Choosing the right facility for an elderly loved one can be a harrowing task. If they are still fairly independent and only need help with the occasional daily activity, you may want to consider an assisted living location. While many of these facilities function properly, there are some that abuse their residents. If you fear your loved one is being abused or neglected, our Philadelphia assisted living abuse lawyers are here for you.
According to the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA), there are more than 1,200 licensed personal care homes that serve approximately 46,500 residents. 35 of those facilities are licensed assisted living residences. Because of the number of individuals in these facilities, it can be difficult to recognize instances of abuse and neglect unless you are closely monitoring your loved one or they report it.
Your loved one has legal rights and options in the event they are abused in their assisted living residence. Let’s go over some important information you may need in the event you’re ready to file a lawsuit on behalf of your loved one.
What Is an Assisted Living Facility?
There are a variety of options for senior housing and care. One of the most independent options is assisted living. It’s important to understand the existing options and facility types, so you can choose the one that suits your loved one’s needs best.
Most people automatically think of nursing homes when they think of long-term care facilities for their elderly loved ones. These facilities, however, provide care that your loved one may not need, depending on their physical and mental state. Nursing homes provide 24/7 medical care and supervision, scheduled meals and activities, and may be covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
Assisted living facilities are different. Most assisted living residents do not need constant supervision. While some facilities have resident nurses or an onsite health clinic, the goal of assisted living is to help residents with daily living activities like dressing, eating, bathing, and taking medication. Residents can be as independent as they are able to be.
Assisted living also offers more privacy. Most personal resident facilities resemble apartments or dormitories, and there tend to be more community activities available to participate in. These types of facilities are typically considered private, which means Medicare and Medicaid are not likely to cover the costs. The average assisted living resident in Pennsylvania pays $3,600 a month for their stay.
What Forms of Abuse and Neglect Warrant Legal Action?
The types of assisted living abuse and neglect vary; however, there are identifiable patterns that can be pursued legally. Let’s take a look at some of the more common forms:
Physical Abuse. If an employee is abusive, your loved one may have unexplained bruises, lacerations, broken bones, burn injuries, or head injuries. Abuse can also come from other residents or visitors. Regardless of who the abuser is, the facility has a legal obligation to keep your loved one safe.
Psychological Abuse. Instead of resorting to acts of physical violence, some assisted living workers may try to intimidate or scare residents. Psychological abuse can result in serious behavioral changes, depression, and withdrawal from normal activities.
Slip and Fall Injuries. If an assisted living facility is not kept up, residents risk falling and sustaining serious injuries. If an employee is assigned to clean your loved one’s personal facility and neglects their duty, your loved one is at risk for falling there as well.
Unsanitary Conditions. All assisted living residents deserve sanitary conditions. Employees should follow through with their tasks of cleaning common areas thoroughly, as well as cleaning assigned personal facilities. In the event they do not, there’s a higher chance for the spreading of germs and illnesses. Residents may also be at risk if their food isn’t prepared in the proper conditions, or if they do not receive the help they need with laundry services.
Financial Exploitation. Your loved one could be financially exploited by an employee who finds a way to access their banking information; however, it’s also important to note that entire facility may commit exploitation if they double bill for services, overcharge, perform unnecessary services, or charge for services that were not provided.
Breach of Contract. When anyone signs a contract it’s assumed the terms will be honored, as they are legally binding. A contract with an assisted living facility is no different. When a facility fails to follow their legal requirements, they can be held accountable for breaching their half of the document.
Regardless of how or why the abuse happens, your loved one deserves better. Our attorneys can help you start a case today.
What Are the Rights of an Assisted Living Resident in Pennsylvania?
According to Pennsylvania’s Residential Care and Assisted Living Compendium, assisted living residences are to provide food, shelter, and personal assistance or supervision. To be a licensed facility, the staff must be supervising four or more adults who are not related. The facility must also disclose information about admission and discharge criteria, special programming costs and fees, and a written description of its program and services – including how residents’ needs can be safely met.
Residents are also entitled to laundry, social activities, cognitive support, medication assistance, three daily meals, and a trained, competent staff who will treat them and their needs with respect and dignity. If a facility neglects these obligations or directly abuses a resident, they can and should be held legally accountable for their actions. The right attorney can ensure your loved one is treated fairly, and no other residents are subjected to similar circumstances.
How Can an Assisted Living Abuse Attorney in Philadelphia Help My Loved One?
If you’re ready to take action on behalf of your loved one, our Philadelphia assisted living abuse lawyer can give you the legal representation you deserve. It can be difficult going up against a large facility; however, we will do whatever it takes to ensure your loved one gets justice. They may be eligible for compensation based on their treatment. For more information, contact our office today for a free initial consultation.