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.
Richmond Nursing Home Negligence FAQs
You put your trust in the leadership and staff at the Richmond assisted living facility or nursing home where your loved one resides to provide excellent care and to act in your loved one’s best interest.
Many of Richmond’s nursing facilities do just that, focusing on providing their elderly and vulnerable residents with high-quality care and a safe, comfortable place to live.
However, some Richmond nursing homes do not live up to that standard. Through negligence on the part of their staff and leadership, these facilities put their residents at risk of suffering severe, even fatal, harm.
Richmond nursing home residents and their families often have questions about their legal and financial rights when negligence causes them harm. Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions we hear at Emroch & Kilduff about nursing home negligence.
For a free consultation with a skilled nursing home negligence lawyer who can answer your specific questions about negligence at a nursing home in Richmond, contact us today.
What does it mean for someone to be a victim of negligence at a Richmond nursing home?
Negligence is a legal concept. It stands for the proposition that in everyday life, people should not do unreasonable things that cause someone else harm. Negligence happens when a person, without intending to cause harm, makes poor decisions or engages in dangerous actions that lead to someone else getting hurt.
Individuals, businesses, and organizations can all face legal liability for negligence. At a Richmond nursing home, for example, a staff member, individually, could harm a resident through negligent actions (such as forgetting to give a resident medication), or the nursing home itself could harm residents by engaging in negligent conduct, such as by implementing a facility-wide practice or policy that puts residents’ health at risk.
Most preventable harm suffered by residents of Richmond nursing homes likely results from negligence. That is, more often than not, nursing home staff and leadership do not intend to harm residents. Instead, they make preventable mistakes and poor choices, and residents get sick or hurt as a result.
What are some signs of negligence at a Richmond nursing home?
You can spot negligence at a Richmond nursing home in two ways: recognizing harm that it has caused to a resident, or witnessing potentially dangerous, negligent decisions or conduct as it happens.
Harm to a resident possibly caused by negligence could include:
- A resident’s complaints about harmful or dangerous conduct, or of feeling unsafe;
- Changes in behavior including becoming easily upset, fearful, withdrawn, or more confused than usual;
- A resident’s unexplained, repeated, or preventable injuries and health complications, particularly if unrelated to any pre-existing health condition;
- A resident’s attempts to leave the facility;
- Missed doses of medication;
- Multiple residents falling ill with an infectious disease;
- Evidence of dehydration or malnutrition;
- A resident’s lack of personal hygiene; and
- The disappearance of a resident’s personal effects or money from a resident’s bank account.
Conditions or behaviors that could reflect negligence if you see them happen at a Richmond nursing home might include:
- Staffing problems, such as high turnover, staffing shortages, or staff that appear overwhelmed or incompetent;
- The nursing home getting warned or fined by a regulator;
- A lack of cleanliness or maintenance of a nursing facility;
- Broken fixtures or equipment; and
- Phones ringing constantly or resident call bells going unanswered
More generally, if your gut tells you something seems off at a Richmond nursing home, or if you look around a nursing facility and think to yourself someone is going to get hurt here, then pay attention. That’s a sign of negligence.
Can I sue for harm caused by Richmond nursing home negligence?
In many cases, yes. Residents of Richmond nursing homes have an absolute right to expect to receive competent care and to live in a safe, comfortable environment.
The harm they suffer because a nursing home failed to meet that standard entitles them to compensation, which may pay for:
- Medical care necessitated by the negligence;
- The cost of moving to another nursing facility, including any difference in price;
- Financial losses and lost or stolen personal property;
- Pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life; and
- In some extreme cases, punitive damages for outrageous acts of negligence.
At Emroch & Kilduff, we fight to make sure victims of negligent acts at Richmond nursing homes receive full and fair compensation for the harm they have suffered.
I suspect negligence at the Richmond nursing home where my loved one lives. What should I do?
First, do a gut check and ask yourself if you believe your loved one is in immediate danger. If so, then take all reasonable steps to get your loved one out of harm’s way. That may mean moving your loved one to a new facility or, in extreme cases, calling 911. Use your best judgment. If the danger is not immediate, then you may not need to take drastic action—in fact, it may serve your loved one’s interests for you not to take that kind of action.
Then, before you do anything else, contact a skilled Richmond nursing home negligence law firm like Emroch & Kilduff. Why? Because the actions you take in response to suspected negligence at a Richmond nursing facility can affect your loved one’s legal rights, finances, and wellbeing. Raising your concerns could trigger an official investigation, set off a cover-up at the facility, or even subject your loved one to retaliation.
An experienced lawyer can quickly help you decide what steps to take, in what sequence, to meet your loved one’s needs.
For example, the lawyer may recommend:
- Reporting your concerns directly to the nursing home’s staff or management;
- Filing a complaint with a local, state, or federal regulator;
- Contacting law enforcement; and/or
- Taking legal action.
Every instance of nursing home negligence in Richmond differs. Residents and their families need skilled, experienced legal guidance to avoid making potentially costly mistakes. Emroch & Kilduff can help. Contact us today for a free consultation with an attorney who can answer your questions about harmful negligence at a Richmond nursing home.
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.