Nursing home abuse is one of the most disturbing epidemics in our nation. There are millions of senior citizens in long-term residential care, and placing your senior loved one in a nursing home is a scary and stressful thing. You expect that the staff in the home will keep your loved one’s best interests in mind. You believe that they are qualified to provide the proper and necessary care—that they’ll get them the medication they need, feed them, help them with basic hygiene and daily tasks.
When this doesn’t happen it’s devastating to both them and you. It can be a terrifying betrayal and far too many people are lost and confused as to what they should do when this happens. The truth is, you have options available. You can stop the abuse, not just for your loved one, but for others. Let’s look at the states that are the worst for nursing home abuse, where West Virginia falls in the rankings, and how a nursing home abuse lawyer can help.
Worst States for Nursing Home Abuse
According to figures over the past four years, Texas is hands down the worst state in terms of incidents of nursing home abuse, receiving an “F” grade from Nursing Home Report Cards. Even worse, there are a full eleven states that received an “F” grade, followed by ten states that were given a “D” grade.
Just above Texas, but also getting a failing rating, are Louisiana, Oklahoma, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, New York, Illinois, Georgia, Indiana and New Mexico. So where does West Virginia rank? Unfortunately, our state was one of the “D” grade states, ranking #36 of 51 on the list. Between 2013 and 2014, West Virginia fell by 9 points, having previously gotten a “C” grade.
This means that in this state, you should be extra vigilant for signs of abuse in nursing homes.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse runs far beyond physical abuse, though that’s certainly a part of it. Physical abuse is the most obvious kind, with broken bones, fractures, bruises, contusions, welts, restraint burns, open wounds, sprains and other signs being readily apparent. Emotional and psychological abuse can be the hardest to spot. Neglect and abandonment, financial exploitation, and even sexual abuse are all problems that actually go on.
In fact, these non-obvious forms of abuse are much more common in elder care facilities. All too often, staff that are overworked, careless, or simply malicious will leave seniors to their own devices, failing to get them medication, feed them or help them with necessities. They might trick seniors into powers of attorney that grant access to finances. In the most abhorrent cases, they engage in sexual assault or molestation. It’s important to know what to look for.
Signs of Elder Abuse
Naturally, if your parent complains about abusive conditions you should take it seriously. Sometimes, however, they are embarrassed about what they’re going through, or afraid of the repercussions if they reveal what they are suffering.
Watch for your senior loved one to become withdrawn, timid or jumpy. If they experience aggression or sudden mood shifts, or if their caregiver seems like they’re trying to avoid you being alone with your loved one, these can be signs. If they seem to be having trouble with basic hygiene and normal tasks, they might be facing abuse.
What to Do if You Suspect Abuse
If you suspect your senior loved one is the victim of careless or malicious acts by caregivers in a nursing home, there are two things you should do right away: report your suspicions to the authorities, and speak with an elder abuse attorney. There are a number of ways you can report the problem. First, document the signs you’ve noticed including changes in behavior, photos of injuries, written descriptions, and statements from the victim and witnesses.
You can then contact the local Adult Protective Services organization, or even call 911 for immediate help. Your call should remain confidential, so there’s no worries about repercussions.
Finding a West Virginia Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Your loved one is also entitled to compensation for the abuse they’ve suffered at the hands of another. In order to both protect them, stop the abuse and collect damages, you need a good West Virginia nursing home abuse lawyer. Stewart Bell Injury Lawyers, PLLC, have years of experience in this area and we’re ready to help.
Don’t let your loved one become the victim of ongoing nursing home abuse in West Virginia. Give us a call for a consultation today.