How to Report Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Fighting for the rights of the elderly in West Virginia
The physical, mental, emotional or financial abuse of an elderly nursing home resident is deplorable. Tragically, many of these cases go unreported throughout West Virginia. As a result, the misconduct persists, and the perpetrators are never held accountable. At Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, we believe it's important to take action.
If you suspect abuse or neglect, you can and should report it to:
- Adult Protective Services (APS)
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
- Your local law enforcement agency (if you believe it is an emergency).
There are three important steps you should take.
Compile your information.
You should be ready to provide basic information to APS, the ombudsman or the police, including:
- Name and age of your loved one
- Name and address of the nursing home
- Name of the suspected perpetrator
- Names and contact information of any witnesses
- Date, time and place of the suspected mistreatment
- What happened to your loved one (type of abuse or neglect)
- Injuries that you believe your loved one suffered
- Whether you believe your loved one is facing imminent danger.
You should know that you can make an anonymous report. Unless you give authorization in writing, your identity will not be revealed to the nursing home or anyone else. You should not fear criminal charges or civil liability as long as you make your report in good faith.
Additionally, the nursing home will be prohibited by law from discriminating against, transferring or discharging your loved one because a complaint was filed. The nursing home can lose its license if it does so.
File your report.
Once you have your information collected, you should file the report right away with APS. You can file a report in one of two ways:
- IN PERSON - You can go to your local Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) office. Visit their website to find the office nearest to you.
- BY PHONE - You can simply call the 24-hour elder abuse hotline at 1-800-352-6513.
In addition to filing a report with APS, you can and should file a complaint with the West Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Call 1-800-834-0598 or check out the ombudsman directory on the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services site to get the contact information for your local ombudsman.
A copy of your report to APS may be sent to:
- Local police (if serious injury or death)
- Coroner or medical examiner (if death)
- Administrator of the nursing home.
If you believe your loved one is facing an imminent threat of harm, you should call 911. If the situation involves financial exploitation, you can report it to the West Virginia Attorney General's office by calling 1-866-241-5062.
Get help from an attorney.
As you move forward, a nursing home abuse attorney can play an important role in protecting the rights of you and your loved one, including the right to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and more. A lawyer can also serve as a liaison between your family and the authorities who are investigating the suspected abuse or neglect of your loved one. These are all reasons why you should get help from an attorney without delay.
Contact Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC. We will take the time to listen carefully to your concerns, and we will be committed to seeking a positive outcome in your case. Contact us today for a free consultation. We serve clients in Charleston and throughout West Virginia.