Pittsburgh Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Nursing Home Care Abuse, Injuries and Wrongful Death
When you trust a nursing home to provide care for your elderly loved ones, you have reasonable expectations for that care. You expect that the nursing home facility will be clean, safe, and properly staffed, that care will be responsive and appropriate, and that the healthcare professionals and staff will do everything in their power to ensure the well-being, safety, and security of everyone in their care.
But unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. At Hal Waldman and Associates in Pittsburgh, PA, we’ve handled many complex cases involving nursing home facilities that are accountable for serious injuries, and even fatalities, caused by abuse, neglect, and negligence.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have A Claim
If you believe your loved one has been mistreated in a nursing home and you want to file a lawsuit, our experienced attorneys will immediately initiate an investigation to document the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. Our thorough review process includes assessing medical records, contacting witnesses, and working with medical professionals in the field to build evidence for your case.
If you think you have a claim or want to find out more about the steps you need to take, contact us for a free consultation.
Following an injury or death, it is important to consult an experienced lawyer in nursing home abuse, as soon as possible. The legal team at Waldman & Associates is experienced, dedicated, and has the professional network to effectively handle your claim and maximize compensation.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse can take many forms. Our Pittsburgh-based attorneys are experienced in all types of abuse cases, including:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Financial abuse
- Elder abuse
- Abuse of mentally challenged or mentally impaired victims
- Failure to provide care
- Decubitus ulcers
- And more
Three Ways to Help You Find The Right Nursing Home in Pittsburgh
It’s crucial that you take the time to find the right skilled nursing facility for your elderly loved one. You will not only need to find a care facility that is suitable for your loved one and financially sustainable, but one that also provides the specific medical services and support your loved one needs. Before your loved one resides in any nursing home, here are a few steps you can take to ensure they are in the best possible hands.
- Read the reviews—Read any testimonials that are available on the facility’s website, and also make sure you seek out reviews on third-party sites, which may be able to offer you a more balanced view. Take note of any common trends in negative reviews that could indicate systematic abuse in that nursing home.
- Use your judgment—Assess any nursing home facility you are considering in person. Make a few visits to get a sense of how the facility is run during different days and times. While you’re there, assess the facility’s cleanliness and organization, as well as the demeanor of staff members and other residents, and their interactions with each other. Talk to staff members to find out what they do, how long they have worked at the facility, and if there are any problems they notice with the facility or grounds. Also see if you can ask other residents a few questions.
- Ensure compliance—Make sure the nursing home is in compliance with any and all applicable regulations and certification standards. Also inquire about the nursing staff and their availability per resident to ensure your loved one will be cared for promptly and adequately.
Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
It’s crucial to pay close attention to your loved ones who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Nursing home abuse takes many forms, and not all of them will have visible signs. Here are a few warning signs that can indicate neglect and/or abuse inside a care facility.
- Changes in behavior—A change in your loved one’s behavior is one of the most telling indicators of nursing home abuse or neglect. If your elderly loved one now seems nervous, fearful, or depressed during your visits, try to encourage a conversation to find out why. Keep a record or journal and take notes during your visits that detail your loved ones’ moods, conversations, experiences, as well as the status of their belongings and financial records. Document and detail as much as possible.
- Physical marks—Physical abuse will be more apparent, but signs may not be as telling as an obvious bruise, scrape, or broken bone. Physical abuse includes neglect, and some residents may not realize what is happening to them over time. Pay close attention and keep notes on any changes in your loved one’s weight, skin color and appearance, and their overall mood for signs of neglect.
- Trust your instincts and your loved ones’—If you feel like something is off, trust those instincts. If your loved one shares that they feel unsafe, scared, or mentions negative experiences or treatment inside the facility, don’t discount them—even if your loved one suffers from dementia or other health conditions that affect or impair their thinking or memory.
Whether you need help proving what you believe is possible abuse or neglect or if you have documented proof, it’s important that you speak to a nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible.
Protecting Your Rights at Nursing Home Facilities
At Waldman & Associates, our lawyers have extensive experience working with the families of victims of nursing home abuse and neglect, and we understand how difficult these cases can be. We are also committed to holding individuals and organizations responsible for any injury and damage caused to innocent, elderly or incapacitated victims.
We offer free consultations and take on nursing home negligence cases on a contingency basis, so there is no risk in contacting us to discuss the facts of your case. We will handle your case with the compassion, dignity, and dedication you and your loved ones deserve.
Know Federal Nursing Home Laws
There are a few federal laws you should know when it comes to investigating nursing home abuse. If you notice anything inside a care facility that is out of line with the following laws, contact one of our attorneys as soon as possible:
THE NURSING HOME REFORM ACT (NHRA)
The NHRA became law in 1987 as part of the 1987 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. The NHRA exists to protect the rights of nursing home residents and ensures they receive the “highest practicable” quality of care. The NHRA protects nursing home residents from abuse and neglect, provides the right to privacy, free communication, and the ability to voice grievances without fear of retaliation. The NHRA also allows nursing home residents to participate in family and social gatherings, participate in their own care plans, and receive dignified treatment from nursing home staff.
THE OLDER AMERICANS ACT
The Older Americans Act, enacted in 1965, provides several programs aimed at improving the lives of elderly Americans. This includes services such as meals-on-wheels, nutritional support programs, in-home medical care, transportation, legal services, and elder abuse prevention programs.
FEDERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR NURSING HOME STAFF
The following requirements only apply to Medicare- and Medicaid-certified nursing homes. Federal law requires nursing homes to have at least one Registered Nurse on duty for at least eight hours a day, every day. Nursing homes must also have a licensed nurse on duty 24 hours a day and hire enough staff to manage the day-to-day operations of the facility. Nursing homes must provide at least 75 hours of training to nursing aides, but there are no strict requirements for staff numbers. This means if a nursing home meets the bare minimum federal requirements, the average nursing home resident could only expect about 20 minutes of time with a nurse each day. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, the optimal amount of nurse time for each resident is one hour with a licensed nurse and three hours with nursing aides.
If your loved one has experienced nursing home abuse or neglect, or you suspect they may be and you need help, call the experienced lawyers at Hal Waldman & Associates for a free consultation. Schedule your free consultation online or call us at (412) 338-1000.