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What are the signs of medical negligence in a nursing home?


To the untrained eye, it may appear easy to spot a subpar Pennsylvania nursing home. Areas that are visibly dirty or unkempt, staff who don't appear to be supervising residents or security that seems lax are all "red flags" that are often caught by families or visitors. Still, unfortunately, there are many more indications that


medical negligence


may be an issue at a nursing home.

Cleanliness, of course, is one of the biggest issues in any medical facility, including nursing homes. Lack of cleanliness, though, may not always be visible. If there is a strong odor of urine or human waste or an overpowering smell of disinfectant used as a "mask" for odors, families may want to learn more about the facility's conditions. While walking through the facility, families will want to look for safety features, such as railings or grab bars in the rooms, halls and restrooms.

Visitors and families may also want to review the visible condition of the residents themselves. If patients are left unattended in hallways, for instance, this may be a warning sign that staff members are not properly caring for vulnerable residents. If residents appear to have welts or bruises, this may also be cause for concern. Listening to patients can be extremely helpful; if they complain of bed sores or frequent falls, the facility may be negligent. Moreover, if patients complain of staff taking too long to fix things, whether it is a broken railing or a burned out lightbulb, the facility may not be prioritizing resident safety.

Families also may wish to inquire about a home's ratio of medical staff to residents. In addition, it's helpful to know what percentage of the facility's staff is composed of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nurse's aides.

Nursing home injury or group home injury can both be caused by a variety of factors. If negligence is one of these factors, though, residents and their families may be entitled to significant compensation. A Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney can help families review their initial impressions of a home, as well as the circumstances surrounding their loved one's injury.

Source: Senior Care Society, "


How to spot a bad nursing home


," Mary Rice, accessed Jan. 3, 2015

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