When you and your family make the difficult decision that a nursing home is the best place to give your loved one the care they need, you trust that you will be kept involved. You know that your family member’s health condition can change at any time. One of the reasons your loved one moved into a long-term care facility is so that their pressing health needs could be addressed on a daily basis by trained professionals.
You expect that if your family member’s condition changes in any way, you will be notified immediately. If your relative falls and breaks a bone, suffers a heart attack, or develops a viral infection, you naturally assume that staff members will contact you as soon as possible. But what if they don’t?
Do nursing homes need to inform the resident’s family of an injury? There are laws that address this question. Federal law mandates that the nursing home notify the family whenever there is a change in the resident’s health condition. Nursing homes are required to alert a doctor immediately of any change in a resident’s condition that could affect the health of the resident. A physician must be informed so they can stabilize the resident’s condition, and a family member or other representative of the resident must be notified of the resident’s condition as well. This is one of the rights of nursing homes residents in Pennsylvania.
The nursing home abuse lawyers at Shrager & Sachs devote an area of legal practice to protecting the rights of nursing home residents. We work with families in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas of Pennsylvania. If a nursing home resident was injured and your family was not notified, it may be best to work with a nursing home abuse lawyer to further investigate the care facility.
Failing to disclose resident injuries may be a sign that abuse or neglect is being perpetrated within the institution. Your loved one may not be the only one who suffered injuries through the actions of negligent nursing home staff. Reach out to the Philadelphia office of Shrager & Sachs to discuss your case.
Types of Injuries Commonly Suffered in Nursing Homes
Your loved one may have suffered a worsening of their health condition in multiple ways. If a situation like any of the ones described below occurs, the nursing home must notify the family members.
- The resident suffers a stroke, heart attack, seizure, or other sudden-onset condition
- An accident resulting in injury and requiring a doctor’s care occurs
- A serious illness or infection develops
- There is a sudden change in the resident’s physical or mental health
- There is a significant change in vital signs.
Nursing home residents are especially prone to certain injuries and adverse health effects. The following list contains only a few of the more common types of injuries seen among older adults residing in nursing homes.
- Falls (resulting in broken bones, concussion, hip fracture, spinal cord damage, or other injury)
- Viral, bacterial, or fungal infection
- Bedrail or restraint injuries
- Pressure ulcers (bed sores)
- Illness resulting from malnutrition or dehydration
- Bruising or welts on the skin
- Anxiety, depression, confusion, or worsened cognitive health
Any of the symptoms listed above can be signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. If you notice that your loved one has multiple injuries in a short period of time, or has injuries without a reasonable explanation, there may be cause for concern. In addition to physical symptoms, a victim of nursing home abuse may also display signs such as:
- Sudden changes in mood or behavior
- Silence or unwillingness to talk
- Neglecting activities and hobbies they used to enjoy
- Lethargy and inattention
- Noticeable reactions to a certain staff member
- Unexplained changes in finances
If you observe troubling symptoms, even minor ones, make an effort to spend extra time with your loved one. Visit frequently and without notice if possible. Reach out to nursing home staff members and establish good communication with the people who interact with your loved one most frequently. Ask your family member questions about their life. Encourage participation in group activities and social events.
When a nursing home resident is healing from an injury or illness, it’s essential they get the support they need to achieve their best possible physical and mental wellness. If you suspect abuse or neglect is a factor, it’s even more imperative that you be the help your family member needs. Take notes and pictures of anything you find questionable during your visits. Remember that abuse can be physical, verbal, emotional, or financial. If abuse or neglect is occurring, evidence will be critical to your case.
Take Legal Action To Protect the Rights of a Nursing Home Resident
Family members need to know the physical and emotional health condition of their loved ones. If a family is not aware that an injury, illness, or infection occurred, they are stripped of their ability to make the best and most informed decisions to help their loved ones.
We trust that our loved ones in nursing homes are getting the care they need. When a long-term care facility violates that trust and hides information, a nursing home abuse lawyer can step in to make sure that the nursing home resident is being properly advocated for.
Help elderly abuse or neglect victims protect their rights. If your loved one in Philadelphia or the surrounding areas of Pennsylvania suffered an injury in a nursing home and your family was not notified, you may have legal options. Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer from Shrager & Sachs to learn more. We always begin with a free case review to better understand your situation and how we may be able to help.
How Can You Unknowingly Admit Fault in a Car Accident?