Often, people assume that individuals can take care of themselves. Sometimes, however, others must speak out for those who cannot, such as children and the disabled. But what about the elderly? What happens if abuse occurs to a man or woman in their later stages of life?
At the Love Law Firm, we regularly talk to individuals whose elderly loved ones are in just such a situation. Nursing home abuse or neglect is a tragically common occurrence in West Virginia, even though many wonderful facilities are located here in the Charleston area. As a nursing home abuse attorney, I help right these wrongs from a legal and financial vantage point. However litigation can take time and while we are in the courtroom, the wrongs performed against your loved one may continue. That’s why, in addition to contacting me about your case, you should also report the abuse to official state and regulatory agencies, such as the Health and Human Resource’s Department of Adult Protective Services.
Who Is Considered “Elderly”?
For a senior to be considered an “elder”, he or she must fall under these guidelines:
- The senior must be functionally disabled due to physical or mental disabilities.
- The senior is determined to have been, or be in danger of, neglect or abuse
- The senior is without an interested person able and willing to provide the needed support or services to relieve the problem(s), or is in a care facility.
If these qualifications are met, an Adult Protective Services case may be opened.
Alternatively, if the above guidelines are not met, but the senior is functionally disabled AND it is probable that the situation will develop into a full Adult Protective Services situation without intervention, an Adult Preventive Service case may be opened.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Charleston, WV
Nursing home abuse is defined as actions which cause unnecessary physical pain, injury, or imprisonment. This includes actions such as the following:
- Physical Abuse – Harm characterized by physical pain or injury.
- Sexual Abuse – Forcing or threatening to force an elder into having sex with a caregiver or another person.
- Verbal/Emotional Abuse – Threatening to cause physical pain or injury by withholding food, water, or medical treatment, or threatening to imprison the individual. Verbal threats that fall under this category must be deemed threatening by the elder.
- Financial Exploitation – Illegally using or wasting an elders’ money, property or other assets. The exploitation places the elder at risk of neglect by not having their needs met. This can also be considered neglect.
Nursing home neglect is the failure to provide daily necessities to a person unable to care for themselves. Types of neglect include:
- Neglect by others – Failure to provide necessities of daily life. This includes financial exploitation (see above).
- Self-Neglect – Allowing an elder to neglect his/her own daily needs.
Any individual who knows of, or even suspects, the abuse or neglect of a senior who is physically, mentally, or bodily unable to support themselves in day-to-day life may report an act of elder abuse.
How To Report Nursing Home Abuse
Reports of abuse and neglect should be made directly to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Adult Protective Services. Suspected financial exploitation can also be reported to the Attorney General’s Senior Protection Hotline.
Repercussions Of Reporting
The individual who reports any abuse or neglect will not be held liable in any civil or criminal case that comes from making the report. The individual reporting is also not required to provide their name.
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Adult Protective Services: Hotline: 1-800-352-6513
Senior Protection Hotline: 1-866-241-5062
When To Contact An Attorney
After you’ve contacted Adult Protective Services, it’s time to seek remuneration for your loved one, both to obtain justice and restitution for him or her and to deter the institution where the neglect or abuse took place from allowing such acts to happen to others. If your loved one has experienced neglect or abuse, call The Love Law Firm right away to start the process of righting the wrong at (304) 344 5683.