Effects of Nursing Home Neglect

Elder man sitting in front of window, suffering from the effects of nursing home neglect.

In Philadelphia and throughout the surrounding counties of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, too many older adults suffer the painful and dangerous effects of nursing home neglect. This is in spite of the fact that state and federal law forbids such misconduct. If you or your loved one has been seriously neglected in a nursing home in the Philadelphia area, do not let another moment go by without contacting the competent, compassionate attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy.

Our personal injury lawyers have the in-depth legal knowledge and consummate skill to fight for your right to meaningful compensation if nursing home neglect has resulted in serious harm. Call on us now for a free evaluation of your case. We work on contingency so you will be charged no attorneys’ fees until we recover damages.

What Constitutes Nursing Home Neglect?

According to both federal and state laws, the elderly residents of nursing homes are protected against neglect that may show itself in a number of ways, including failure to provide:

  • Nutrition
  • Hydration
  • Clothing (by helping patients to dress, if necessary)
  • Shelter
  • Medical care
  • Companionship
  • Protection from health and safety hazards.

Why is Nursing Home Neglect So Prevalent?

Following are reasons for nursing home neglect, though none of them excuse unprofessional, often cruel, treatment: [1] nursing aides who provide most of the hands-on care, are minimally trained, do work that is exceptionally difficult, and are grossly underpaid and [2] owners and managers of nursing homes too often make financial concerns their top priority, rather than the health and well-being of their residents.

How Cooper Schall & Levy Can Help

Nursing home neglect can, and too frequently does, result in serious physical and emotional harm. Nevertheless, neglect is difficult to prove. That’s why it is essential to have one of our able attorneys:

  • Gather evidence
  • Examine medical records
  • Check for examples of previous negative citations
  • Interview witnesses

Most importantly, our lawyer will fight vigorously for your rights, both inside and outside of the courtroom.

How Nursing Home Neglect Causes Severe Harm

Nursing home neglect should never be taken lightly, since in many instances thoughtlessness or procrastination on the part of healthcare workers can have disastrous results. If your loved one shows signs of any of the following, it is time to contact an experienced nursing home neglect attorney:

Malnutrition or Dehydration 

Malnutrition and dehydration can not only make patients miserable; they can cause fatalities, especially in old patients with pre-existing conditions. Either type of neglect is usually the result of a lack of attention and care. Nursing homes have a duty to ensure that patient needs are accommodated, even if that requires manual feeding or holding a cup to the patient’s lips. It should be noted that malnutrition and dehydration can cause psychiatric as well as physical symptoms (e.g. disorientation, and cognitive impairment).  


Nursing home residents are more prone to falls than the general public due to possible balance issues, muscle weakness, osteoporosis, and general frailty. Since they are also more prone to serious injuries as a result of falls, nursing homes are required to provide a safe environment and watchful attendance to their needs. Nursing homes, to protect their patients, are required to have:

  • Floors that are not slippery and are free of obstacles
  • Sufficient lighting anywhere there are patients
  • Beds of appropriate heights
  • Well-maintained wheelchairs, walkers, and other assistive devices

Above all, nursing homes must provide sufficient supervision and assistance to their residents whether patients are walking, in a wheelchair, in bed, or trying to go to the bathroom. A single fall due to neglect can result in a patient’s fractured hip, facial lacerations, or even traumatic brain injury.

Bed Sores (Pressure Ulcers)

Bed sores result from patients lying too long in one position, putting continual pressure on one spot that eventually develops into a wound. In addition to being extremely painful, bed sores can potentially lead to life-threatening complications. Patients with attentive care do not get bedsores because their caregivers turn them regularly and keep them clean, dry, hydrated, and well-nourished. Nursing facilities should also use up-to-date cushions and mattresses designed to protect patients’ skin. 

Poor Personal Hygiene

Nursing home patients who are improperly clothed, soiled, or unkempt are not being properly cared for. A great many nursing home residents need help with routine self-maintenance, such as brushing their teeth, combing their hair, bathing, and wiping themselves after using the toilet. Unless they receive the assistance they require, they may develop rashes, head lice, bacterial or fungal skin infections, or serious tooth problems, not to mention a loss of self-esteem and depression. 

Lack of Necessary Medical Care

While nursing homes are required to take patients’ vital signs on a regular basis, when it comes to providing other medical care, many are remiss. Patients who need specialized eye, ear, skin, or foot care, or evaluation of a digestive or psychiatric issue, may wait weeks or even months for specialized care. In some cases, they are not tended to until they require emergency hospital admission.


Like young children, many nursing home residents are in danger of wandering, so caregivers have a responsibility to keep a close eye on them. This is particularly true if the residents are memory-impaired. When wandering becomes elopement (i.e. leaving the premises), the patient is clearly in danger of physical harm, though even ending up in another part of the facility, in another patient’s room, or in a kitchen may present serious hazards.

Social/Emotional Needs

When family members make the hard decision to move their loved one into a nursing care facility, one of their hopes is that their relative will get a chance to socialize, be entertained, and be provided with companionship those at home can only provide sporadically. If a nursing home fails in this basic task by failing to provide venues or organized programs to encourage conversation and friendship, they are failing in their duty of care.

Contact Our Accomplished Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys Today

At Cooper Schall & Levy, we know that nothing is worse than seeing a loved one suffer, especially when that suffering could be easily remedied. Don’t let your relative languish. Contact us so we can help you alleviate this dangerous situation and bring your family the justice you deserve.