Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in West Virginia
The average nursing home in West Virginia costs $230 per day. This adds up to more than $80,000 each year. With this high cost, you expect your loved one to receive the care, treatment and support they need to enjoy their golden years. While many nursing homes and staff provide this level of care, neglect and abuse do happen. If you suspect that your loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, an attorney can help you evaluate the situation, build a case and hold the nursing home accountable for your loved one’s injuries.
At Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C., our lawyers have represented injured nursing home residents and their families since 1970. We know the local nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care facilities in West Virginia, and we know the recurring issues that many of these facilities have with neglect and abuse.
It is horrifying to learn that a facility you entrusted to care for an aging loved one betrayed that trust and allowed them to live in substandard conditions or outright abused them. We work closely with our clients to help ensure that justice is done and that those responsible for these egregious actions are held fully accountable.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home and long-term care facility residents are among the most vulnerable in our society, and there are several ways that they might be abused in these facilities:
- Physical Abuse: Abuse happens in roughly one out of every three nursing homes in the US, and in a large percentage of these facilities, some type of physical abuse is prevalent. Examples of physical abuse in nursing homes include pushing, scratching, pinching, pulling, punching, and the misuse of confinement restraints.
- Emotional/Psychological Abuse: Elderly nursing home and long-term care residents depend almost entirely on their caregiver to provide meals, keep them groomed, and to ensure that they are living in clean and healthy conditions. This makes these residents extremely vulnerable to various forms of emotional and psychological abuse. Examples of this include threats, intimidation, insults, humiliation, harassment, deprivation of basic needs, and isolation.
- Sexual Abuse: As horrific as it is to contemplate, sexual abuse happens far more often in nursing facilities than most people would like to believe. Perpetrators often look for the most vulnerable targets – those who would be the least likely to complain or who would be less likely to be believed if they told someone. Among the most susceptible to this type of abuse are patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
- Financial Abuse: Family members should always be on the lookout for financial abuse within a nursing facility. Because caregivers are in the resident’s living quarters on a daily basis, they might have access to their money or other belongings. Another type of fraud to look out for is identity theft, which is perpetrated when a facility employee opens up credit in the name of the victim.
- Neglect: Aside from blatant forms of abuse, nursing home neglect is widespread within facilities that house the elderly. Neglect could be intentional or unintentional, but either way, the facility can be found negligent if they are not providing the standard of care that they are required to under the law.
Causes of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Problems within West Virginia’s nursing homes and facilities throughout the country are getting worse with each passing year. Several different factors have converged to create something of a “perfect storm” that is negatively affecting the industry. First of all, our population is aging as the baby boomers enter their retirement years.
Nursing facilities have known that this was coming for many years, but they did very little to prepare for it. In fact, the opposite happened. In recent years, a growing number of nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been bought by “for-profit” entities, and unfortunately, many of them have not made their residents’ well-being their top priority. To make matters worse, there is a shortage of healthcare workers in this country, making it more difficult to find quality nursing facility employees.
These issues have led to a number of problems within nursing facilities, such as:
- Negligent hiring practices
- Staffing shortages
- Inadequate training and experience
- Poor supervision
- Lack of accountability
- Inadequate facility maintenance, leading to potentially hazardous conditions
Many of the owners and operators of these facilities have done very little if anything to address these issues. Employees are often underpaid, and work conditions are very difficult, so they do not stay around all that long.
It is hard to keep quality employees around if you do not pay them what they are worth, and this is why there is so much turnover in the industry. This means that those employees and staff that remain are under even greater pressure, and under these conditions, the chances of neglect and abuse vastly increase.
Recognizing the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
While it can be difficult to know whether an injury is the result of elder abuse or negligence, there are some key signs to look out for:
- Bedsores or decubitus ulcers
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Bruises, cuts or broken bones
- Depression or sudden mood swings
- Grogginess from medications or chemical restraints
These types of injuries or signs may indicate a pattern of neglect or abuse. A resident who is not looked after may wander off the premises frequently and become injured. He or she may suffer serious infections from bedsores as a result of not being turned frequently enough or moved from a wheelchair.
Our attorneys are skilled investigators who will carefully examine the practices of the nursing home staff and administration. We will act as your advocates and guide you through the process of bringing a claim against the nursing home for your loved one’s injuries.
Contact an Experienced West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you suspect that an aging loved one has the been the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse in West Virginia, you have legal rights which may include a claim for damages against the facility. For a free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys in Charleston, Logan or Summersville, Contact Bailey, Javins & Carter, L.C. today.
We work on a contingent fee basis. We do not get paid unless you do.