How to Recognize & Report Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

Do you suspect that your loved one has been mistreated or neglected while under the care of a nursing home facility in West Virginia? If so, you should waste no time in reporting your concerns to the proper authorities. Elder abuse is a widespread problem in the United States, partly because the issue has been ignored time and time again. Take action today by discussing your options with a Charleston personal injury attorney at Preston & Salango, PLLC. With more than 40 years of collective legal experience and millions of dollars in recoveries, we are well-equipped to seek justice on your loved one’s behalf.

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Recognizing the Signs of Elder Abuse & Neglect

Sometimes the warning signs are obvious, but other times they are not. In some cases, the abuse may not even be physical. Nursing home abuse comes in many forms—including physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse and neglect—so it is important to keep an eye out for anything suspicious.

Looking for Signs of Physical Abuse
Physical elder abuse involves any non-accidental use of force against an elderly person. This may include anything from physical assault (i.e. shoving or hitting) to the inappropriate use of restraints or confinement. Some of the more obvious signs of abuse may include unexplained bruises or cuts, infections, burns, dramatic changes in weight, poor hygiene or torn clothing. Less obvious signs may include a sudden change in behavior or a look of fear around a particular staff member.

Looking for Signs of Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse can take place both verbally and non-verbally. In some cases, ignoring an elderly person or isolating them from their friends can be just as bad as threatening or humiliating them. The effects of psychological abuse can be as long-lasting and damaging as physical abuse, so it is imperative that you take action quickly. If your loved one has experienced a sudden change in behavior or become more withdrawn, this may be a sign that they have been emotionally abused.

Looking for Signs of Financial Abuse
One of the most common forms of elder abuse is that of a financial nature. Senior citizens are seen as an easy target, which is why they are often preyed upon by scammers. Whether that person is someone close to the victim (i.e. a family member or caretaker) or an outside scam artist, there are a number of ways that an unsuspecting senior could be taken advantage of. A nursing home caretaker might misuse a resident’s personal checks or credit cards, forge the victim’s signature or even steal their cash.

How to Report Nursing Home Abuse in West Virginia

Whether you know or suspect that your elderly loved one has been abused, it is imperative that you report the problem immediately. Reports of abuse or neglect must be made to the Department of Health and Human Resources in West Virginia through their 24-hour hotline (304) 902-4266. In some cases, other parties must also be notified of the report—depending on the specific nature of the abuse.

Other parties that may receive a copy of the report include:

  • Local law enforcement (when serious injury or death occurs)
  • Medical examiner or coroner (if the abuse resulted in death)
  • Long-term care ombudsman (if the abuse occurred in a nursing home)
  • Administrator of the nursing home (if the victim was a resident)

In the state of West Virginia, it is mandatory for certain parties to report nursing home abuse. These people are known as “mandatory reporters,” and include medical and dental professionals, mental health professionals, religious practitioners, social workers, law enforcement officers and employees of any nursing home or assisting living facility in the state. These parties must report abuse immediately.

For more information about how to report nursing home abuse, click here.

Seeking Justice for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is illegal – plain and simple. This means that all culpable parties can expect to face criminal charges if their actions have endangered the life of an elderly person. What you may not realize, however, is that victims may also be entitled to damages for the economic and non-economic losses they have experienced. Learn more about your legal options today by discussing your case with the Charleston injury lawyers at Preston & Salango, PLLC. We have successfully recovered millions of dollars in compensation for past clients, and we are ready to do the same for you.

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