Nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious issue in West Virginia, and every so often, when opening the newspaper, you’ll come across stories of abuse and neglect right here in Charleston WV. As a nursing home abuse lawyer in Charleston WV, we at the Love Law Firm have witnessed the serious injury that some nursing home staff or others can inflict on the elderly, and we have extensive resources and vigorous litigation experience to give cases of abuse and neglect the legal standing that they need.
If you or a loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home, call Charleston WV nursing home attorney Charles Love today at (304) 344-5683. In the meantime, you can learn about the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect below.
Understanding Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect in West Virginia
Protecting the elderly from abuse is a constant endeavor that requires aggressive legal representation for victims, and by winning one case here in West Virginia, we are taking a stand against abuse and, hopefully, deterring it from happening again. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, more than 20 percent of the US population will be older than 65 by 2020. As such, right here in Charleston, WV, it’s more crucial than ever to be vigilant about signs and symptoms of abuse.
Abuse and neglect can come in many forms, including (and you’ll find additional information on our website) physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, and sexual abuse. Additionally, abuse and neglect can just as easily come from nursing home staff as it can from residents.
Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Over 3.2 million Americans live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. Additionally, up to 1 in 6 nursing home residents may be the victim of abuse or neglect every year. Government and police intervention can, unfortunately, be quite limited in these cases, and so many cases of abuse and neglect rely on family members, friends, staff, or the elderly themselves. As such, it’s important to know signs of abuse and what you can do about it.
Signs of Physical Abuse and Neglect
The most commonly documented physical effects of elder abuse can include:
- Wounds and injuries, such as bruises, lacerations, dental problems, head injuries, broken bones, and pressure sores
- Persistent physical pain and soreness
- Nutrition and hydration issues
- Sleep disturbances
- Increased susceptibility to new illnesses
- Exacerbation of pre-existing health conditions
- Increased risks of premature death
Signs of Emotional Abuse
Some of the most common signs of emotional elderly abuse in nursing homes include:
- Depression and withdrawal
- Excessive fear and anxiety
- Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
- Agitation and frustration
- Inability to make decisions
- Loss of interests and enthusiasm
- Low self-esteem
- Passivity and non-communicative behavior
- Changes in behavior or personality
Signs of Sexual Abuse
Some of the most common signs of sexual elderly abuse in nursing homes include:
- Unexplained STDs and infections
- Bruises and injuries in genital areas, thighs, and breasts
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Torn or stained clothing, sometimes covered in blood
- Increased difficulties in walking or sitting
- Depression and withdrawal
- Anxiety or excessive fear around a caregiver
- Agitation and abrupt changes in mood
Signs of Financial Abuse
Financial abuse can be difficult to spot, as it sometimes doesn’t produce any visible signs that a family or friend can see. Furthermore, elders with Alzheimers, dementia, and other mental disorders may be unaware that financial abuse is occurring. Nevertheless, some signs of financial abuse can include:
- Significant withdrawals from accounts
- Sudden changes in an elder’s financial condition
- Missing items or cash
- Suspicious changes in a will, power of attorney, titles, and policies
- Additions of names added to a senior’s signature card
- Unpaid bills or lack of medical care, although the elder has the ability to pay for these services
- Financial activity that the elder couldn’t have done
- Unnecessary goods, services, or subscriptions
In addition to these signs of financial abuse, another form of financial abuse, known as healthcare fraud and abuse, can produce the following signs:
- Duplicate billings for the same medical service or device
- Evidence of overmedication or undermedication
- Evidence of inadequate care even though bills were paid in full
- Problems with the care facility, such as poorly trained, poorly paid, or insufficient staff. Other problems can include crowding and inadequate responses to questions about care
Call the Love Law Firm for Legal Representation
At the first signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, you should report your concerns to an experienced attorney. Additionally, you can (and should!) report to the Adult Protective Services (APS) and/or the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. If you believe there is an emergency, contact your local law enforcement agency. Moving forward, your attorney, such as nursing home attorney Charles Love, will play an important role in protecting the rights of you or your loved one. Through vigorous litigation in West Virginia courts, we will fight for your right to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
Call the Love Law Firm today in Charleston WV, and we will closely and compassionately listen to your concerns. We are committed to seeking a positive outcome. For a free, no-obligation consultation with the Love Law Firm, call us today at (304) 344-5683.