Unfortunately, elder and nursing home abuse is far too common, with an estimated 5 million people affected per year. Abuse or neglect can come in many forms, some of which are subtle and often times go unnoticed. If not addressed, even less obvious signs and symptoms of abuse can lead to injury, depression, or even death.
Thankfully, states are recognizing the rise of elder abuse, but few are taking appropriate measures to put a stop to insufficient, unethical nursing home facilities. A recent study, conducted by WalletHub in 2017, compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia in order to determine the states with the best protection against elder abuse.
3 Key Categories: Prevalence, Resources, and Protection
Each state was evaluated under 3 key categories: prevalence, resources, and protection. These categories were judged using 11 different metrics, ranging from elder abuse, gross neglect, and exploitation complaints to financial elderly abuse legislation. Each was scored on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the “best protection against elder abuse.” WalletHub’s distinct metrics are listed below along with their corresponding weights.
Prevalence – Total Points: 40
- Share of elder abuse, gross neglect and exploitation complaints: full weight (~40.00 Points)
- Notes: This metric was calculated by dividing the number of elder-abuse, gross-neglect, and exploitation complaints by the number of residents aged 65 and older. “Complaints” include those made to the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
Resources – Total Points: 30
- Total expenditures on elder abuse prevention per resident aged 65 & older: full weight (~10.00 Points)
- Total expenditures on legal assistance development per resident aged 65 & older: full weight (~10.00 Points)
- Total long-term care ombudsman program funding per resident aged 65 & older: full weight (~10.00 Points)
Protection – Total Points: 30
- Financial elderly abuse laws: full weight (~4.29 Points)
- Note: This is a binary metric that considers the presence or absence of such legislation.
- Eldercare organizations & services per resident aged 65 & older: full weight (~4.29 Points)
- Presence of elder abuse forensic centers: full weight (~4.29 Points)
- Presence of elder abuse working groups: full weight (~4.29 Points)
- Note: An “Elder-Abuse Working Group” is defined by the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center as “an entity such as a task force, council, commission, or non-profit organization, convened to address elder abuse issues at the state level.”
- Number of certified volunteer ombudsmen per resident Aged 65 & older: full weight (~4.29 Points)
- Frequency of assisted living facilities inspections: full weight (~4.29 Points)
- Quality of nursing homes: full weight (~4.29 Points)
- Note: This metric measures the percentage of certified nursing-home beds rated 4 or 5 stars.
Based on the weighted average across these 11 elements, the overall scores were then calculated and used to rank the states from best to worst.
Using this methodology and data set, WalletHub found the top 5 states with the best overall protection against elder abuse to be:
- District of Columbia
West Virginia’s Elder Abuse Protection Ranking
How did West Virginia stack up against the rest of the United States when it comes to elder abuse protection?
- West Virginia ranked 13th, with an overall score of 56.65 out of 100.
- While the state placed 10th under the ‘Resources’ category, it was further down in the other two, at 26th under ‘Prevalence’ and 34th under ‘Protection.’
West Virginia has taken steps to improve state legislation surrounding elder abuse in hopes to protect its elderly citizens and punish the individuals and facilities that exploit them. In cases of elder and nursing home abuse, navigating your particular state laws can be confusing. At Stewart Bell, PLLC, we represent cases of elder and nursing home abuse in Charleston and across West Virginia. When you call us, you’ll have the opportunity to speak with a dedicated and knowledgeable Charleston elder abuse lawyer that can assist you throughout the complex, overwhelming legal process, so you can best protect the rights of your elderly loved one.
Know the Signs and Symptoms
Seniors can be too embarrassed, proud, or sickly to warn their loved ones they are being mistreated. That is why it’s important to visit them frequently and be aware of any signs or symptoms of potential abuse. Neglect or abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological, or financial. Knowing what to look for is the first step to protecting your elderly loved one from abuse. Below are several red flags that typically indicate abuse or neglect:
- Bed sores
- Broken bones, bruises, or welts
- Change in behavior
- Poor sanitation
- Medical errors
Call a Charleston Elder Abuse Lawyer Today
If you witness these symptoms or have any reason to believe your loved one is being abused by their caregiver, call Stewart Bell, PLLC immediately to speak with a Charleston elder abuse lawyer. Our experienced staff is dedicated to helping our clients hold nursing home facilities responsible for any egregious acts of neglect or abuse.
If you see something, say something. One of our knowledgeable Charleston elder abuse lawyers can evaluate your case and help you navigate particular state laws and the process of filing a lawsuit, if necessary. If your elderly loved one is not being treated with the respect they deserve, you could be entitled to compensation for any medical bills, physical therapy, or pain and suffering they’ve endured due to an abusive or negligent facility.
You can reach our office at 304-345-1700. A knowledgeable Charleston elder abuse lawyer will review your claim confidentially and at no cost. With zero obligation to us unless we obtain compensation for your case, you have nothing to lose. Our goal is to help secure the safety of your elderly loved one and win the compensation your family needs to move forward.