Richmond Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Relinquishing privacy and adjusting to new routines are just a few of the challenges our family members have to face when failing health requires placement in a nursing home.
All of the 288 licensed Medicare and Medicaid Nursing Homes in Virginia, including those in Richmond, are regulated by the Virginia Department of Health Long Term Care Division. In theory, we should be able to assume our family member will be in good hands. Yet, in June 2019 The Virginia Pilot reported, “Inspectors found multiple violations of state standards of care at virtually every nursing home in Hampton Roads.” Some of these violations included:
- Failing to protect each resident from physical, mental and sexual abuse, physical punishment, and neglect
- Failing to provide enough food and fluids to maintain a resident’s health
- Failing to provide safe and appropriate dialysis care for a resident
- Failing to provide safe and appropriate respiratory care for a resident
- Failing to provide safe and appropriate pain management for a resident
- Failing to ensure that residents are free from significant medication errors
- Failing to prevent new skin wounds from developing
- Failing to provide and implement an infection prevention and control program
The news agency may call them deficiencies in acceptable standards of care, but here at Emroch & Kilduff, we call it abuse.
Nursing home abuse is an egregious abuse of power—we won’t tolerate it, and neither should you. If you suspect a loved one is the victim of abuse at the hands of a nursing home employee, contact the legal team at Emroch & Kilduff. Stop by our Richmond office, located at 3600 West Broad Street, Suite 700, or call us at (804) 358-1568.
Examples of Elder Abuse
These are examples of nursing home abuse as recognized by The National Center on Elder Abuse:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Emotional/psychological abuse
- Financial abuse
Family members are the resident’s best defense against abuse and neglect. Any of the following can be a warning sign of neglect or abuse:
- Changes in physical appearance
- Cognitive decline
- Unclean clothing
- Poor personal hygiene
- Poor maintenance of the facility itself
- Complaints from the resident
- Signs of restraint
- Pressure Sores
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Under or over medication
- Weight loss
- Cuts, bruises, swelling, broken bones
- Indications of depression or anxiety
Mandatory Reporting Of Suspected Abuse
Virginia’s mandatory reporting law identifies those individuals required to report nursing home abuse. These include:
- Any person licensed, certified, or registered by health regulatory boards (with the exception of veterinarians)
- Mental health services providers
- Emergency medical services personnel
- Any guardian or conservator of an adult;
- Any person employed by, or contracted with, a public or private agency or facility working with adults in an administrative, supportive or direct care capacity
- Any person providing care to an adult for compensation
Nursing Home Abuse Is Pervasive and Frequently Under-Reported
We trust the administrators and clinical staff of nursing homes will take every precaution to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our family members in their care. We also rely on the fact that violations will be reported, as required by law, to the appropriate agency, and steps will be taken to prevent future problems. This is not always the case. Unfortunately, abuse is prevalent and frequently goes unreported.
In June 2019, the U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services Office Of Inspector General reported that one in five Medicare emergency room claims were likely the result of potential nursing home abuse or neglect.
Violating a Resident’s Rights Can Constitute Abuse
- The results of state surveys and inspections
- Participate in his or her treatment
- Refuse to participate in experimental research
- Expect discharge only for medical reasons
- Express concerns and recommend changes
- Be free from mental and physical abuse
- Be free from physical or chemical restraints (unless medically indicated to prevent self- injury or harm to others)
- Confidential treatment
- Refuse the release of medical records, except as required by law
- Expect privacy in the care of personal needs
- Be treated with respect and dignity
Is Your Nursing Home Adhering to High Standards?
When looking to place your loved one in a Richmond-area nursing facility, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the facility provide social, recreational, religious, and community involvement activities?
- Is transportation provided to private physician’s appointments and community outings?
- Does the nursing home offer private spaces for residents to entertain visitors?
- Does the same nursing staff care for the residents, or does the facility use agency nurses?
- How many residents is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) assigned to work with during each shift?
- What type of therapy is available at this facility?
- Is there a registered dietician on staff?
- Does the nursing home have a policy for mandatory staff vaccinations for flu?
- What is the nursing home’s policy for the use of restraints?
- What is the policy for antipsychotic medication in dementia patients?
Why a Skilled Nursing Facility Can Face Financial Liability for Abuse
Even if a nursing home employee or resident did not intentionally injure your loved one, the facility can still be held responsible if it:
- Failed to conduct background investigations on employees who have a history of physical abuse
- Failed to do a record check with the Pennsylvania State Licensing Division and the State Nurse’s Aide Registry before hiring a new employee, who then abused you or your loved one
- Failed to properly supervise staff members
- Failed to hire sufficient supervisory staff
- Failed to properly train employees on how to spot abuse
- Failed to take the proper measures if you, a family member, another resident, or a staff member reported a case of potential abuse within the nursing home
Consider a wide variety of causes when it comes to nursing home abuse. Hiring an experienced attorney to help you with your nursing home abuse case is the best way to keep your loved one safe.
How a Richmond Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Can Help
At Emroch & Kilduff our team focuses on maximizing every client’s financial recovery for ham they should not have suffered. We are located at 3600 West Broad Street, Suite 700. Give us a call at (804) 358-1568 or contact us online if you believe a nursing home violated your loved one’s guaranteed rights.