Nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse often occur together, but represent two distinct causes of action against elder residents at nursing homes. The Pennsylvania Legislature passed the Older Adults Protective Services Act (OAPSA), (amended in 1997) to require specific reporting procedures on suspected abuse. The law requires that:
“Any employee or administrator of a facility who suspects abuse is mandated to report the abuse. All reports of abuse should be reported to the local Area Agency on Aging and licensing agencies. If the suspected abuse is sexual abuse, serious physical injury, serious bodily injury, or suspicious death as defined under OAPSA, the law requires additional reporting to the Department of Aging and local law enforcement.”
The OAPSA divides elder abuse into four categories: sexual abuse, serious physical abuse, serious bodily injury and suspicious death.
While, the Legislature was somewhat proactive against Pennsylvania nursing home abuse cases, they still were unable to prosecute such cases from a state-wide level.
New Law Regarding Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse Cases
Prior to the new law, there was a distinction between prosecuting Pennsylvania nursing home abuse cases and Pennsylvania nursing home neglect cases. The Attorney General of Pennsylvania was able to prosecute neglect cases, but was unable to prosecute Pennsylvania nursing home abuse cases. Instead, abuse cases were left to local prosecutors. The new law now allows the Attorney general to prosecute both Pennsylvania nursing home abuse cases and neglect cases.
Representative Jim Cox, the sponsor of the bill, explained :
“Those caregivers who kill a person by neglecting the individual will no longer be able to hide behind a legal loophole.”
Does My Loved One Have a Pennsylvania Nursing Home Abuse Case?
Our dedicated team has significant experience dealing with Pennsylvania nursing home abuse cases. If you think your loved one suffered abuse at a nursing home or assisted living facility, call us at 215-339-9200. The consultation is free of charge and hassle-free.