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Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing Home Abuse Attorney in Charleston

Troy Law Firm Can Fight for Your Elderly Loved Ones

When you place a family member in a nursing home or assisted care facility, you trust that their health and safety will be the facility’s top priorities. Unfortunately, although many nursing home employees work hard to ensure the well-being of those under their care, there are others who mistreat residents, causing physical and emotional suffering.

If you or your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, act now – consult with a skilled nursing home abuse attorney in Charleston who can build a strong case on your behalf. Troy Law Firm PLLC offers aggressive yet compassionate representation for the victims of nursing home abuse and their families.

Pursue justice today – schedule a free consultation with us by calling (304) 315-2299. We serve families in Huntington, WV as well as Ashland and Prestonsburg, KY.

What Is Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse is a common form of medical malpractice. It can occur when a health care professional’s negligence leads to injury, suffering, financial losses, or wrongful death. Because the care provided at nursing homes involves nearly every aspect of your loved one’s life, there is a wide range of ways in which abuse can occur.

Examples of nursing home abuse include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Mental cruelty or verbal abuse
  • Humiliation
  • Taking and sharing pictures of residents on social media to ridicule them
  • Unlawful restraint or imprisonment
  • Purposeful failure to protect residents or ensure a safe environment
  • Purposeful withholding of medication, food, or water
  • Theft or financial exploitation

Common Signs of Elder Abuse

Unlike other types of medical malpractice in which the signs may be more blatant (such as the removal of the wrong appendage), most cases of elder abuse are much subtler and more difficult to detect. Whether due to a hygiene issue that gradually worsens over time, or a culture of cruelty in which residents are fearful or unable to speak out, not all signs of abuse are easily identified.

Nursing home abuse and neglect can produce both physical and mental indicators.

Psychological signs of abuse can include:

  • Changes in attitude, behavior, or speech when a specific individual is present
  • Loss of appetite
  • Reluctance to talk, especially when the reluctance is consistent with particular people, places, or events
  • Abrupt changes in personality

Physical signs of abuse can include:

  • Unexplained cuts, bruises, or injuries
  • Torn or missing clothing
  • Marks on ankles, wrists, and other areas of the body from physical restraints
  • Sudden changes in medication that make your loved one less capable or responsive

What Is Nursing Home Neglect?

Nursing home abuse can include physical, emotional, and financial abuse. Nursing home neglect lacks intent to cause harm but is still negligent in nature.

Nursing home neglect lawsuits often involve negligent actions and behaviors such as:

  • Failure to properly care for medical conditions
  • Failure to assist in maintaining personal hygiene
  • Failure to prevent malnutrition or dehydration
  • Failure to provide sanitary living conditions
  • Lack of safety bars on beds
  • Lack of safety bars in bathrooms and showers or bathtubs
  • Lack of security
  • Lack of adequate resident monitoring

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home or care facility, you should always be on the lookout for potential signs of neglect, as they can be difficult to spot.

Common signs of nursing home neglect include:

  • Bed sores
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Rapid hair loss
  • General uncleanliness
  • Inability to focus
  • Dehydration and malnutrition

If you notice signs of neglect and suspect that your loved one may be suffering abuse at the hands of a caregiver, get in touch with a professional.

You can contact:

  • Adult Protective Services by phone or at dhhr.wv.gov
  • Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
  • Local law enforcement (if you believe it is an emergency)

In addition to contacting Adult Protective Services, you can review the ombudsman directory on the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services to obtain contact information for your local ombudsman.

An ombudsman is a public official who is responsible for representing the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints of a violation of rights or maladministration. Many times, an ombudsman can determine if there is a valid cause for concern.

In the event that the ombudsman finds signs of negligence or you notice blatant examples of neglect or abuse, contact our Charleston nursing home abuse attorney at Troy Law Firm to discuss your case for free.

How to Choose the Right Nursing Home for Your Loved One

You want the best for your loved one. When choosing a nursing home, consider the preferences and unique needs of your family member and evaluate the facility’s ability to meet those requirements. While it is important to weigh reviews and word-of-mouth referrals from friends and relatives, there is no substitute for a personal visit. Visit often and at odd hours: Evenings, nights and weekends. Don’t just talk to appointed representatives; walk up and talk to everyone, including residents, visitors, family members, and staff.

Consider the following elements of your potential nursing home or care facility:

  • Ambience: Use all of your senses as soon as you walk in the door. Is the atmosphere warm and welcoming? Does the facility look and smell clean?
  • Staff: How do caregivers interact with the residents? Does the staff convey respect and a positive attitude?
  • Certification and licensure: Is the facility certified to provide Medicare and/or Medicaid coverage? Medicare offers a very rigid five-star rating system that applies specifically to nursing homes. Five-star facilities are quite rare, but anything under a three-star rating could be cause for concern.
  • Dining: Look at the menus to gain a sense of nutritional value and variety. What is the policy for special menu or dining requests? Are snacks available?
  • Medical considerations: Is there a physician on staff to address a variety of chronic or acute health care needs? How many nurses are on staff and what are their credentials? Are other medical professionals such as optometrists, podiatrists, and dentists available? Are therapy programs available and, if so, what types? What is the prescription drug policy? Is there an arrangement with a nearby hospital, and if so, what is it? What are the credentials of the Executive Director?
  • Care planning: Are there special programs offered by the facility for issues such as Alzheimer’s? Are there services for terminally ill residents and their families? How are residents and their families encouraged to participate in developing individualized care plans?
  • Patient rights: What are the rights and responsibilities of residents? Under what circumstances are restraining devices recommended? Does the facility have a Resident Council, and can you participate?
  • Location: Is the facility located in an area that is convenient for frequent visits from friends and family?
  • Costs: Are all the services your loved one requires covered in the basic rate? Request a list of services that are not covered by the basic cost, which may include things like specialty foods, barbers, and beautician services. Also determine if a financial assistance representative is employed by the facility who may be able to assist you in obtaining VA or other governmental benefits to help cover the cost of care.

A care facility should strive to create a community where residents can feel comfortable, build relationships, and see familiar faces, just like they did at home. By proactively planning ahead, you can help to ensure that your loved one receives the highest quality of care and quality of life.

Get in touch with Troy Law Firm if you need legal representation for a nursing home abuse or neglect case. Call (304) 315-2299 or contact us online.

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