If you have a loved one who is one of the many who reside in nursing homes and elder care facilities throughout West Virginia, you are also undoubtedly among adult children who worry about an aging parent’s safety and well-being while residing in a long-term care environment. Substandard care is problematic in many states, including West Virginia. It’s important to be watchful and to report signs of neglect or abuse.
The terms ”neglect and abuse” refer to a number of actions, events or issues that may cause injuries to nursing home residents, and these events are likely in direct violation of laws, policies and regulations. If you believe that your parent has fallen victim to substandard care in a West Virginia nursing home, you may be able to prevent further injury by conducting a thorough investigation.
Nursing home abuse may be verbal or physical
If a nursing home staff member has physically struck your loved one, it constitutes abuse. However, there are numerous other actions that are also abusive to nursing home patients, which may be less noticeable than a punch, slap or kick. The following list shows additional staff member behaviors that may be abusive toward patients:
- Being too rough or aggressive when helping a patient sit, stand or change positions
- Yelling at a patient in an angry tone of voice (not just raising the voice for someone who is hard of hearing)
- Threatening a patient, especially as a means of coercion, such as threatening to deny food and water if a patient doesn’t do something
If this type of behavior is happening to your parent in a West Virginia nursing home, you can request a meeting with the administrators of the facility to discuss your concerns and, hopefully, resolve the problem swiftly and successfully. Otherwise, you will need to seek legal counsel for help.
Ask questions often to check for signs of neglect
If your loved one is able to converse, you can tell a lot about the type of care that he or she is receiving by asking certain questions. If your parent is incapacitated, however, you may have to gather information through your own observations or from speaking to others. Any of the issues that are included in the following list may be signs of nursing neglect:
- Turning off your loved one’s call light without addressing his or her reason for pushing it or not responding to the call light at all
- Not providing adequate personal hygiene assistance as needed
- Lack of proper medical attention
- Not turning your loved one in his or her bed often enough, if he or she is bed-ridden
- Not offering opportunities for activities, especially if your loved one relies on nursing assistance for mobility throughout the facility
Sadly, current data shows that elder abuse and neglect are just as prolific as child abuse in the United States. Therefore, you should never disregard your own concerns or suspicions. Rather, it is always best to further investigate a matter to make sure that your loved one is not being neglected or abused.
What if that is exactly what is happening?
Many elderly nursing home or long-term care patients in West Virginia and throughout the country have suffered severe injuries and emotional trauma due to nursing neglect or abuse. In fact, many cases of abuse and neglect have resulted in fatalities.
Enlisting immediate support from local law enforcement, physicians and legal advocates may not only save your loved one’s life but may also prevent further abuse or neglect from happening to more patients in the future.