legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Huntington West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
When we leave our loved ones in a Huntington nursing home, we feel confident that they will receive the care and attention needed from the nursing home staff. Finding out that our loved ones are being mistreated can be devastating.
In many cases, abuse and neglect occur to loved ones because nursing homes are choosing to place profits over the lives of others. We need to protect one of the most vulnerable populations in West Virginia from nursing home abuse by holding these facilities accountable.
Did you or your loved one suffer from nursing home abuse? If so, the affiliate West Virginia personal injury lawyers at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC are dedicated to serving clients who are victims of abuse and providing resources to them and their families. Our attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of nursing home residents and obtaining compensation for losses.
Call our Huntington nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Huntington, WV nursing home abuse lawyers. An experienced lawyer from our network will answer your questions and provide options for your nursing home case.What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is mistreatment against a nursing home patient causing harm. There are different types of abuse that a nursing facility patient may experience.
Some types of abuse found in nursing homes are physical, emotional, sexual, and financial.Physical Nursing Home Abuse
Physical abuse involves an intentional act against an individual to cause injury or harm. In nursing homes, physical assault can result in severe injuries or even death to a patient.
Most residents with disabilities, health conditions or old age must be monitored frequently. A fall or a kick can result in bruises, abrasions, or broken bones. These injuries can be more challenging to recover from if the victim has a weakened immune system.
The Office of Inspector General released a 2019 report that estimated 1 in 5 high-risk emergency room visits from a nursing home resulted from abuse. Some of the common forms of physical abuse include:
- Misuse of physical restraints
This type of abuse involves behavior that is used to make another person feel distressed or anguish. Typically shown through verbal harassment and ignoring or isolating residents are some forms of non-verbal abuse.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), emotional or psychological abuse is most reported for older adults in the community and institutional settings.
The signs of someone being emotionally abused can be subtle, and there may be no visible marks initially. Emotional abuse can lead to depression, anxiety, and a resident’s physical health decline.
Some forms of psychological abuse include:
This type of abuse is a sexual act forced upon a victim without their consent. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, women and nursing home residents with dementia are more likely to be sexually abused.
Nursing home residents are vulnerable to health conditions, disabilities, and old age. Due to being in this frail state, some of the forms of sexual abuse that loved ones may be at risk of experiencing include:
- Unwanted touching
- Forced to watch masturbation
- Forced to view nude or pornographic images
- Taking sexual photographs without consent
- Verbal sexual harassment
This abuse involves someone illegally using your money, possessions, or assets for their gain. It can be easy for family members and friends to take advantage of their loved ones who may be in a vulnerable state.
It can be difficult for the elderly or disabled to manage their own money in a nursing facility, and they must trust family or friends to help them. The administrators and nursing staff could also financially exploit residents in nursing homes.
Financial exploitation is one of the most prevalent forms of abuse against the elderly. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, about 7 percent of abuse complaints towards the elderly in nursing homes were related to financial abuse.
Individuals with cognitive impairments are also at high risk of being financially exploited. Some forms of this type of abuse include:
- Theft of money
- Theft of personal possessions
- Using a resident’s money without permission
- Forgery of a will and other financial documents
- Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts
- Surprise charges are billed to the resident’s account
- Unpaid medical bills
Due to the various types of abuse that a nursing home patient may experience, many signs and symptoms may signal your loved one is suffering from abuse.
Families can act as advocates for their loved ones from afar by hiring an ombudsperson or by visiting them to check on them, looking for any changes in their appearance or mood, and talking with the nursing facility about any concerns.Signs And Symptoms
Some of the common signs and symptoms that may indicate different types of nursing home abuse are below.
Signs of physical abuse:
- Broken bones or unexplained injuries
Signs of emotional abuse:
- Weight loss
- Sudden changes in mood around caregiver
Signs of financial exploitation:
- Sudden changes in a resident’s will or power of attorney
- The patient suspects someone is stealing their money or possessions
- Billing conflicts such as adding unnecessary charges
Anyone over the age of 18 can receive help from Adult Protective Services. When abuse is reported, it must be investigated within one to five business days from when the report was submitted. You can also submit a report to the police if the matter is urgent.
Consulting one of our Huntington area affiliate lawyers can give advice before, during, and after filing a report if you suspect mistreatment of a nursing home resident.How to Identify Nursing Home Neglect
Neglect in nursing homes involves a caregiver failing to provide a required standard of care. Residents have a Care Plan to slow down the increasing health decline for seniors as much as possible.
Health issues such as weakened bones, a decline in cognitive functioning, and a decrease in physical functioning need daily attention. The nursing staff must provide a certain amount of time and care for each resident. When staff members neglect a patient, they are putting that individual’s health and life at risk.
Neglected patients are left in pain when they are not assisted in getting their needs met and are susceptible to slips and falls or worse when attempting to help themselves. They must be kept clean, well fed, and given the proper medical attention.
Residents who are neglected can begin to develop complications, new infections, and life-threatening health conditions. Some signs of nursing home negligence include:
- Not providing proper personal hygiene
- Leaving residents unattended for extended periods
- Failing to give medication to a resident
- Failing to tend to and keep wounds or surgical sites clean
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Failing to offer activities
- Ignoring a resident’s request
- Not providing enough food or water
In situations where negligence occurs, patients can be either left alone for an extended period without care or wander awayand get hurt from lack of supervision. Some of the signs of neglect in nursing home patients are:
- Weight loss
- Dirty bed sheets
- Foul odor
- Broken or fractured bones
- Unsanitary living conditions
Bed sores or pressure ulcers are injuries to the skin that are caused by prolonged pressure. They are usually an indicationthat nursing home neglect is taking place.
These pressure sores can develop in 2 to 3 hours if the skin has not had any unrelieved pressure. Untreated severe sores can result in a tear in the skin and damage to the underlying skin tissue that reaches the muscle or bone.
Pressure ulcers can occurwhen a resident has been left in a wheelchair or has not moved from the same position in a bed for a prolonged period.Broken Bones or Other Injuries Caused by Falls
Falls are hazardous to elderly and disabled patients in nursing facilities. When nursing staff forgets to monitor a patient properly during a transition to or from the bed, patients are likely to fall.
A patient could be at high risk of falling when not supervised when transferring from a wheelchair to the tub or toilet. Patients may have difficulty with balance, less strength, or a decline in cognitive function.
Failing to properly care for these patients puts them at risk of suffering a severe injury.Newly Acquired or Worsening Infections
Nursing home negligence can result in a patient living in unsanitary conditions and not being provided with regular baths. Residents living in a dirty environment are susceptible to germs and viruses that can lead to infections.
Some of the common infections that can be found in a nursing facility include respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, skin infections, and gastrointestinal infections. These infections can be caused by:
- Exposing residents to contaminated food and water
- Not changing a patient’s incontinence pad
- Failing to change soiled or wet clothing and bedding
- Airborne pathogens
- Ignoring signs of an early infection
Nursing homes in the Huntington area and across West Virginia fail to keep patients safe. Nursing home staff need the necessary tools to perform their work.
Many factors can cause nursing staff to unintentionally or intentionally neglect and abuse families’ loved ones. Some of the common reasons that nursing home abuse and negligence occur:
- Staffing shortages
- The hiring of unqualified employees
- Untrained staff members
- Overworked staff
- Poor management
West Virginia nursing facilities must follow state and federal government regulations and guidelines. Allowing undertrained staff to care for residents and not meeting staffing standards can result in fines or suspension for the facility.Understaffed Nursing Home Facilities
The quality of care suffers greatly when insufficient staff members care for residents. Nursing home residents need help with many basic needs, which include eating, bathing, and going to the restroom.
Negligence is likely in nursing homes that lack enough staff members to help with patients’ needs. Understaffed facilities continued to be a significant issue across the country and worsened after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a survey released by the American Health Care Association, about 73% of nursing homes are concerned about closing down due to staffing issues. When facilities have staffing shortages, patients risk developing infections and other complications due to neglect.Unqualified Nursing Staff
When a nursing home has issues hiring enough staff members, they may feel pressured to hire unqualified employees.This shortcut tactic is dangerous for the patients because they need proper medical care and safety.
Unqualified employees may not know how to handle certain situations or administer medication. These forms of negligence can lead to severe injuries and even death in patients.What to Do if I Suspect Abuse in a Huntington, WV Nursing Home
Nursing homes have a legal duty to provide care and safety when they agree to provide patient services. You can take steps if the nursing facility fails to provide a certain standard of care and services to your loved one.
You can speak with the facility administrators and director if you see signs of abuse. Addressing the issue with the facility will allow them to resolve the issue.
If the issue is not addressed or continues to occur, you should report the abuse to Adult Protective Services at 1-800-352-6513. They will investigate the complaint and provide resources to your loved one and family.
You can also contact the Long-term Care Ombudsman in your region for help with resolving issues related to your situation. They will advocate for your loved one, assist in transitioning facilities, and settle remaining accounts.
You can contact the Ombudsman for Cabell County at 304-697-2070 or by visiting their office at 418 8th St, 2nd floor, Huntington, WV 25071. Also, consult with our affiliate nursing home abuse attorney, who is experienced in handling personal injury and wrongful death cases.How Can a Huntington Lawyer Help my Loved One?
A Huntington area law firm can help you file a lawsuit and fight for the compensation your loved one and family deserve. Your attorney will investigate the abuse and file a claim against the responsible parties.
The Huntington attorney will also collect all related documents and evidence related to the abuse. If negligence is established, they will try to settle your case for the compensation your loved one and family deserve.
If your attorney cannot settle the case, they will file a lawsuit and take your case to court. Some financial compensation your Huntington lawyer can help you obtain may include:
- Current and future medical bills
- Funeral costs in wrongful death cases
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Finding out that your loved one has been neglected and abused in a place that is supposed to care for their needs is gut-wrenching. You will want to focus on recovering your loved one, healing, and preventing a similar experience from ever happening again.
It is unacceptable for Huntington nursing facilities to continue to allow residents to be abused and neglected. Hiring an attorney that can hold these facilities fully responsible allows your loved one to receive the proper care and compensation they deserve.
The Huntington nursing home abuse attorneys at Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, understand how delicate these situations can be and will provide guidance to your loved one and family. Our law firm is passionate about protecting abused clients and holding negligent parties financially accountable for their negligence.
Our reputable lawyers have experience in nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and injury cases. Call our law firm at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Huntington, West Virginia nursing home abuse attorney.
Our law firm operates on a contingency fee basis, so you don't have to pay us unless we win your case. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our Huntington nursing home abuse lawyers remains private through an attorney-client relationship.Resources: