West Chester PA Nursing Home Injury Attorneys
Nursing Home Abuse in West Chester
West Chester is a borough in the Chester County, Pennsylvania, and is also the county seat. West Chester had a population of nearly 20,000 as of the 2010 census. Much of the Chester County government is located within the West Chester borough, as well as the West Chester University of Pennsylvania North Campus. The West Chester borough was incorporated in 1799, and one of our nation’s first railroads was built in West Chester in 1832.
Pennsylvania’s Elderly Population Growing Twenty Times Faster than the Overall Population
According to the Philly Daily News,+ the state of Pennsylvania’s senior population is growing at a rate 20 times faster than Pennsylvania’s overall population. In fact, by 2025, more than one in five Pennsylvania residents will be 65 or older. This is true of West Chester as well, meaning that more and more senior citizens will become residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities and that loved ones must be even more vigilant about protecting the elderly from nursing home abuse and neglect.
Action News investigative reporter Chad Pradelli has been investigating the nursing home industry in Pennsylvania for over a year. Pradelli notes that a recent audit by the federal government found an alarming number of nursing homes are failing to report suspected abuse, and that in the state of Pennsylvania he found “dozens of cases” where nursing homes failed to properly investigate and report neglect and abuse.
Some of the nursing homes in West Chester include, but are not limited to:
- Brandywine Hall
- Barclay Friends
- Sunrise of Westtown
- Pembrooke Health and Rehabilitation Center
- Horizon House
- Harmony Companion Home Care
- Arbor Terrace Willistown
- Brinton Manor
- Arbour Square at West Chester
- And more
When Nursing Homes Fail to Protect the Elderly
With millions of adults living in nursing homes, and the fact that as many as 40 percent of all adults will live in a nursing home at some point in their life, many of these elderly patients will suffer some form of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, the majority of abuse cases go unreported, and, in some cases, nursing home abuse and neglect can be difficult to detect—and difficult to prove. Seniors who are abused have a 300 percent greater chance of death in the three years following the abuse than seniors who have not suffered abuse.
While physical abuse is usually believed to be intentional (hitting or pinching), physical abuse can also be due to neglect (lack of physical care or overuse of restraints). Psychological abuse can be especially hard to identify, but includes shaming or humiliating the resident in any way, using threats or intimidation, yelling at, cursing at or criticizing the resident.
While neglect of an elderly resident can be intentional, it is often the result of inadequate staffing, therefore unintentional. When an elderly resident’s basic needs are not taken care of (food, clothing, water, hygiene, medications, medical care), such neglect can lead to bed sores, skin infections, dehydration, malnutrition and cognitive issues.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Families across Pennsylvania, as well as in West Chester, entrust nursing homes to provide a high level of care for their loved ones. Unfortunately, inadequate staffing, insufficient training and/or inappropriate hiring can sometimes result in elderly residents becoming victims of nursing home abuse or neglect. There are many different types of abuse and neglect, including:
- Financial exploitation
- Failure to provide adequate and nutritious food (or failure to assist those residents who cannot feed themselves)
- Failure to provide adequate liquids, leading to dehydration
- Failure to protect residents from physical abuse (hitting, pinching, slapping, kicking, pushing, etc.)
- Failure to protect residents from sexual abuse
- Improper use of restraints (residents are restrained simply for the convenience of staff)
- Failure to prevent resident falls (proper precautions are not taken when moving residents)
- Failure to prevent emotional or psychological abuse (staff yells, curses or threatens residents)
- Failure to provide residents with basic hygiene (leaving residents in dirty clothing, neglecting to change soiled or dirty bedding)
- Failure to provide residents with necessary medical attention
- Failure to administer required medications to residents
Residents who are subjected to any of these types of abuse or neglect can be at high risk of physical injury, infection, mental illnesses and even death. Unfortunately, the majority of nursing homes in the United States are for-profit, meaning there may not always be the level of attention and care given to the residents as we would hope. When an elderly resident is hurt, whether from neglect or abuse the owner of the nursing home can be held liable, subject to financial damages owed to the victim. In some instances, there could be criminal charges filed as well. Of course, any nursing home who is accused of neglect or abuse will deny wrongdoing, and may even have attorneys on call to find weaknesses in the allegations to minimize potential payouts.
Signs of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Many times, injuries or signs of neglect will be “explained away” to loved ones—the nursing home staff may say the elderly patient has dementia, or that the behavior of the elderly patient has resulted in the necessity of restraints. If you notice any of the following signs, take steps immediately to determine whether your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect:
- Bed sores
- Signs of dehydration
- Unexplained bruises
- Unexplained cuts or welts
- Broken bones
- Frequent infections
- Unusual mood swings
- Unusual emotional outbursts
- Being unusually withdrawn
- Unexplained crying
- Refusal to speak
- Refusal to eat
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dirty clothing
- Dirty bedding
- Staff who do not want you to be alone with your loved one
Getting the Help You Need for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
If you believe your elderly loved one has been the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, the experienced West Chester nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices want to help. We understand the emotional toll this type of case can take, not only on the victim, but on the entire family. Our attorneys work as a team to help residents of West Chester. If you suspect your elderly loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, contact the Ciccarelli Law Offices today. Nursing home abuse cases can be complex—call (610) 692-8700 or (877) 529-2422.