If you wonder whether you have a nursing home lawsuit, you are probably really worried about the well-being of your loved one. Coming to terms with the fact that a loved one needs a nursing home is the first step in a long, complicated, difficult process. Next, you have to sift through heaps of information in order to select the best facility for the patient’s needs. No matter how much research you do, you will always wonder if you made the best choice and always worry about the daily care that your loved one is receiving. While there are many reputable nursing homes, there are also far too many that are not.

If you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse and are considering suing a nursing home for negligence, you need an advocate on your side – someone who will protect your rights and who is determined to get you the compensation you deserve. For almost 40 years, the Philadelphia nursing home abuse attorneys at Wapner Newman have been the trusted advocates for countless personal injury victims and their families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We offer risk-free consultations and work on a contingency basis, which means that we do not require you to pay any fees until we have secured a recovery on your behalf. We encourage you to contact us today by calling (215) 569-0900 or filling out our free case evaluation form.

How The Nursing Home Reform Act Impacts Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits

Recent statistics suggest that across the country, there are 15,400 nursing homes caring for 1.3 million people. The majority of these nursing homes are certified by Medicare and Medicaid, including three-quarters of those in Pennsylvania. To receive monies from these federal programs, a nursing home must comply with the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. Enacted in response to a landmark study by the Institute of Medicine, the Act was intended to address the scores of nursing home residents who were being abused and neglected.

In Pennsylvania, the Department of Health determines ongoing healthcare facility compliance with regulatory requirements, which is a condition of Medicare and Medicaid licensure and certification. Up-to-date information can be found here.

Nursing home residents should be able to expect that life in a nursing facility will offer care they can no longer handle on their own as well as provide skilled nursing services as necessary. At an absolute minimum, residents should be served nutritious meals, be able to participate in recreational activities, have trained staff properly dispense medications, be kept clean, and be cared for in a safe, sanitary facility.
Recognizing the importance of these objectives, the Nursing Home Reform Act requires that, among other things, a facility must:

  • Develop a comprehensive care plan for each individual
  • Have a sufficient staff of nurses
  • Maintain proper clinical records in accordance with professional standards
  • Periodically assess each resident
  • Provide access to a full-time social worker if it has more than 120 beds.

Residents’ Bill of Rights

In conjunction with state law, the Act also sets forth a Residents’ Bill of Rights aimed to secure an atmosphere free from improper medical treatment, abuse and isolation. The list includes the right to:

  • Be free from chemical and physical restraints
  • Be protected against unfair transfer or discharge
  • Be treated with dignity
  • Communicate freely
  • Participate in one’s own care plan
  • Privacy
  • Spend time with visitors
  • Use one’s own clothing and possessions
  • Voice grievances without facing reprisal or discrimination.

Nursing Home Neglect vs. Abuse

When Should You Pursue a Nursing Home Lawsuit?

Anyone placed in a nursing home or an assisted living facility should be able to expect high-quality care. The unfortunate reality is that abuse and neglect occur every day to these vulnerable members of our society. While the terms are often used interchangeably, abuse is more aggressive than neglect, through actions such as punching, kicking, spitting, verbally shaming, humiliating, intimidating, or degrading an individual. Neglect is better characterized as lack of proper attention and encompasses more passive problems, such as failing to check on a patient regularly, failing to bathe a patient, failing to give a patient medication, failing to care for bedsores, or failing to give a patient adequate nutrition or hydration.

Can You Sue a Nursing Home For Negligence?

A lawsuit against a nursing home can stem from a variety of situations. Possible grounds include:

  • Assault
  • Breach of contract
  • Emotional distress
  • Failure to comply with state nursing home standard-of-care laws
  • Fraud
  • Medical malpractice
  • Mental anguish
  • Misappropriation of funds
  • Neglect
  • Negligent hiring and supervision
  • Pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death.

We Can Help With Your Nursing Home Lawsuit

The law surrounding injuries caused by nursing home care can be complicated, so it’s important to speak with an experienced lawyer who can identify all actionable grounds and all proper parties. If you believe that your loved one is in a facility that is failing to abide by the proper standards of care, the Philadelphia nursing home negligence lawyers of Wapner Newman can review the case and advise as to whether there are grounds to seek financial compensation. Serving communities throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, our elder abuse lawyers believe in holding nursing homes and assisted living facilities accountable for their negligent actions. We invite you to discuss your unique situation by calling us at (215) 569-0900 or filling out a free case evaluation form. Talk to our personal injury attorneys to find out if your situation merits a nursing home abuse lawsuit.