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Signs and Symptoms of Nursing Home Abuse

nursing homeAlthough some signs and symptoms of elder abuse are obvious, many others are subtle and go undetected. Unfortunately, these subtle signs often remain undiscovered until it is too late. In fact, elderly people who experience physical or mental abuse in a nursing facility have a 300% higher mortality rate than those who have not been abused.

Any physical, verbal or emotional abuse in a nursing home is unlawful and can have a severe impact on the overall health and wellbeing of the victim. Below are common warning signs and symptoms that indicate potential abuse of your elderly family member:

Bed Sores. Also called pressure sores, these skin injuries occur when a person is left to lie in bed in the same position for an extensive period of time. When a person lies in the same position, blood flow to pressure points on their body is diminished, which then allows bed sores to form.

Dehydration or Malnutrition. If an elderly person’s food and water consumption is not properly monitored, they are likely to suffer from severe or life-threatening health complications due to dehydration or malnutrition.

Broken Hips or Other Bones. Elderly individuals are susceptible to broken hips or other bones due to osteoporosis, poor balance and weakened eyesight. Therefore, they should always be assisted by a caregiver when walking, bathing, or getting in or out of bed. Broken bones may indicate a resident is not being properly cared for or assisted.

Bruises, Welts or Lacerations. Often dismissed by staff members as the result of clumsiness or an unfortunate accident, these skin abrasions can indicate physical abuse by unkind or impatient caregivers.

Depression or Uncharacteristic Behavior. Heightened psychological distress and feelings of worthlessness often accompany abuse, causing many mistreated elders to fall into a deep depression or to display uncharacteristic behaviors. If you notice your elderly loved one has suddenly become withdrawn, has diminished interest in activities they once enjoyed, or talks about committing suicide, it is imperative to seek help immediately.

If you suspect an aging loved one is the victim of elder abuse, please contact our experienced and compassionate West Virginia nursing home abuse lawyers as soon as possible. We will work hard to ensure that justice is served.

Common Causes of Nursing Home Abuse

elderly womanAbuse of any kind in a nursing home is inexcusable. However, many nursing facilities actively participate in hiring or sanitation practices that increase the likelihood of abuse occurring at their facility.

The following are common practices seen in nursing homes with increased incidents of resident abuse:

Understaffed Facilities. Because federal law only requires one registered nurse be on duty at any given time at a nursing facility, and because there are no minimum staffing requirements for nurse’s aides (the workers who provide the most direct, day-to-day care) many nursing homes staff their facilities with the least amount of employees necessary in order to cut overhead expenses and collect more profit.

Negligent Hiring. Due to stressful and unfavorable working conditions, many nursing facilities are in constant need of new employees. Therefore, important new-employee credential checks and criminal background investigations go unfinished as nursing homes try to fill vacancies quickly.

Inadequate Staff Training. Many nursing homes offer free training courses to potential employees as a way to entice them into working for their facility. However, these training courses are often poorly structured and are meant to meet the minimum amount of training required by law.

Lack of Sanitation and Hygiene. Serious health issues can develop when staff members fail to maintain adequate facility sanitation or resident hygiene. Additionally, life-threatening germs and bacteria can spread throughout nursing homes when staff members fail to take important hygienic precautions themselves, such as regularly washing their hands.

Medication Errors. When a medication is administered in a manner that contradicts a doctor’s orders, the manufacturer’s suggested dosage or an accepted professional standard of administration, residents are at risk for serious health complications or death.

If you have witnessed any of the above practices at your aging family member’s nursing home, please contact Stewart Bell, PLLC immediately. One of our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys will listen to you, answer any questions you may have and help determine if your situation warrants a West Virginia nursing home abuse lawsuit.

Do You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

older womanIf you suspect your aging loved one is the victim of abuse, it’s important to report your suspicions to the local authorities as soon as possible. If the abuse is severe or life-threatening, please contact 911.

After reporting nursing home abuse to the appropriate authorities, there are several more steps you will need to take in order to ensure the health and safety of your elderly family member. It’s at this point that many family members choose to hire an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. A trusted lawyer can help families through this difficult process, as well as hold the negligent nursing home liable for the physical or emotional pain they have forced your senior loved one to endure.

A trusted lawyer will also guide families through the process of finding a good nursing home that meets all of the requirements necessary for their loved one’s health and happiness. Your lawyer will help you choose a new facility that is clean, has a sufficient staff-to-patient ratio, has stellar credentials, and is free of complaints or citations.

Contact Our West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers for Help

lawyer Jeff David StewartThe people and businesses of West Virginia need an ally and for 30 years Stewart Bell, PLLC has been that ally, protecting their rights and interests of West Virginians and helping them to receive compensation for their pain and suffering, while holding the liable parties accountable for their actions.

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