Moving your loved one to a nursing home is never an easy decision. He or she may need daily care that you are unable to provide for them, or the care they need is beyond your capacity.
When you entrust the care of your loved one to people you don’t know, you believe they are getting the best care available. But if your loved one is having problems, are not themselves, or you think something may be wrong, it’s time to take a closer look. If you suspect abuse, call us today.
West Virginia Protection For Nursing Home Residents
The state has enacted a number of laws designed to protect vulnerable people from abuse by the people they trust to care for them. West Virginia’s laws and regulations ensure an individual’s right to safety, dignity, respect, privacy, and to allow them to live comfortably in an environment that feels as much like “home” as possible.
Unfortunately, not all of the people that work in nursing homes feel the way you do about your loved one. Abuse and neglect are common in some places, and residents are unable to defend themselves against exploitation. If you suspect abuse, it’s time to take action.
Federal Law Protection
Nursing home residents are protected by state and federal law. But many are afraid to report abuse, because they fear retribution on some level. Since a resident lives there 24/7, it wouldn’t be difficult for someone to cause harm when “nobody’s looking.” This is particularly true of residents who have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, who may have trouble remembering things.
The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 is a federal law that establishes protections for nursing home residents against abuse, as well as a list of individual rights. A condensed description of the law is available here.
West Virginia’s Adult Protective Services has additional information here.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
There are different types of abuses that may be inflicted on a nursing home resident, including:
- Physical abuse
- Verbal or Emotional Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Financial Exploitation
More Subtle Signs
Sometimes, abuse symptoms are visible: bruises, bedsores, an abrupt change in personality, and injuries from the use of restraints (which is prohibited by law without the resident’s express permission for their use.) But other, less apparent signs may include:
- Changes in mood or appetite
- Sleeplessness, anxiety and/or depression without warning
- A sudden desire not to speak to family or friends
- Resident never being left alone in the presence of family members
- Unable to speak around others, particularly employees
- Damaged clothing
- Other unexplained injuries, such as broken bones or skin injuries
If your loved one has any one of these signs, contact one of our elder abuse attorneys and schedule your free consultation to discuss your case.
If You Have Proof Of Or Have Witnessed Abuse
The first thing you must do is call West Virginia’s 24/7 Health & Human Resources hotline at 800-352-6513 to file a complaint with the state. Document and take pictures of any evidence, including injuries. Health & Human Resources has more information on their website, with a list of information to have available when you call.
We Can Help
There is a two-year window of time to file a lawsuit on behalf of your loved one. If you believe your loved one has been abused, neglected or in any way mistreated by a nursing home employee, don’t wait! Contact The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 for a free consultation. We’ve helped thousands of West Virginians fight for their loved ones in nursing homes, and we’ll be happy to help you.