If an elderly West Virginia resident can no longer care for themselves, their family members may decide to move them into a nursing home. However, nursing homes are often coming under fire due to allegations of abuse and neglect of the residents in their care. A report that was released on March 16 demonstrated just how common abuse and neglect may be.
A study that was released in 2000 found that approximately 95 percent of nursing home residents reported either suffering from neglect or observed a fellow resident being neglected. The same study also found that 44 percent of residents also reported that they had been abused. A similar study that took place between 1999 and 2001 found that, of 5,000 nursing homes, 30 percent received a total of 9,000 citations for cases of abuse. Of these 9,000 citations, 1,500 reportedly caused severe harm, malnutrition and serious injuries, such as bed sores.
In some cases, staff members responsible for providing the residents with care are charged. In early March, for example, a 28-year-old employee at a nursing home was charged after he was accused of hitting a 62-year-old male resident. This incident led to an investigation after other patients claimed that they had suffered nursing home abuse as well. This is only one incident; the U.S. National Center on Elder Abuse reported that it was not known how many residents actually suffered abuse or neglect.
Elder abuse comes in many forms, including the failure to provide care resulting in serious injury or malnutrition. If a family believes that abuse or neglect resulted in their loved one's injury, they may file a lawsuit against the nursing home and against the staff members involved in the abuse. An attorney may help the family demonstrate the extent of the injuries or the extent of the neglect.