Nursing homes and long-term care facilities provide residential experiences for many Pennsylvanians who cannot live on their own or attend to their personal and medical needs. In a nursing home, a person may receive assistance with the most basic elements of getting through the day, from getting to and eating meals to bathing and taking their medications. Because nursing home residents can require a great deal of time and attention instances of neglect and abuse can occur when facilities are understaffed or ill-equipped to address their residents' needs.
In the most egregious cases nursing home residents can lose their lives when they are poorly cared for the facilities that have taken responsibility for their care. While it may seem that a death in a nursing home should automatically raise flags concerning possible instances of harm and neglect it is not always easy to prove that a loss of life in such a facility is the result of abuse.
In order to move forward on a claim of wrongful death in a nursing home or other long-term care facility the victim of the harm must have died because of the actions of the facility and their staff. For example, if an elderly nursing home patient passes away in their sleep from natural causes this death may not serve as the basis of a wrongful death action. If, though, a nursing home patient passes away because they were denied their medication either through abuse or mistake then a case may be built against the facility that failed in its duty of care.
Obtaining evidence of neglect or abuse in a nursing home wrongful death case can be difficult and often the loved ones of victims of these types of harm must file complaints with law enforcement offices in order to initiate investigations. Individuals struggling to learn more about why their loved ones passed away while under the care of nursing homes are encouraged to discuss their concerns with attorneys who offer nursing home and medical malpractice legal guidance as part of their practices.