We rely upon nursing homes to protect our elderly loved ones. When the staff at one of these places takes advantage of that through carelessness, malign intent, or just laziness, your loved ones deserve justice. Learn how to spot the signs of nursing home neglect and an experienced West Virginia nursing home abuse lawyer can help if the unthinkable happens.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
The best way to protect your elderly loved ones from abuse is to be aware of the signs of neglect. Watch for your senior parent to display or mention signs of:
- Poor hygiene
- Unclean rooms
- Soiled bedding
- Unsanitary living areas
- Signs of malnutrition
- Skin lesions
- Unexplained injuries
- Efforts by staff to hide these issues
- Loss of mobility
- Psychological issues
- Fear of caregivers
- Mood swings
- Any other unusual behavior or symptoms
How to Report Nursing Home Neglect in West Virginia
Nursing home neglect in West Virginia is handled by the state’s Adult Protective Services, or APS, division. This office of state government is in place to investigate all reports of exploitation, neglect, and abuse relating to any adults at least 18 years of age or those who have been emancipated.
APS is responsible for investigating all reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation, either at home or in a facility, and to provide support and services following the conclusion of the investigation. Your first responsibility to report nursing home abuse is to contact APS.
What Happens Next?
After you file the report, APS will review it and conduct an investigation. Depending on the results or during the course of the investigation, they may inform law enforcement, the district attorney, medical examiners or coroners, an appropriate ombudsman for long-term care, or a facility administrator.
This investigation is mandatory and can’t be refused. After the investigation, however, you may refuse any services offered. These services can vary widely and are based on a number of criteria that can vary from case to case.
What Protections Do I Have?
West Virginia law protects anyone who makes a report in good faith from criminal or civil liability. In addition, nursing homes and other residential facilities may not, under the law, discriminate against or discharge a person who files such a report.
It’s important to understand, however, what counts as privileged communication. Discussing the issue with your husband or wife to a mandated reporter is not privileged and the mandated reporter is bound by law to file the report. The only protected communications in West Virginia are between a client and their attorney. That means that if you suspect abuse may be going on, you have two choices: file the report immediately or consult an experienced nursing home abuse attorney for advice.
Protecting Your Rights
Nursing home neglect in West Virginia is an extremely real and horrifying problem. Protect your rights and those of your loved ones by securing help from a qualified West Virginia nursing home abuse attorney like the attorneys from Stewart Bell, PLLC. Give us a call at (304) 345-1700 or fill out our online form for a free case consultation and learn how we can serve as your best ally in your fight for justice.