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“They sent somebody to visit me in the hospital and get my side of the story (totally free). I was assigned Mr. Crawford and told that we had a case. Fast forward about 9 months later and I received literally 14x what the insurance company had offered me. This is after the lawyer and medical fees as well. So basically this was totally free and I barely had to do anything I am so glad I called Marks and Harrison and I will be recommending them to all of my family and friends.”— Robert Smith
Making the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home brings with it many fears. You worry about not seeing your loved one every day. You also worry about whether he or she will receive the best care possible. While most nursing homes in Charlottesville take exceptional care of their residents, it isn’t always the case. Sometimes, elders are abused in nursing homes and, in some cases, they are neglected without their basic needs being met.
When nursing home abuse and neglect occurs, elders and their loved ones must take action to stop the abuse. Additionally, they may be eligible to file a personal injury claim against the nursing home or any of its staff members. These claims can provide compensation for injuries and any other losses which the resident sustained as a result of the abuse or neglect.
To learn more about your rights and options, contact Marks & Harrison today through our Charlottesville office. For more than 100 years, we have protected injury victims and their families. We are ready to go to work for you today.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse in Charlottesville
Many types of abuse can occur in Charlottesville nursing homes. They are all inexcusable violations of trust. Some of the most common forms of nursing home abuse are:
- Physical abuse – When a nursing home staff member uses physical force on a resident such as shoving, pushing, slapping, shaking, burning or kicking. The use of restraints can also be a form of physical abuse.
- Sexual abuse – When a staff member engages in non-consensual sexual activity with a nursing home resident such as intercourse, touching or coerced nudity.
- Emotional abuse – When a nursing home staff member inflicts emotional distress through verbal or non-verbal means, including insults, humiliation, threats or intimidation.
- Financial abuse – When a staff member illegally or inappropriately uses a resident’s assets or other property, including stealing or engaging in fraudulent use of a resident’s ATM card.
Types of Neglect in Charlottesville Nursing Homes
Nursing home neglect can take on many forms. However, most cases are categorized into four different types of neglect.
- Medical neglect – When a nursing home fails to properly attend to the medical needs of a resident, it is medical neglect. This type of neglect can include allowing the resident to develop bedsores, failing to administer medication or ignoring infections.
- Neglect of basic needs – Under state law licensing requirements, nursing homes are required to provide residents with an adequate supply of food and water. They must also maintain a safe and clean environment in all areas of the facility.
- Neglect of personal hygiene – Nursing homes must ensure that residents clean themselves, including bathing, brushing their teeth and wearing clean clothing. When residents cannot perform these tasks on their own, nursing home staff must assist them.
- Social and emotional neglect – Nursing home staff members should never yell at residents, leave them alone for long periods of time or ignore them. When they do, it is considered social and emotional neglect.
While some of these types of neglect are easy to identify, such as when a resident has been left alone in bed and developed bedsores, others are more difficult to spot.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
When a loved one in a nursing home shows sudden changes in physical appearance, behavior or personality, those are signs of nursing home negligence. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Unexplained injuries or bruises, especially bruises that have a similar pattern
- Suddenly stopping certain medications
- Signs of restraint such as marks on the wrists
- Unusual behavior such as constant rocking or mumbling
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Bruising around the genitals
- Underwear that is torn, stained or bloody
- Unsafe living conditions such as fire hazards
- Poor personal hygiene such as dirty fingernails or matted hair
- Bedsores, particularly those in late stages
- Sudden weight loss
- Signs of dehydration such as extreme fatigue
- Sudden and unexplained changes of your loved one’s finances
- Unusual goods or services purchased in your loved one’s name.
If a caregiver refuses to allow you to spend time alone with your loved one, or if there is visible tension between a staff member and your relative, those are also indications of nursing home neglect or abuse.
What To Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
It is extremely difficult when suspicions arise that your loved one is not being cared for in a proper manner in a Charlottesville nursing home. If you suspect that your family member is being abused by nursing home staff member, it will be important for you to take action immediately. Below are the steps to take to hold a nursing home accountable and protect your loved one:
- Talk to your loved one. Privately speak to your loved one so you can get his or her account of what happened or still happening. Keep in mind that your loved one may be embarrassed to talk about it or fear repercussion. So, your loved one may not be as open as you would like.
- Talk with nursing home staff. Question the nursing home staff about any troubling signs you have seen. If they are unwilling to provide an answer, or if you are not satisfied with the answers, then you should prepare to take further action.
- Document everything. Take pictures of any signs of abuse or neglect which you see. Write down the names of staff members you talk to and what they say. Also, speak to any other residents that could possibly corroborate claims or suspicions of neglect. Remember, nursing homes should not mind you being a little nosy as long as you are respectful.
- Call the police. If you believe that your loved one is in imminent danger, you should call the police right away. Sometimes, intervention is necessary to get the resident out of the home safely.
- Report it. You should report suspected nursing home abuse or neglect as soon as possible. You can call the Virginia elder abuse hotline at (888) 832-3858, contact the Albemarle County Department of Social Services or reach out to the State Long Term Care Ombudsman Program at (804) 565-1600.
Contact Our Charlottesville Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys
Unfortunately, reporting suspected nursing home abuse or neglect and getting your loved one out of the facility is not enough. If your loved one has suffered injuries or losses, your loved one may be entitled to compensation. At Marks & Harrison, our compassionate legal team knows just how devastating nursing home abuse and neglect is to families. We are ready to help. Contact us today for a free consultation so we can get started on your case.