Nobody wants to accept the possibility that his or her elderly loved one may be a victim of nursing home abuse. We trust nursing homes to take care of our loved ones’ physical, emotional, and mental well-being in ways we cannot. When nursing home employees take advantage of, use, and abuse residents, you can shed light on this terrible crime. If you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, find out what you can do to help – you may wish to hire a compassionate West Virginia nursing home abuse lawyer for assistance.
In an Emergency: Call 911
If your loved one is in an emergency situation and in immediate danger, do not hesitate to dial 911 or the local police for help. Elder abuse can quickly escalate, causing injuries your loved one may never recover from. Contact the police if you suspect someone is suffering abuse or neglect to the point that it is causing immediate damage. The police will go to the nursing home, conduct an investigation, and take appropriate action.
West Virginia Adult Protective Services (APS) Hotline
The West Virginia APS protects adults 18 and older, those who are functionally disabled (mentally or physically), and those living in residential facilities such as nursing homes. The APS takes calls 24/7 at 1 (800) 352-6513. You can call and report abuse, neglect, and exploitation of any adult without fear of retaliation. West Virginia Code 49-6A-6 states that anyone making a report of abuse or neglect in good faith is immune from criminal and civil liability.
The APS investigates every report it receives of elder abuse and neglect. It will go to the nursing home or facility and conduct a thorough investigation. If the organization concludes that the facility is responsible for elder abuse or neglect, it will provide the appropriate services and support.
Find Help in Your Community
If you want to find local help for elder abuse and neglect, use the Eldercare Locator provided by the U.S. Administration on Aging. You can also call 1 (800) 677-1116. You can search the Locator by zip code, city and state, or topic. For example, you can select “Elder Abuse Prevention” as the topic and “Charleston, WV” as the city and state.
In your results, you will see contact information for the WV Office of Children and Adult Services, the Metro Area Agency on Aging, the Aging and Disability Resource Center, and the WV Bureau of Senior Services. You can call any of these resources for help with your situation.
Learn the Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect
Often, elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation are not obvious. Sometimes, you can detect unexplained bruising or marks, but other times, abuse is not obvious. Signs of physical abuse include frequent, mysterious trips to the hospital, scratch or bite marks, finger-shaped bruising, and bruises around the torso where the employee may not think anyone will look. Signs of neglect include malnourishment, bedsores, and infection from unchanged adult diapers. If your loved one lacks basic hygiene, food, or medical aid or has dementia and is not unsupervised, it is a sign of neglect.
Mental abuse is harder to detect, but you can pick up on it if you know your loved one well. If your loved one becomes withdrawn, anxious, or depressed without saying why, it is possible he or she is being mentally abused. Signs of financial exploitation include unexplained fluctuations in your loved one’s bank accounts, excessive gifts or money for needed care, or signing property transfers out of the blue.
Call a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in West Virginia
If your loved one has been the victim of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, get in touch with a local Charleston personal injury attorney with experience handling nursing home abuse cases. At Tiano O’Dell, PLLC, our lawyers believe your loved one deserves justice and compensation for elder abuse. You can call our nursing home negligence attorneys at (304) 720-6700 or contact us online today.