Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Pittsburgh, PA
As our elderly loved ones become physically and mentally frail, they become more fragile and less able to stand up to bullying or attacks. They may have problems hearing, seeing and even thinking clearly and conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease can make it difficult for them to communicate.
Sadly, thousands of elderly persons suffer from some type of abuse every year in the U.S. Surprisingly, reports show that elder abuse usually occurs where the person lives, which can be in another family member’s home or in a long-term nursing care facility. If you or a family member have been the victim of any type of elder abuse, contact our experienced Pittsburgh elder abuse lawyers for an initial legal consultation, free of charge.
Types of Elder Abuse
There are several different types of elder abuse that can occur, including:
- Physical abuse: this refers to any intentional force against an elderly person that causes physical pain, injury or impairment. Examples include physical abuse such as hitting or shoving as well as inappropriate confinement, use of restraints and wrongful use of medications.
- Emotional abuse: emotional abuse is anything that causes emotional pain or distress. Examples include verbal abuse, intimidation by yelling, humiliation and ridicule and nonverbal abuse such as ignoring or isolating the elderly person and/or harassing or terrorizing him or her in any way.
- Neglect: negligence is one of the most common types of elder abuse. Negligence refers to anything that deprives the elderly person from a normal standard of care, such as leaving an elderly person in spoiled bed sheets or clothing for several days, not giving him or her proper meals or medications and not cleaning his or her room. Signs of neglect include unsanitary conditions, unexplained weight loss and untreated injuries or bedsores.
- Sexual abuse: sexual abuse includes physical acts, making an elderly person undress, or making him or her watch sexual acts or look at pornographic material.
- Financial exploitation: financial exploitation is the unauthorized use of an elderly person’s property or money by a caregiver or an outside scam artist. Caregivers may steal money or property such as jewelry; misuse the elderly person’s credit cards or accounts; or engage in identity theft. Outside scams include investment fraud and phony charities.
- Heathcare fraud: healthcare fraud can include charging an elderly patient for services that weren’t provided; overcharging or double billing for medical care; over or under medicating a patient; or accepting illegal kickbacks for prescribing certain drugs (even if they aren’t appropriate for the patient).
Signs of Elder Abuse
Sometimes the signs of elder abuse can overlap with dementia and other signs of aging. But, if you suspect that your loved one is being mistreated, you should not ignore your suspicions. There are several different warning signs, especially since there are so many different types of abuse. The following are just some of the most common signs to watch for:
- Changes in personality or behavior
- Arguments between the elderly person and his or her caregiver
- Behavior that mimics dementia such as rocking or talking to oneself
- Caregiver’s refusal to allow you to visit the elderly person alone
- The elderly person’s refusal to have visitors
- Signs of malnutrition or unusual weight loss
- Unsanitary conditions such as soiled bed sheets or dirty clothes
- Being left unbathed
- Unexplained bruises or injuries
- Untreated or worsening bedsores
- Threatening or belittling by the caregiver to your elderly loved one or to another patient
Other signs to look out for include insufficient staff, poorly trained staff, staff that is ignoring other patients who are calling them or asking for things and crowding or inadequate answers to questions about care. Signs of financial exploitation might include suspicious change in wills or power of attorney; significant withdrawals from the person’s bank accounts; items or cash missing from the elderly person’s room or home; and unpaid bills even though the elderly person has the money to cover them.
What Should You do?
If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being mistreated by his or her caregiver, you should seek legal assistance as soon as possible. The nursing home abuse attorneys and staff at Chaffin Luhana have extensive experience with nursing homes and neglect cases and we serve as advocates for the elderly and their families.
Staff member Carol Neeley is a social worker and, before joining the firm was a staff social worker for a nursing home in West Virginia. She and others are intimately familiar with the federal and state regulations pertaining to nursing homes and are familiar with how to identify and prove neglect. To find out how we can help you, please contact our office today. We handle cases throughout the United States, including the Ohio Valley in West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
We put our elderly loved ones in the care of nursing home facilities when we can no longer provide them with the care they need. We put our trust in the staff and hope that our loved ones will be well taken care of and treated with respect and compassion.
Finding out that someone we love has been abused or neglected in any way is devastating and extremely upsetting for an entire family. At Chaffin Luhana, we represent families who believe their loved ones have been mistreated while under the care of a nursing home throughout the Ohio Valley area. We believe that nursing home abuse is one of the worst kinds of maltreatment. Our attorneys and staff are committed to doing everything we can to expose such wrongdoing and to obtaining the highest amount of compensation for injured persons and their families.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse is not limited to physical abuse. Negligence is one of the most common types of abuse, which can involve ignoring a patient, not giving a patient the proper medication or letting a patient sit in dirty or soiled clothes for several days. Examples of nursing home abuse and neglect include (but are not limited to):
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Ignoring or isolating a patient
- Giving a patient the wrong type or dose of a medication (over sedation)
- Not treating bedsores or other injuries
- Failing to maintain proper hygiene
- Failing to provide a patient with meals at proper times
If you suspect that your loved one is being mistreated, contact Chaffin Luhana for help today. We will investigate to determine if your suspicions are correct and will do everything in our power to make sure the responsible parties are held accountable. Sometimes our loved one’s actions or behavior may tip us off that something may be wrong. Even if you are unsure, you owe it to your loved one to make sure.
Pay Attention to Signs of Negligence and Abuse
Because our elderly loved ones may not be able to tell us when something is wrong, or in some cases, may not want us to know, it is important to pay attention to signs such as:
- Changes in behavior
- Withdrawn or depressed behavior
- Refusing to see visitors
- Nursing home staff refusing to leave a patient alone with family or visitors
- Mistreatment of other patients while you are visiting
- Loved one crying or getting upset when you are leaving
- Foul smells
- Dirty clothing or bed sheets
- Uncombed, dirty hair
- Untreated bed sores
- Unexplained bruises or injuries
- Extreme weight loss
At Chaffin Luhana, we represent families throughout the United States including the Ohio Valley in West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio in claims involving nursing home abuse and neglect. To schedule a consultation to discuss a possible case, contact us today.