How To Protect Loved Ones From Abuse In West Virginia Nursing Homes

Nursing home abuse is all too common and often leads to serious medical ailments, but by taking certain steps people may help protect their loved ones.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, there were more than 16,000 nursing homes across the U.S. as of 2010. Such facilities house some of the most vulnerable members of our society, the elderly and disabled. All too often, nursing home residents in West Virginia, and throughout the country, are mistreated by those who they, and their families, have entrusted with their care. However, there are things that people can do to help protect their loved ones from nursing home abuse and neglect.

Recognize The Indicators

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, nursing home abuse may include physical, psychological or sexual abuse, as well as gross neglect. The signs of physical and sexual abuse are somewhat easy to identify. Unexplainable injuries, such as bruises, broken bones, cuts and scrapes may indicate that a nursing home resident is being mistreated. Some other common signs of nursing home abuse include the following:

  • Poor personal hygiene
  • The development of bed sores
  • Unusual dehydration or malnutrition
  • Unattended medical needs
  • Abnormal withdrawal from normal activities

By recognizing the indicators of abuse, people may be able to identify mistreatment early. This may help them to prevent it from continuing, or happening to any other nursing home residents.

Call And Visit Often

As the National Center on Elder Abuse points out, calling and visiting loved ones who reside in nursing homes may help people prevent them from being mistreated. During these calls and visits, people should ask their family members how they are doing, and ensure that their needs are being met. Additionally, it is helpful for people to vary the days and times when they visit. This may help ensure that nursing home staff are not able to take steps to hide signs that they have abused a resident. By staying involved in their loved ones’ care, people may help prevent nursing home abuse from occurring at all, or identify potential problems right away.

Immediately Report Suspicions

When people suspect elder mistreatment, they should report their concerns right away. Waiting may allow the abuse to continue and, in some cases, escalate. According to the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services, people should report known or suspected nursing home abuse to the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources. This will typically initiate an investigation. In cases when the danger is imminent, or emergency medical assistance is needed, people should call 911 to report nursing home abuse.

Obtain Legal Counsel

As a result of nursing home abuse, people in West Virginia, and elsewhere may suffer additional or worsened medical conditions, or death. Consequently, they may require medical treatment and care, which often leads to unexpected costs. In such situations, however, the staff member who committed the abuse, or the facility where the mistreatment occurred, may be held liable. Therefore, those who have experienced such situations, or their families, may consider seeking legal representation. An attorney may explain their rights, and help them to understand their options for pursuing financial compensation.