
  • Social workers
  • Case managers
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Executive directors or managers of nursing homes or assisted living facilities

However, if you believe that you know of a nursing home resident who is or has been the victim of abuse or neglect, you can also report your suspicions to the appropriate authorities.

Where You Can Report Nursing Home Abuse

If you believe that someone you know in a nursing home is in immediate danger of injury or death, you can contact 911 or the local police department to get emergency assistance for the resident.

However, if you believe that a loved one is suffering from ongoing abuse or neglect inflicted by nursing home staff, you can first report your suspicions to the nursing home facility management. The facility management may be able to act to improve your loved one’s living conditions, including undertaking remedial training of staff or terminating staff members who engage in acts of abuse or neglect. 

If your loved one’s conditions do not change, you can report suspected abuse or neglect to local and state authorities such as:

  • Pennsylvania Department of Health: Can be called toll-free at 1-800-254-5164, or you can file an online complaint form here. You can also email a complaint to [email protected] or send mail to: Division of Nursing Care Facilities Director, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of Nursing Care Facilities, 625 Forster St., Room 526, Health and Welfare Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120-0701.
  • Pennsylvania Long-Term Care Ombudsman, which often gets involved in suspected cases of abuse or neglect received by the Department of Health
  • Pennsylvania Department of Aging
  • Agency on Area for the municipality or county

What to Do If You Suspect a Loved One Has Been the Victim of Nursing Home Abuse

When you believe that a loved one has suffered or is suffering from abuse or neglect in a nursing home, steps you can take to protect their health and their rights include:

  • Document evidence that has led you to suspect abuse or neglect, such as unexplained injuries, behavioral changes, or the physical condition of the nursing home or long-term care facility
  • Have your loved one examined by their own personal physician or an independent doctor as soon as possible to diagnose any injuries or medical conditions that may have been caused by the abuse or neglect.
  • Speak to a nursing home abuse attorney to discuss your loved one’s and your family’s legal rights and options and to get help with protecting your loved one’s safety, including moving them to a new facility and reporting suspected abuse to the authorities.

Contact an Erie Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer to Discuss Your Case Today

Seniors in nursing homes and other care facilities deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Additionally, nursing home staff needs to ensure that patients are safe and secure at all times. If your loved one suffered an injury, or worse, due to nursing home negligence or abuse in Pennsylvania, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The experienced nursing home neglect attorneys at Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, including Millcreek, Harborcreek, Fairview, and Meadville. Call (814) 833-7100 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free consultation today. We have an office conveniently located at 2525 W. 26th St., Erie, P.A. 16506, as well as offices in Meadville and North East.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.