Elder abuse is a devastating and heartbreaking epidemic in the United States. In West Virginia, victims of abuse or neglect have the right to sue people who engage in harmful behavior. Family members and loved ones of those abused can also file cases on their family member’s behalf. Doing so ensures the victim can afford the costs of recovery. Filing a lawsuit also helps other residents stay safe. A West Virginia nursing home abuse lawyer can make this happen.
If you or your loved one has suffered abuse at a nursing home or long term care facility, call DiTrapano Barrett DiPiero McGinley & Simmons, PLLC today. Our attorneys can assist you with collecting a settlement that will compensate you for any injuries, medical bills, and mental anguish you and your family have suffered. In addition, we can make sure your elderly loved one is relocated to a safer environment. Safety is our priority.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse, often referred to as elder abuse, takes many forms. Our law firm handles all types of nursing home neglect and abuse claims throughout West Virginia.
Some of the different situations we handle include:
- Physical Abuse: Physical abuse is the most common form of abuse that occurs. Staffers may wrongfully beat, slap, or shake patients when frustrated. Restraining a patient unnecessarily can also be considered physical abuse. Nursing home residents are often very frail, so violence of this nature can easily lead to serious injuries or even death.
- Financial Abuse: This is when nursing home workers prey on a patient’s lack of awareness or vulnerability and steal funds through any of several different methods.
- Sexual Abuse: Some staffers may sexually abuse or take advantage of patients in a nursing home.
- Verbal Abuse: When staff members talk down, racially profile, or insult residents to make them feel inferior, this is considered verbal abuse.
- Medication Abuse: Some staffers are known to overmedicate or sedate patients to make them easier to manage. This act is considered illegal and is a form of eder abuse. Withholding a patient’s medication for malicious purposes is also a form of abuse.
- Neglect: Neglect is a form of abuse that occurs when nursing home staff members neglect to properly care for a loved one or fail to watch or interact with them as needed to ensure a healthy lifestyle.
The Reality of Nursing Home Abuse in the United States
The unfortunate truth is that most cases of nursing home abuse and neglect go unreported in our country. It’s no secret that our nation’s nursing homes are overcrowded and understaffed. This lets staff members get away with being neglectful to “cut corners” and have an easier shift or get away with abuse without anyone noticing.
Part of the issue is that it’s difficult for government agencies and state regulators to know when facility staff members are abusing residents. Signs of abuse can often be mistaken for signs of falling accidents typically seen in elderly patients. There’s also the fact that many nursing home residents are left rather defenseless and may feel pressured to stay quiet regarding incidents that occur.
Since most long term care facilities in West Virginia are understaffed, staff members may even try their best to properly care for residents but may find it impossible to deliver the standards of care that are necessary. In this type of situation, the nursing home itself may be held at fault for not hiring enough staff members or overloading their employees with too many patients.
Other common causes of nursing home abuse include poor staff training and negligent hiring procedures. Nursing home staff members need to be trained in how to properly handle elderly residents without causing harm. They also need to be trained in how to deal with various physical and mental limitations and how to best communicate with residents.
Statistics state that up to 1 in 6 nursing home residents are believed to be abused or neglected every year. A recent congressional report highlighted the fact that almost 1 in 3 nursing homes were cited for violations that had the potential to lead to harm or injury to residents over a two-year period. Statistics like these are unacceptable. Our nation’s elderly population deserves better.
Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect
Do you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home or long term care facility? If so, you need to look for signs of this behavior. When you visit your loved one, watch to see if he or she displays any of these telltale signs of abuse or neglect:
- Unexplained broken bones
- Increased timidity or a reluctance to talk or answer questions regarding care
- Nervousness when staff members enter the room
- Unexplained bruises, welts, restraint marks, or lacerations
- Poor hygiene or an unclean environment
- Increased depression or other signs of uncharacteristic behaviors
- Fear of staff members and doctors at the nursing home
- Sudden weight loss (malnutrition)
Many of the above signs are evidence of negligence in general. Any sign of negligence is one you should be concerned with. If your loved one isn’t getting the care they require, this could be a sign of abuse, neglect, or severe understaffing. All three could seriously endanger the health and safety of your family member.
Hire a West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer You Trust
If you were injured or if your loved one was harmed by a nursing home staff member or a medical professional at a long term care facility, recovery is possible. With the help of our team of Charleston nursing home abuse lawyers at DiTrapano Barrett DiPiero McGinley & Simmons, PLLC, you can receive peace of mind and ensure no other residents are harmed in the same way. Filing a lawsuit against the facility or individual forces institutions to stop abuse from occurring.
Our personal injury firm works together as a team and uses our 150 years of combined experience to secure a satisfactory settlement or verdict on your behalf. We won’t stop until we’ve done all we can to obtain compensation for you. Call today to learn more.