West Virginia’s Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
If Your Loved One Has Been Abused
Stewart Bell, PLLC firmly believes in protecting the rights of elderly citizens who have been abused at the hands of an unethical nursing home or caregiver. Our compassionate and dedicated lawyers have filed hundreds of nursing home abuse lawsuits and recovered millions in compensation for West Virginia elderly residents and their families.
The health and happiness of your aging loved one is the top priority for us. We take allegations of mistreatment seriously, and it is our goal to hold negligent facilities responsible for their inexcusable actions. Please contact us if you suspect someone you love isn’t receiving the care they deserve. Your initial consultation is free, and we only get paid if we win your case.
Signs and Symptoms of Abuse or Neglect
Elder Abuse is a largely hidden issue that affects older individuals in the privacy of their homes or behind closed doors at a care facility. Although some signs and symptoms of abuse or neglect are obvious, many others are subtle and go undetected. Unfortunately, these subtle signs often remain undiscovered until it is too late. Any physical, verbal or emotional abuse of an elderly resident is unlawful and can have a severe impact on the overall health and well-being of the victim. In fact, studies show that elderly people who experience physical or mental abuse in a nursing home facility have a 300% higher chance of death than those who have not been abused.
For this reason, it is important that you visit your loved one frequently to ensure they’re receiving the best care. Elders may be too scared or sickly to alert someone of mistreatment, so it is often up to their loved ones to look out for symptoms that can indicate patterns of abuse or neglect. While abuse occurs in many forms, keep these common warning signs in mind when visiting your loved one to protect them from harm:
Also called pressure sores, these skin injuries occur when a person is left to lie in bed in the same position for extended periods of time. When this happens, blood flow to the body’s pressure points is diminished, allowing painful sores to develop. This is a common sign of neglect.
Depression or Changes in Behavior
If you notice a change in your loved one’s behavior, such as crying, trembling, unusual frustration, fear, or anxiety, they may have experienced psychological or emotional trauma. Staff members can take their anger out on residents verbally by screaming at them in a degrading or embarrassing manner that can cause the victim to become depressed.
Dehydration or Malnutrition
Some facilities are notorious for neglecting the basic needs of elderly residents, depriving them of necessities such as food and water. Many seniors require assistance with daily activities, like eating. When caregivers fail to provide daily help, it can severely impact an elder’s physical health and cause dehydration and malnutrition.
Bruises, Welts, or Lacerations
Physical signs of harm or distress like bruises and cuts are more obvious indications that your elderly loved one is possibly being mistreated. Always take note of any new and unusual injuries and ask your family member how they occurred.
Common Practices that Lead to Abuse in Elder Care Facilities
Nursing home negligence is, unfortunately, more commonplace than anyone likes to admit. According to the National Council on Aging, “Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse.”Many inadequate facilities actively participate in hiring or sanitation practices that increase the likelihood of abuse occurring at their facility. The following are typical methods seen in elder care facilities with increasing incidents of resident abuse:
Federal law only requires one registered nurse to be on duty at any given time at a nursing facility. Similarly, there are no minimum staffing requirements for nurse’s aides (the workers who provide the most direct, day-to-day care). Many nursing homes use this law as an excuse to staff their facilities with the least amount of employees necessary in order to cut overhead expenses and collect more profit. Understaffed facilities are a major reason that many elderly nursing home residents do not receive the level of care and attention they need.
Due to stressful and unfavorable working conditions, many nursing facilities are in constant need of new employees. Therefore, important employee credential checks and criminal background investigations go unfinished as nursing homes try to fill vacancies quickly.
Inadequate Staff Training
Many elder care facilities 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 designed to meet the minimum amount of training required by law. These inadequate methods oftentimes lead to insufficient employees who don’t know how to properly care for the elderly.
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 ignore important hygienic precautions themselves, such as regular hand-washing.
When nursing home staff administer medication in a manner that contradicts doctor’s orders, the manufacturer’s suggested dosage, or accepted professional medical standards, they put elderly residents at risk of serious complications or death. Many times, older individuals have a tender state of health and cannot withstand the adverse side effects caused by medication errors. When medication is administered carelessly, patients can suffer unnecessarily.
If you have witnessed any of the above practices in your aging family member’s care facility, don’t hesitate to call a nursing home abuse lawyer at Stewart Bell, PLLC. Dealing with the mistreatment of an elderly loved one can be heartbreaking and extremely stressful. Our knowledgeable team can review the facts of your case and help you take legal action, if necessary. We strive to do this all while providing clarity on the complex process and answering any questions you have along the way.
Secure the Safety of Your Loved One
If you suspect your aging loved one to be a victim of abuse, it’s important to report your suspicions to the local authorities as soon as possible. If the situation is severe or life-threatening, please contact 911.
After reporting the incident to the appropriate authorities, there are several more steps you will need to take in order to ensure the safety of your elderly family member. At this point, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer that is familiar with the laws surrounding elder abuse. Stewart Bell, PLLC can help families through this difficult process, as well as hold the negligent facility liable for the physical or emotional pain they have forced your senior loved one to endure.
A trusted nursing home abuse lawyer will also guide you through the process of finding a good nursing home that meets all of the requirements necessary for your loved one’s health and happiness. The caring team at Stewart Bell, PLLC can help you choose a new facility that is clean, has a sufficient staff-to-patient ratio, stellar credentials, and is free of complaints or citations.
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For more than 30 years, Stewart Bell, PLLC has served the people of West Virginia by protecting their legal rights. We understand the specific issues victims of abuse or neglect and their families face. That’s why we strive to work diligently and efficiently to obtain the maximum compensation for every case we handle.
If you have any reason to believe your elderly family member has suffered abuse at the hands of their caregiver, don’t wait to request a free consultation below. We can help you seek the justice you and your family deserve and put a stop to the nursing home’s negligent treatment of your loved one.
Request a Free Consultation
For more than 30 years, the lawyers of Stewart Bell, PLLC have helped the people and businesses of West Virginia protect their interests and rights. We understand the issues that injury victims and their families face after an accident and work quickly to obtain the MAXIMUM amount of compensation for every case we handle.
We have recovered MILLIONS of dollars for clients injured because of nursing home abuse, motor vehicle accidents or medical malpractice.