How to Report Nursing Home Abuse

Wheelchair with nurse supporting elderly patient in the background

How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in Pennsylvania

You can file an online complaint form with the Pennsylvania Department of Health if you have concerns about a loved one suffering abuse or neglect at a nursing home. You will be asked to fill out:

  • Your first and last name
  • Your address
  • Your relationship to the patient
  • Your phone number
  • The patient's first and last name
  • The patient's date of birth
  • The date of the incident
  • The address and name of the facility
  • Details about the event

You can also select who you have already discussed this issue with at the nursing home and whether this is a new or recent complaint and whether you request confidentiality. If confidentiality is requested, the nursing home will not be informed of your identity with the complaint. All fields are optional except the facility information and details on the incident.

Can You Sue a Nursing Home For Abuse or Neglect?

Yes, you can sue for nursing home negligence in any state, including PA.

Unfortunately, as personal injury lawyers in Pennsylvania, we have seen nursing home negligence and abuse become more prevalent as the state’s population grows older. If you suspect that your loved one may be a victim of nursing home negligence, report any suspicious activity or incidents to the PA Department of Health, and then contact a qualified Harrisburg personal injury lawyer for confidential legal advice.

How to Prevent Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

Prevention is obviously vastly preferred to a scenario where you need to make a report or start a lawsuit. If you're looking into a new nursing home, you'll want to do your research.

Did you know that Pennsylvania nursing homes receive report cards? The nursing home report card ratings, compiled by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, are based on inspections, staffing levels, and measures of the health quality of residents. Specifically, Medicare looks at three years of health department inspection data, nursing and physical staffing levels and such health measures as the percentage of residents with bedsores, urinary tract infections, and other ailments.

Individual reports on Pennsylvania’s nursing home facilities, including inspection reports, can be found on the Medicare website.

The rating system is designed to be a guide for family members when choosing care for loved ones — however, the government notes that it is not intended to be a substitute for visits to nursing homes and other personal research. While the rating system may not be a complete measure of the standard of care a nursing home provides, the ratings certainly speak volumes about many aspects of the nursing home industry, in general.

Frightfully, but perhaps not surprisingly, many nursing homes in Pennsylvania score below average in their ratings. There are several nursing homes with just one or two stars. These poor ratings may come as a result of severe under-staffing, overall inadequacy in the health care of residents, or a combination of factors. A low rating by Medicare may not always be a guarantee that your loved one is being mistreated in their nursing home facility, but it can be a good indication that the care is substandard. At the very least, family members should stay vigilant for signs of neglect and/or abuse.

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