I Suspect My Parent Is Being Abused In The Nursing Home. What Should I Do?

Moving into a nursing home is difficult for everyone, but most especially for the individual who will live there. Many are reluctant to leave their homes for the confines of a medical facility. But if they need more medical care than you can provide, a nursing home may be the best answer.

nursing home abuse is serious and not tolerated

Of course, you’ll always be concerned about your parents. You put your trust in the caretakers and staff where your parent will live. Most people eventually get settled and comfortable with their new environment. But if your loved one is having a hard time adjusting, or just doesn’t seem comfortable in their new home, pay attention. It may not be separation anxiety—it could be abuse.

Changes In Attitude May Be A Sign

While you certainly don’t want to think of your parent being mistreated, it’s important to be observant of anything that seems out of character with them. Frequent visits will alert you to these changes, and to other evidence of abuse and/or neglect.

Some elders, especially those with cognitive issues such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, may not be able to tell you what’s happened to them. If you see evidence of:

  • Sudden depression, anxiety, or other mood changes without any obvious causes
  • Sleeplessness
  • Appetite changes for no apparent reason
  • Unable to speak around others, including staff members
  • No interest in speaking to visiting family members
  • Sudden unexplained injuries, such as broken bones, lacerations, black eyes, etc.
  • Injuries that are related to restraints
  • Damaged property (clothes, glasses, etc.)
  • Resident always in the company of a caretaker and never left alone
  • Reports of a resident struck by an employee

Your loved one may be the subject of nursing home abuse. (A complete list of possible abuse signs is available here.) But even if you don’t find evidence of physical abuse, financial abuse is also a possibility. Keeping an eye on your loved one’s finances is the best way to keep others out of your parent’s financial affairs. If you’ve seen:

  • Changes to bank or other financial accounts
  • New names on signature cards or other financial documents
  • Abruptly updated wills
  • Overdraft charges for NSF checks
  • New loans, mortgages or contracts
  • Services that are unnecessary or unexplainable
  • Forged signatures
  • Lost property
  • Any new, unusual and/or questionable financial arrangements that you’re not involved in

What To Do

If you suspect or find evidence of abuse, contact West Virginia’s Adult Protective Services immediately.

Call The Love Law Firm

The Love Law Firm is dedicated to protecting the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable citizens. We can help when you can’t.

West Virginia has a two-year statute of limitations for you to file a lawsuit on behalf of your loved one. If you believe your loved one has been mistreated by someone in a nursing home, and you can’t get help, it’s time to call us. Contact The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 to schedule your free consultation with a Charleston, WV nursing home attorney.

What Is Nursing Home Abuse And What Legal Recourses Do I Have In Charleston, WV?

Nursing home abuse is one of the most under-reported crimes in the US and can happen anywhere, at any time. While some of the more serious cases are publicized, many crimes go unreported to either the police or in the media. Victims usually can’t fight back or defend themselves, and requests for help may be ignored completely. But in Charleston, you do have some recourse if you discover it.

What Is Nursing Home Abuse And What Legal Recourses Do I Have In Charleston, WV?

Most abuses are:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional/verbal abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial exploitation

Any abuse should be reported to the facility administrator, the State of West Virginia, and possibly law enforcement.

Legal Protection

Nursing home residents are protected by both federal and state laws. The Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987 is the federal law establishing a list of an individual’s rights as well as protections for nursing home residents against abuse. (An abridged description of the law is available here.)

West Virginia’s Adult Protective Services provides important information in the event you need help reporting nursing home abuse.

Much like domestic abuse victims, many nursing home abuse victims are afraid to report anything for fear of retribution when everyone is gone for the day. As a visitor, you can get up and leave, but a resident lives there full time, and can’t always help themselves. Residents with cognitive issues like dementia or Alzheimer’s may not realize they’ve been the target of abuse, or may not clearly remember details enough to explain it to you or to law enforcement.

Indications of Abuse In A Nursing Home

Changes in an individual’s living arrangement will nearly always cause some upheaval and confusion. Over time, most people settle in and get used to their new environment. But if you are seeing some of these indicators in your loved one, it might be time to do some investigation.

  • Damaged clothing, glasses or frames
  • Inability to speak around others, including employees
  • Family member never left alone, always in the presence of a facility employee
  • Suddenly uninterested in speaking with friends and relatives
  • Depression, anxiety and/or sleeplessness without a clear cause
  • Abrupt changes in appetite or mood
  • Broken bones, skin lacerations or other sudden unexplained injuries
  • Rope burns or other indications of restraint
  • Welts, bruises, black eyes or other obvious injuries in various stages of healing
  • Resident report of being hit, slapped or otherwise abused

Any of these should be reported immediately to Adult Protective Services.

Financial Abuse

Even if a nursing home resident isn’t showing any of the signs of physical abuse, financial abuse is also a possibility by both employees and family members. Signs to look for include:

  • Sudden changes in wills, powers of attorney and other important documents
  • New names on signature cards, bank accounts or other financial documents
  • Unexplained changes in banking, i.e., large withdrawals or transfers by a non-family member
  • Forged signatures
  • Missing property
  • Overdraft fees and insufficient funds in bank accounts
  • New contracts, loans or mortgages
  • Unnecessary services
  • Relatives who were uninvolved appearing to lay claim to the elder’s property or monies
  • Any other new, unusual or questionable legal and/or financial arrangements

The West Virginia Department of Health & Human Services contains a wealth of information with more on Adult Protective Services. A PDF file with a more complete list of signs of abuse and neglect is available here.

Filing A Complaint of Abuse

If you have evidence or have personally witnessed mistreatment of someone in a nursing facility in Charleston, WV, file a complaint with the state immediately. Call West Virginia’s 24/7 Health & Human Resources hotline at 800-352-6513. Take pictures and document all evidence, including injuries. Health & Human Resources Centralized Intake offers additional information on their website, and what data to have on hand when you call.

Anyone can file a complaint of abuse or neglect, but some individuals are mandated to file a report under WV Code §49-6A-2, including:

  • Childcare/foster care workers
  • Clergy members, “religious healers,” including Christian Science practitioners
  • EMTs
  • Medical, dental or mental health providers
  • Law enforcement
  • Social workers

These individuals are required to file a complaint within 48 hours as part of the Adult Protective Process. A complete list of mandated reporters is available on their website. Any individual making a report of abuse is immune from civil or criminal liability.

One More Option: Hire A Charleston, WV Nursing Home Attorney

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, and you can’t seem to get any answers, don’t try to manage the situation yourself. Contact The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 to schedule your free consultation with a Charleston, WV nursing home attorney. We’re ready to be an advocate for the Charleston vulnerable elderly.

Charleston Nursing Home Attorney

“Nursing home” are two words no one ever wants to hear. But in some cases, a nursing home is the best option for an aging parent (or another relative) that can’t live safely at home anymore. Whether it’s a chronic illness or an aging issue like dementia or Parkinson’s, a long-term care facility may be the best option.

Charleston Nursing Home Attorney

But once you’re faced with that decision, the next question is, “where?” How do you find the ideal nursing home to care for and protect someone?

Researching Long-Term Care

Finding and researching options is easier than it used to be. Lists like this one from US News & World Report give you a place to start. Caring.com also offers a list of nursing home facilities, some with ratings.

A Place For Mom’s website offers a search tool to help you connect with different facilities.

Choosing the Right Nursing Home

It’s more than watching an ad on TV, reading the brochures or looking at a home’s website. You need to know what really happens inside a nursing facility before you bring your loved one there and drive away.

The first place to start is checking federal, state and local information on any nursing home you’re considering.

Visiting the facilities you’re considering before admitting your loved one goes a long way in making sure it’s the safe, comforting place you hope it is. What’s the food like? If it’s unpleasant, you’ll be told that they’re “not eating.” The AARP offers ten essential questions to ask before choosing one, and this Wall Street Journal article offers additional resources and information. This US News & World Report article offers additional questions you should ask when researching nursing homes.

A Place For Mom offers this advice:

To conduct a complete investigation, seniors and their families should:

  • Tour any listed location to confirm the accuracy of the community description
  • Confirm that the community offers services that are required for the senior’s specific needs and budget
  • ·Check additional licensing and state audit information.

Diligence is important even in the highest-rated facilities. Lapses in care and other mistakes may go unreported.

Memory Care

There’s a specific genre of skilled nursing home care that’s specifically for residents with dementia, Alzheimer’s or other cognitive degeneration. Known as “memory care,” the staff is trained to work with people with cognition issues. Memory care units can be an entire facility or can be a specific wing or dormitory of an assisted living facility with dedicated 24-hour nursing care. The design and layout are created to offer a comfortable, safe environment with minimized wandering.

This doesn’t mean that residents should be restricted to their rooms—quite the opposite. Residents of memory care will still need the same kind of activity as other residents, they’ll just need more supervision to keep them safe.

Charleston’s Nursing Home Attorney

Putting your trust in someone to care for your loved one is always a difficult decision. Keeping your loved one safe, healthy and happy during a difficult time should be your primary goal. If you find that your loved one isn’t being properly cared for, or is having problems you can’t seem to resolve, don’t try to manage the situation yourself. Contact The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 to schedule your free consultation with a Charleston nursing home attorney. (You can also email us or use our convenient contact form.) We’re ready to be an advocate for our vulnerable elderly.

Why Hire A Nursing Home Lawyer?

Nursing home: two words that mean a number of things. Nobody really wants to go into one, but for someone who needs a high level of medical attention, a nursing home may be their only option. If you’re entrusted with someone’s care, it’s a decision you don’t take lightly. Learn when it’s a good time to get a nursing home lawyer involved below.

Why Hire A Nursing Home Lawyer?

A nursing home is a place where you trust your loved ones to will be safe and well cared for. But there may come a day where “taking care of them” might mean hiring a lawyer, too.

Inadequate Care

Nursing homes have a duty to make arrangements for each patient based on their medical history, including preventing falls and other accidents. Many don’t have the staff to care for the number of patients they have. Many of these employees may have insufficient training for helping and handling elderly or infirm patients, leading to falls that can cause serious, debilitating injury.

A nursing home can be held liable if a patient was injured due to:

  • Failing to prevent injury hazards and keep the premises relatively safe
  • Negligence in hiring/supervising an employee who ultimately caused harm to a patient
  • Negligence in supervising patients who have balance issues and are at risk for falls
  • Failing to maintain sufficient health & safety protocols for cleanliness and sanitation in the facility
  • Substandard medical care that causes harm to a resident or is inadequate for the patient’s needs

Patient Injuries And Abuse

While there are many well-run facilities, some nursing homes have experienced problems with:

  • Physical abuse (including sexual abuse)
  • Patient injury/infections
  • Mental/Emotional abuse
  • Financial exploitation
  • Medical malpractice
  • Dehydration/Malnutrition
  • Neglect
  • Negligence
  • Excessive medication

And other mistreatments of residents by both staff and family members.

These types of allegations should not be taken lightly. A recent report by the AARP states that despite federal law requiring nursing homes to report any incidents of mistreatment to local police, Medicare hasn’t enforced this requirement. West Virginia requires abuse reports to be filed and has mandatory reporting requirements for suspected abuse by:

  • Law enforcement officers
  • Medical/dental professionals
  • Religious or spiritual healers/leaders (including Christian Science practitioners)
  • Social or mental health workers
  • Nursing home or residential facility employees

Nursing home residents may be afraid to say anything or discuss any abuse for fear of retaliation or additional abuse. Even though West Virginia has a considerable number of laws surrounding nursing home abuse, many incidents still go unreported to police.

If you suspect abuse or neglect, contact the West Virginia Adult Protective Services 24/7 hotline immediately at 1-800-352-6513. (For financial exploitation, there is also 1-866-241-5062.) Your privacy is protected under West Virginia’s WV Code §49-6A-6, and you’re protected from criminal liability. Nursing homes may not discharge a patient or discriminate against them for making a report. (A PDF of APS’s current policy for nursing home issues is available here.)

Filing For Medicare?

If you or your loved one needs to file for Medicare to continue in a facility long-term, the nursing home may offer you the name or names of attorneys they “work with” in order to expedite the application. Be aware that one or more of these “helpful attorneys” may already represent the nursing home, creating a conflict of interest. Find an independent, objective attorney who can help you through the process of Medicare, and any other issues you may have with a nursing home.

Why Hire An Attorney?

Nursing homes are frequently run by large corporations, and won’t bother with small, individual complaints. They may have complicated procedures for handling abuse and neglect complaints, and it could take years to see any remedies. Like a lawsuit against any large company, you’ll need help. From filing the correct forms to finding the right governing entity, a nursing home lawyer can help you cut through the bureaucracy that keeps you at arm’s length and prevents you from helping your loved one.

If he or she is in a nursing home, they may need all the help you can give them. Hire an attorney who has specific experience dealing with nursing home problems.

Defending The Defenseless

Nursing home residents may not be able to speak for themselves, and depend on you. If you’ve already complained to a nursing home administrator, or the state of West Virginia, and still can’t get any answers, it’s time to up your game. Contact The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683 to schedule your free consultation. (You can also email us or use our convenient contact form.)  You deserve some answers, and we stand ready to help you get them.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Abuse In A West Virginia Nursing Home?

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.

What Should I Do If I Suspect Abuse In A West Virginia Nursing Home?

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.

How Can I Detect Financial Abuse In A West Virginia Nursing Home?

If you’ve made the difficult decision to put a loved one in a nursing home, you’re entrusting their everything to the staff and doctors who are providing care. It’s common for patients to become friendly with staffers, and even to treat them as they would family members. But despite available protections, nursing home residents are frequent and easy targets for financial abuse, and may not even realize they are being targeted. If you believe your loved one is the victim of financial abuse in a nursing home, contact The Love Law Firm today. We may be able to help.

How Can I Detect Financial Abuse In A West Virginia Nursing Home?

Vulnerable Victims

Elder abuse is notoriously under-reported, partly by the victims, who frequently fear retribution. Research estimates that 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 have suffered some kind of elder abuse. Nursing home patients are already at a disadvantage because they are bedridden, and may be convalescing after surgery or a serious illness. Elderly residents may be overly trusting, or may have a degenerative neurological condition such as Alzheimer’s. These patients may not remember details, or are completely unaware that they have been victimized. Unscrupulous family members, caregivers  and nursing home employees who have day-to-day contact with the residents can target these individuals by preying upon their trusting nature and occasional forgetfulness.

If you suspect your loved one is the victim of abuse, pay attention to anything unusual, and ask questions. You can fight back against someone taking advantage of your loved one.

Watch For Unusual Activity

MarketWatch reports that about 17% of elderly people have reported being scammed, and the average victim of elder abuse loses about $120,000.  Banks are increasingly using high-tech methods to help prevent financial abuse of seniors, but it can still happen.

If you don’t see your loved one very often, it may be difficult to see that something may be wrong. (This is also true of physical and other types of abuse.) Visiting frequently, particularly by multiple family members, offers more opportunity to see something that’s “off.” Are you allowed to be alone with your loved one, or is there an overly-protective staffer lurking to overhear what’s being said? Is a distant family member suddenly visiting and friendly with your loved one? Are they suddenly being protective of their financial accounts, or don’t want to talk about money? Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Signs of nursing home financial abuse include:

  • Alterations in wills, trusts and deeds
  • New contracts, mortgages or loans
  • New co-signers on bank accounts, with frequent withdrawals
  • Activity in previously dormant bank accounts
  • Changes of address
  • Cashing a resident’s check without permission
  • Sudden insufficient funds and/or overdraft  fees on bank accounts
  • Updated powers of attorney (to access financial accounts)
  • Missing possessions (particularly valuable ones)
  • Changes in investment accounts favoring another individual
  • Any other questionable financial and/or legal arrangements

West Virginia Protects Vulnerable Adults

Many resources are available online to help protect vulnerable elderly individuals from financial abuse. Additionally, available technologies like direct deposit and automatic bill-pay can prevent your loved one from having financial documentation in the nursing home where it can be exploited.

In 2016, the state of West Virginia added and strengthened the laws protecting elderly and vulnerable adults, with additional penalties and fines for financial abuse. House Bill #4309, introduced on 1/27/2016, and signed by the governor on 3/25/16, establishes a cause of action, adds additional penalties, and allows for attorney’s fees in financial crimes against the elderly.

We Can Help

If you believe your loved one has been financially abused in a West Virginia nursing home, we stand ready to help you defend and protect them. We can offer you a contingency fee arrangement so we can start investigating your case immediately. Don’t let another day go by where your loved one may be in trouble and need help. Call Chad at The Love Law Firm today at (304) 344 5683.

Elderly Physical Abuse Signs in Charleston WV Nursing Homes

As one of the leading elderly physical abuse attorneys in West Virginia nursing homes, we at the Love Law Firm are, nonetheless, devastated when we come across a client who has been physically abused or a family member of an elder being physically abused in his/her nursing home.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, elderly physical abuse is a form of maltreatment subject to liability and compensation for victims and their families. Additionally, physical abuse can affect victims of any age and may be repetitive or a singular incident.

Elderly Physical Abuse Signs | Charleston WV Nursing Home Attorney

Some harrowing facts about nursing home abuse include:

  • One out of three residents report that they have been abused
  • 95% of residents report that they have seen other residents abused
  • Abused senior citizens have a 300% higher risk of death

Due to the nature of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, elderly physical abuse can be difficult to identify. However, by understanding elderly physical abuse in nursing homes, and the warning signs to look out for, you and nursing home attorney Charles M. Love can fight in West Virginia courts to hold the responsible individual(s) accountable.

For a free consultation with Charleston WV attorney Charles M. Love, call the Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683.

Types of Elderly Physical Abuse

Elder abuse can come in many forms, and unlike financial or even emotional abuse, physical elder abuse almost always includes visible signs of abuse and/or physical harassment. Some types of elderly physical abuse can include, but are not limited to:

  • Active abuse — Easiest to observe. Some examples include pushing, slapping, punching, kicking, and pinching. By its very nature, active abuse is intentional and meant to cause injury or pain.
  • Misuse of restraints — Misusing restraints is against federal nursing home laws, but despite this, it still occurs. In cases of abuse, the dangerous use of restraints for discipline or convenience can cause injuries to the victim’s wrists and legs as well as serious injuries to the rest of the body.
  • Physical neglect — This type of abuse might not be intentional, but it is often caused by a lack of staff or resources. Some examples include not providing the necessary food, clothing, and sanitary environment that a patient needs to survive and maintain their dignity.

In nursing home settings, the most common abusers in these cases include the nursing home caregivers, visiting family members, and other residents. Nursing home caregivers may commit abuse out of frustration, but, for the most part, the abuse is due to understaffing, a lack of resources, or a lack of sufficient staff training.

On the other hand, it’s essential to remember that family members and other patients can (and have!) cause abuse. Some studies have shown that 20% of nursing home residents suffer abuse by their fellow residents.

Warning Signs of Elderly Physical Abuse

Elderly physical abuse is hard to hide, and in nursing home settings, whether the abuse was caused by caregivers, family, or other patients, it is not uncommon to find several witnesses who can testify about the abuse and identify perpetrators. Nevertheless, if you have the slightest suspicion that elderly physical abuse is occurring, then you should keep watch for the following warning signs:

  • Medical staff refuses to leave patient alone with family
  • Unexplained injuries and recurring injuries
  • Physical signs of restraint such as bruises and abrasions
  • Malnutrition, dehydration, and sudden weight loss

If you’re a family member, for example, and you see some of these warning signs, you should immediately talk with the staff. However, remember that you do have a range of options, and if you feel that your loved one is in danger, pull them out and contact the authorities ASAP.

Call Charleston WV Nursing Home Attorney Charles Love

Speaking out against elderly physical abuse in West Virginia nursing homes can help all elders and their families across the state, as lawsuits and successful cases can help deter future instances of abuse. As nursing home negligence lawyers in Charleston WV, we’re prepared to take on your case, fully investigate the allegations, and represent your case in West Virginia courts.

For a free consultation with attorney Charles M. Love, call the Love Law Firm today at (304) 344-5683.

Common Causes of Nursing Home Abuse in Charleston WV

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) September 2016 fact sheet, around 1 in 10 older people experience some form of nursing home abuse every month. Whether physical, emotional, sexual, or financial, the abuse can come as an isolated incident or a repeated act, or abuse can come from a lack of appropriate action (neglect) that results in an elder’s injuries or death.

At the Love Law Firm, Charleston WV nursing home abuse attorney Charles M. Love seeks to reduce abuse in West Virginia nursing homes by providing victims and their families with expert legal counsel as well as comprehensive, aggressive, professional, and compassionate representation.

Causes of Nursing Home Abuse | Charleston WV Attorney Charles Love

Elder abuse is a public health problem, but it is severely underreported. In fact, it is estimated that only 1 in 24 cases of elder nursing home abuse are reported. The abusive acts in a nursing home can include physically restraining patients, depriving them of dignity and choice over daily affairs, intentionally providing insufficient care, over- and under-medicating and withholding medication from patients; and emotional neglect and abuse.

The causes of nursing home abuse are generally well-documented and can help prevent future instances of abuse, although it’s essential to remember that some cases of nursing home abuse can arise spontaneously and without pretext.

Causes of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Elder abuse is a complex sociological and cultural problem. However, continued research on the causes of nursing home abuse and neglect can be even more important than research on prevalence, as studying the causes of nursing home abuse can indicate clues for prevention.

In general, the most common perpetrators of nursing home abuse include the staff and caregivers, the victim’s own family members, and other residents. With regards to abuse carried out by nursing home staff, there are some widely accepted factors, including:

  • Stressful working situations
  • Staffing shortages
  • Staff burnout (staffing shortages combined with mandatory overtime)
  • Combination of resident aggression and poor staff training

Staff shortages and insufficient training are regarded as the most potent factors that have a high risk for leading to abuse.

Preventing Abuse By Looking for Risk Factors for Elders Living in Nursing Homes

There are many different types of risk factors and that could increase the possibility of abuse and neglect, and instead of identifying elder abuse (after the cause), it can be important to be diligent and pay attention to the nursing home facility and staff. Remember, a shared-living situation where the elders are dependent on the caregivers is considered a risk factor on its own. However, you shouldn’t be concerned unless you witness or suspect some of the following circumstances:

  • Social isolation and a lack of social support
  • Depictions of the elderly as frail, weak, and dependent
  • Low standards of health care and welfare services
  • Poorly trained, remunerated, and overworked staff
  • Deficient care facilities and physical environments
  • Nursing home policies that benefit the interests of the staff as opposed to the residents

Identifying Elder Abuse & Neglect

Elder abuse can be difficult for families to accept. Nobody wants to think that abuse might be happening in their loved one’s nursing home, or that the caregivers they trusted are doing something unthinkable. Nevertheless, it’s important to always be aware of certain risk factors so that you can better identify and resolve instances of elder abuse and neglect.

To start, it’s best to consider the main categories of abuse and neglect, including:

  • Physical elder abuse — Look for bruises, unexplained injuries, or a refusal to seek medical help for injuries. Also, look for marks on the wrists and ankles that could indicate that the elder is being restrained and, after approaching staff with your concerns, dismissive reactions.
  • Emotional elder abuse — Some signs could include an elder who is unresponsive to questions, fearful or suspicious, unwilling to go to social outings, and who experiences sudden unexplained changes in behavior.
  • Financial elder abuse — Some signs could include large withdrawals, unusual ATM activity, sudden increases in credit card debt, or forged checks.
  • Sexual elder abuse — Signs of sexual elder abuse can look like a combination of physical and emotional elder abuse. Other signs can include STDs, difficulties sitting or walking, emerging PTSD symptoms, and inappropriate or unusual sexual behavior.

Causes of Nursing Home Abuse | Charleston WV Attorney Charles LoveIt is always essential to include neglect into the above-mentioned categories. Elder neglect manifests in several ways, and, in general, seniors being neglect often have poor hygiene and eating habits. Victims also may show a loss of weight, sunken eyes, pressure sores, and dirty clothes.

Call Charleston WV Nursing Home Attorney Charles M. Love

Unfortunately, as we’ve seen as Charleston WV nursing home abuse attorneys, there are no “black and white” situations. In other words, a nursing home may seem perfect, but that doesn’t change the fact that abuse and neglect could still occur.

If you suspect abuse or neglect, it’s essential to report it as soon as possible. At the Love Law Firm, we will carefully and empathetically work with you to build a strong case with the goal of holding the responsible individuals accountable for their nefarious or negligent actions. If you would like to speak with Charleston WV nursing home abuse attorney Charles Love, call the Love Law Firm today at (304) 344 5683.

Why Falls are the Most Common Cause of Senior Injuries & Death

According to several sources, such as the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. A devastating fall can seriously threaten a senior’s safety independence while accumulating large costs and medical expenses, among others.

 

Although falls can be a common occurrence among the elderly, there is an alarming amount of falls that could have otherwise been avoided in nursing homes. As such, when neglect or substandard conditions in a nursing home lead to an elderly’s fall and injuries, you may have a case against the nursing home. The first step is to call Charleston WV nursing home neglect attorney Charles M. Love at the Love Law Firm. We offer free consultations, and so by giving us a call, we can review the accident and the injury and determine if you have a case.

Call today at (304) 344-5683 to speak with attorney Charles Love today. In the meantime, you can learn more about falls in nursing homes below.

Facts About Falls in Nursing Homes

Whether due to a lack of strength, common conditions associated with old age, and other reasons, about one-fourth of Americans aged 65+ falls each year. Every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall, while every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in an emergency room for a fall (Source: CDC)

Taking these facts in mind, it’s important to remember that a fall could have been avoidable in certain, specific circumstances. In a nursing home, the largest single cause of preventable injury in nursing homes is due to a fall. To better understand this issue in nursing homes, we’ve included a few other facts:

  • Falls that lead to death, sometimes wrongful deaths, include approximately 1,800 nursing home residents every year.
  • A typical, 100-bed nursing home reports at least 100 to 200 falls a year.
  • Adults 65 and older are four times more likely to die of fall-related injuries if they live in a nursing home (as opposed to their own homes or their family’s homes.
  • About 10 to 20 percent of nursing home falls result in serious injuries.
  • According to the CDC, about 16 to 27 percent of nursing home falls result from environmental hazards.

It’s important to remember that these statistics are not indicators that your loved one’s fall was definitely the result of nursing home neglect. Typically, some elders in nursing homes are, on average, in poorer health than senior citizens who live in their own homes or with a loved one. This means that nursing home residents may be more prone to falling and serious injury (including death).

When a Fall Constitutes Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing home neglect is still a serious issue in West Virginia. In some cases where you or a loved one fell and was injured in a nursing home, the nursing home’s maintenance (or lack of!) and supervision, among other factors, may have produced the conditions that led to the fall and injury. For instance, federal and West Virginia law require nursing homes to complete fall risk assessments

For instance, federal and West Virginia law require nursing homes to complete fall risk assessments for every resident, which evaluates a patient’s risk for falling in order to correct problems and prevent falling. In addition to the fall risk assessment, nursing homes should implement action plans and fall prevention strategies. The resident’s care plan should include:

  • Loss of strength and balance
  • Mobility limitations
  • Medications that can cause dizziness, drowsiness, or poor reaction time
  • Dementia
  • Impaired vision

Not every fall is preventable, and not every fall is grounds for a viable personal injury lawsuit. However, a fall constitutes nursing home neglect when the care facility or one of its employees acted negligently, or failed to take standard steps to prevent a fall, then the nursing home may have been liable for the incident.

Do You Have a Case?

If any of the following occurred in the nursing home setting, and injured occurred due to a fall, then you may have a lawsuit:

  • The nursing home failed to develop adequate care plans based on an individual’s health and needs
  • The nursing home failed to regularly assess and adapt an individual’s care plan
  • The nursing home failed to provide care according to the resident’s care plan
  • The nursing home used improper care techniques
  • The nursing home hired unqualified employees
  • The nursing home failed to provide insufficient training
  • The nursing home was understaffed
  • A nursing home employee failed to follow facility protocol
  • The nursing home failed to maintain or remedy hazards, such as wet floors, inadequate lighting, and defective flooring

 

Call the Love Law Firm Today

If you or a loved one fell in a nursing home and was injured, one of the first things that you should do (aside from caring for your loved one and making sure he/she gets the necessary medical care) is to contact a Charleston WV nursing home abuse and neglect attorney. At the Love Law Firm, we’ll carefully and compassionately listen to your case to determine if you have a possible lawsuit. By filing a lawsuit, we’ll vigorously litigate for your rightful compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.

For a free consultation with the Love Law Firm, call our Charleston WV office today at (304) 344-5683.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Charleston WV

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:

  • Welts
  • 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.