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Our elderly deserve better than nursing home neglect

As Pennsylvania's elderly require more care, they deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. Most families struggle with the decision of whether to put their aging loved ones in nursing homes, and they go to great lengths to find a place they believe will meet or exceed their expectations. Sadly, too many of this country's elderly suffer from nursing home neglect that can result in serious injury or death.

Far too often, family members are the ones who have the responsibility of ensuring the safety and health of their loved ones while in the care of a nursing home. Residents showing signs of malnutrition, dehydration and bedsores, along with bruises, abrasions and other evidence of maltreatment, often are either unaware of their conditions due to being over medicated or are afraid of reprisals for saying something. Family members who notice these maladies have the right to address them with nursing home staff.

If an elderly loved one suffers serious injuries or dies in a nursing home, it would be prudent to have the matter investigated. As Pennsylvania residents age, they are often less steady on their feet and are prone to falls. Furthermore, undiagnosed and untreated health conditions can lead to the same result.

A family that suspects an aging family member is the victim of nursing home neglect retains the right -- and perhaps the responsibility -- to take legal action. Establishing negligence could do more than provide an award of damages for the harm done, but could also help prevent other nursing home residents from suffering as well. A compassionate and knowledgeable attorney could assist and guide a family through the process.

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