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Signs of Nursing Home Abuse in West Virginia

Under West Virginia law, nursing home residents have the right to be free from abuse and neglect. When that right is violated, residents and their families can take legal action. They can stop the mistreatment. They can prevent others from facing similar harm. And they can recover just compensation for the damages they have suffered.

If you believe your elderly loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home in Charleston or any other West Virginia community, contact Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC. Our skilled nursing home abuse lawyers and legal staff can get to work immediately on protecting your loved one’s health and your legal rights.

Contact us today by phone or online for a free and confidential consultation.

Types of Abuse Complaints in U.S. Nursing Homes
TypePercentage
Physical Abuse29
Resident-to-Resident Abuse22
Psychological Abuse21
Gross Neglect14
Sexual Abuse7
Sexual Abuse7
Financial Exploitation7
National Center on Elder Abuse, citing 2010 NORS Data

 

Physical Abuse

The West Virginia Long-Term Ombudsman Program (Ombudsman) defines physical abuse as any act that harms or threatens to harm a nursing home resident. The abuse can lead to physical pain, injury or death.

An example is a nursing home staff member hitting or slapping an elderly resident. A nursing home resident may also be abused by a fellow resident. The unauthorized, non-emergency use of physical or chemical restraints also is a form of abuse.

Red Flags

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, fractures or burns
  • Markings around the wrists or ankles
  • Deterioration in physical and mental health
  • Drowsiness or confusion (from use of chemical restraints)
  • Anxiety or fear in the presence of certain staff members or residents

 

Verbal / Emotional Abuse

verbal abuse at nursing homesVerbal abuse can include a threat of any kind to cause physical pain or injury to a nursing home resident. Emotional abuse can include verbal and non-verbal acts that are meant to intimidate, humiliate and otherwise inflict psychological damage on a resident. This type of abuse violates a nursing home resident’s right to be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. If your loved one has been treated unjust in a West Virginia nursing home, call our experienced nursing home neglect attorneys today to find out how they can help you!

Red Flags

  • Sudden change in demeanor
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Nervousness around certain staff members or residents

 

Sexual Abuse

sexual abuse at nursing homesSexual abuse is the use of force or the threat of force to engage in non-consensual sexual contact with a nursing home resident. The abuse may be committed by a staff member, fellow resident or visitor to the facility. It’s important to note that West Virginia nursing homes are required, by law, to conduct criminal background checks before hiring any staff members. There is no excuse for allowing a past sex offender to serve on a home’s staff.

Red Flags

  • Unexplained cuts or bruises, including the breasts and buttocks.
  • Bleeding in the genital area
  • Refusal to allow others to touch him or her
  • Diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease

 

Neglect

neglect at nursing homesNeglect occurs when a nursing home fails to provide the necessary care and services that a resident needs to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being. It often is the product of understaffing by nursing home owners and operators.

There are many different forms of neglect, from neglect of a nursing home resident’s hygiene, medical and dietary needs to neglect of a facility, allowing hazards to exist such as broken rails, slippery floors or unsanitary living conditions.

Unfortunately, a common type of neglect is the failure to reposition those residents who are either bed-ridden or who need to use a wheelchair. This neglect can lead to bed sores.

The failure to provide adequate security is neglect as well. Poor security can lead to assaults. A resident with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia could also wander away from a facility and suffer serious injury if the facility is unsecured.

Red Flags

  • Dirty appearance
  • Malnourishment or dehydration (marked by rapid weight loss)
  • Bed sores or other types of infections
  • Unexplained and/or repetitive injuries from falls or other accidents

 

Financial Exploitation

financial exploitation at nursing homesAny illegal use or wasting of a nursing home resident’s money, personal property or other assets is financial exploitation. It can include theft by a staff member, embezzlement of a resident’s funds by an administrator or use of fraud to gain access to a resident’s funds.

Red Flags

  • Unusual ATM or other bank account withdrawals
  • Checks “bounce” when sufficient funds should be available
  • Loss of personal property, including clothes, jewelry and collectibles
  • Abrupt changes to a will or trust

 

What To Do If You Suspect Abuse or Neglect in a WV Nursing Home?

If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected in a West Virginia nursing home, you should report it without delay. If you make the report in good faith, you will not be exposed to civil or criminal liability. A nursing home cannot retaliate against you or your loved one for making a report.

You can report the abuse to your local Department of Health and Human Services branch or call the West Virginia elderly abuse hotline at (800) 352-6513. If the case involves financial exploitation, you should report it to (866) 241-5062.

You may also need to contact local law enforcement authorities if you believe your loved one faces an imminent threat to his or her safety.

 

Our West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Can Help You

Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC, possesses the knowledge and experience to help you to respond properly to the suspected abuse or neglect of your loved one in a West Virginia nursing home.

Contact us today to discuss your options with one of our partners or members, who are each rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell® – the highest possible peer review from other attorneys, judges and others in the legal field.

We can take immediate action. Our nursing home neglect attorneys can help you to report the abuse. We can also serve as a liaison between you and the state agency or law enforcement officers who are investigating your loved one’s case.

We will make sure to protect your rights and interests at every step and seek full compensation for any physical, mental or financial harm your elderly loved one and your family have suffered.

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