Nursing Home Lawyer Cherry Hill, NJ

Nursing Home Lawyer Cherry Hill, NJ

While most people do not like to think about a time when they will be old and unable to care for themselves, the truth is that since the life expectancy in New Jersey and across the United States is rising, the odds are high that many people will need to eventually be placed in a facility that provides around the clock in their senior years. Whether it is due to health concerns, time constraints, or other factors, a nursing home may be the right solution for your elderly loved one. Most nursing homes are excellent environments and have caring, professional staff who properly tend to residents. Unfortunately, given the rising instances in nursing home abuse and neglect, many families may find themselves needing the legal assistance of a nursing home lawyer Cherry Hill, NJ clients trust.

Study on Aging and Nursing Homes

A recent study concluded that more than half of seniors in this country will have to stay at a nursing home at some point in their lives. The study was conducted by researchers from the RAND Center for the Study of Aging. The data used for the study was collected over an 18-year period and used in the Health and Retirement Study funded by the National Institute on Aging and the U.S. Social Security Administration.

The study found that more than 50 percent of senior citizens will need care from either an assisted living facility or a nursing home at least once during their life. The majority of the stays at nursing homes will be short and usually financially manageable. Approximately five percent of adults will likely spend more than 1,500 days in nursing homes.

These estimates are higher than what the federal government had previously estimated the need for. Studies by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concluded that only 35 percent of seniors will need nursing home care during their lifetime.

A Cherry Hill, NH nursing home lawyer knows that many nursing homes already face critical staff shortages, as well as untrained and inexperienced staff. The projection of increased need on an already overburdened nursing home system also means that there will likely be an increase in the incidents of abuse and neglect residents will suffer. Ultimately, nursing homes are responsible for making sure that their residents are safe and are provided the care they need. If staff in a nursing home facility are stretched too thin, it can make them prone to making critical mistakes that can lead to a resident becoming injured. If understaffing issues persist, it can severely affect the quality of resident care. If you visit a nursing home and notice any signs that point to potential neglect, you should report the issue.

The current rates of abuse and neglect are already horrifying. A report prepared by the United States Congress revealed that approximately one-third of the nursing homes in this country have been cited for violations that put nursing home residents at high risk of harm. And even more alarming is the result of one survey of nursing home residents where 45 percent of the participants said they had been victims of abuse while staying in a nursing home. Ninety-five percent said they had witnessed another resident neglected by a member of the staff.

Listen to Attorney Michael Brusca Discuss the Differences in Long-Term Care and Healthcare Facilities as Featured on Professionals Podcasting:


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Tips for Evaluating Nursing Homes

Finding a trusted nursing home with positive ratings can be confusing if you do not know where to start or know what criteria to go off of. If your loved one is moving to a nursing home, there are several things you should do during your search.

A good place to start would be by conducting an online search of reputable nursing home facilities. You can find descriptive reviews of certified nursing homes through government websites such as Medicare.gov. They have a feature that allows you to compare multiple nursing homes near you or a specific location. They include information such as a five star rating system, resident care quality, available beds, and other resources. Along with nursing homes, you can find detailed information on home health centers, doctors, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and more.

Before you choose a nursing home, it is recommended to visit the site with your elderly loved one in person multiple times. You want to go multiple times so you can ensure that the quality of care is consistent. Talk to the management, nurses, and other staff there to get an idea of the kind of services that the center offers. It is important that you get as much information as you can, so don’t be hesitant to ask specific questions. Ask about any services or amenities that the nursing home offers, such as free transportation to appointments, physical therapy, or recreational activities. Take note of the cleanliness of each room and how the residents interact with the staff. Does the staff seem kind and pleasant? Do the residents have a positive view of the facility? You want to get an accurate sense of the atmosphere and quality of the center to make sure that it’s the right environment for your loved one.

 What is nursing home neglect?

Nursing home neglect is the failure of a staff member to uphold the standard of care in a facility. It can occur due to negligent hiring practices, lack of staff training, and understaffing. Negligence can be harder for loved ones to spot than abuse, but it can be just as damaging.

In cases of neglect, staff may fail to:

  •       Comply with safety standards when helping patients with mobility issues
  •       Help residents when they ask for assistance
  •       Provide a safe, clean facility
  •       Provide adequate food, water, clothing, or shelter
  •       Provide medical care or oral/dental care
  •       Provide prescribed wound care for injuries like bedsores

7 Ways to Prove Your Nursing Home Neglect Allegations Are True

Whether it was a one-time event or chronic episodes of abuse, you have the right to hold those parties accountable for their egregious acts.

You can prove your allegations legitimacy by:

1. Watching and Noting the Signs of Abuse

We are at a critical time in our country where senior citizens rely heavily on long-term care. Loved ones must be proactive, not only when picking a nursing home, but when examining that nursing home after their family member begins their stay. Knowing the signs of abuse or neglect is critical to your case as it can help out with proving your case through evidence and even through testimonies. Some indicators your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect include:

  •       Unexplained changes in mood – When your loved one is showing mood changes it could be the result of the nursing home causing them stress, neglect, or even abuse. Always listen to your loved one and give them time to inform you of what goes on at the facility.
  •       Bruises, lacerations, cuts, or broken bones – These types of injuries could be from a number of different scenarios. As people age their balance tends to worsen over time leading to falls or injuries. It could also be that staff improperly moved your loved one or caused them an injury.
  •       Frequent injuries without explanation from the staff – If staff are unable to explain why your loved one received an injury or if they seem reluctant to give details, then it may be that staff caused the injury to your loved one themselves. Consult with your loved one and be sure to get their side of the story if they are able to tell you.
  •       Dehydration – Lack of water being given to the resident could be why they are dehydrated. Staff may also forget to provide the resident with water or may even be withholding water from them in more extreme circumstances.
  •       Malnutrition – Malnutrition occurs when the resident is not being provided with the adequate nutrients that they need in their diets. Malnutrition could lead to more serious issues and should be something that is always considered.
  •       Burn injuries – A burn injury may occur if the resident was placed in a bath that was too hot or if they were served food or drinks that are scolding leading to a burn injury.
  •       Lack of medicine or overdose of medicines – Nursing homes typically administer medicines to residents and are supposed to keep track of what they have and have not received for the given day. If they are not giving the resident the required amount of medicine or have given them too much, then this could be a serious health concern.
  •       Missing items or money – If items or money are missing from the resident’s room or financial accounts, then this could show that staff or somebody else at the nursing home has committed a crime. Always consult with your loved one to make sure that the items really are missing and that it is not just a misunderstanding.
  •       Use of restraints – Strong use of restraints or use of restraints when not truly needed could lead to injuries to your loved one and may be proof of abuse against your loved one by the nursing home.
  •       Withdrawing from activities they once enjoyed – The conditions of the nursing home could be leading to your loved one losing interest in the things they once loved. It may also be the case that the staff or management has led them to these feelings.
  •       Appearing nervous or uneasy around caretakers – When a resident feels nervous or uneasy around caretakers it could show that the resident is afraid of these caretakers for some reason or could be because of prior neglect or abuse from staff.

2. Obtain Their Nursing Home and Medical Records

If the nursing home participates in Medicare or Medicaid programs, you can receive your loved one’s nursing home records. Review those records and look for inconsistencies, including unnecessary treatments, use of medications, or a lack of explanation for injuries.

Medical records could indicate periods of abuse or neglect, including treatments for injuries, hospitalizations for dehydration and malnutrition, medical treatments for bed sores, and other health complications associated with substandard care. When these issues have occurred to your loved one, it is best to always listen to them and give them the care that they need. They may also need some time to heal from these traumas.

3. Photographs

Photographs are powerful pieces of evidence. These can include pictures of the resident’s living situation – such as soiled bedding or unsafe premises. Pictures of injuries or the condition you found your loved one can also prove your claims.

4. Ombudsman Complaints

Local ombudsman programs will have a detailed record of any complaints filed against the nursing home and their outcome. Frequent allegations of abuse or neglect can help prove a history of substandard care at that facility.

5. Witness Statements

A nursing home may abuse or neglect patients carelessly and leave behind witnesses. Witnesses might include other residents, family members visiting residents, or employees of the facility.

6. Inspections and Licenses

Past inspections by the state, including citations received, may help prove that the facility has a record of violating state requirements. Also, some nursing homes may advertise their services without being licensed. Pulling these records might require the assistance of a lawyer.

7. Hiring a Lawyer

Proving negligent or abusive care from a nursing home involves plenty of red tapes. You need to obtain records from county and state governments, and you may need to file motions to compel the nursing home to supply documents.

A lawyer can help you break through these roadblocks and obtain the evidence you need to prove your case.

Let Our Firm Help

Nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious issue that occurs too often in the U.S. It is crucial to take urgent action if you notice even just one potential sign of abuse. Nursing home lawyers understand that the notion of filing a claim can be stressful, but it is important that your loved one obtains justice if they have suffered abuse.

Thankfully, there are resources available if this issue occurs. If your elderly loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, your family has the right to seek financial justice against those responsible for their pain and suffering. No elderly individual should have to go through the impact of trauma and suffering alone.

An experienced lawyer is there to help you file a claim. Call Davis & Brusca, LLC to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a nursing home lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ today.

Schedule a consultation with one of the dedicated lawyers at Davis & Brusca, LLC