Nursing home abuse is unfortunately all too common. Now that the “baby boomer” population is of nursing home age, there are going to be even more elders subjected to this kind of abuse. Here we discuss what constitutes as abuse, what to do if you suspect that one of your loved ones may be a victim, and when to contact a Charleston nursing home abuse lawyer for legal assistance.
Defining Abuse And Neglect
The first step when you suspect nursing home abuse is to determine whether it is, in fact, abuse. Accidental injuries are somewhat frequent in our elderly population, but these are very different from injuries resulting from abuse or neglect. Abuse comes in a variety of forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and financial exploitation. Elder neglect manifests in a variety of ways, namely failing to provide an elder’s essentials such as adequate shelter, clothing, food, personal hygiene and health care.
Discerning Abusive And Neglectful Situations
As we all know, accidents can and do happen. So how can you determine if an injury is the result of an accident or abuse? Keep an eye out for the following warning signs that may indicate the presence of abuse or neglect:
- Physical or sexual abuse can lead to unexplained injuries like bruises, cuts, burns, welts, other sores and even fractured bones. Recently acquired sexually transmitted diseases can also indicate abuse.
- Emotional abuse can result in unexplained behavioral changes like becoming more withdrawn, not engaging in regular activities, and altered levels of alertness.
- Financial exploitation is often caused by a caretaker who controls the elder’s finances and fails to provide for the elder’s needs. This might be indicated by the absence of basic comforts and necessary amenities in the home of the elder. If an elder is signing financial documents without properly understanding their meaning, this can indicate financial exploitation.
- Neglect can be characterized by an absence of nutritionally adequate food, personal hygiene, clothing and medical assisting devices like walkers, dentures, hearing aids, glasses and medications. Leaving an elder unsupervised who has dementia or who is confined to a bed also constitutes as neglect, as well as leaving resulting pressure ulcers and bedsores untreated. A home that is in poor condition or that is dirty and cluttered can also be a sign of neglect, along with a home that lacks necessary amenities like heating and cooling, plumbing or electricity.
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect
If you believe that someone is a victim of nursing home abuse, you will need to notify the proper authorities as soon as possible. If it’s an emergency, dial 911 immediately. If the situation is less emergent, file a report with your local law enforcement or district attorney.
When reporting instances of abuse or neglect, the Adult Protective Services (APS), Eldercare Locator and the National Council on Child Abuse and Family Violence can help you create your report. APS also helps to investigate cases of abuse, provides responsive services and suggests additional resources that might be of assistance.
Contact a Charleston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Don’t forget to contact a Charleston nursing home abuse lawyer at Stewart Bell, PLLC to help you with your case. Our experienced and compassionate lawyers have been serving West Virginia for over three decades, and we’re here to provide you and your loved ones with the support you need and deserve.