Richmond, VA Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

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Elder Abuse Lawyers of Virginia

Seniors should be treated with respect, but often times, our elders are neglected in nursing homes. Our attorneys are dedicated to protecting nursing home residents who are unable to protect themselves. Too often, elderly victims have suffered physical, emotional or financial abuse at the hands of the very institutions and people who are paid to care for them.

The Hidden Crime

Elder abuse has been called the hidden crime because it is often difficult to recognize, it has been concealed by nursing home staff, or the victims may be too frightened or incapacitated to communicate the abuse.

An estimated 84 percent of abuse cases go unreported or unrecognized. Nursing home deaths are rarely detected by government inspectors, assessed by medical examiners, or investigated and prosecuted by law enforcement.

Federal and state laws were designed to protect nursing home residents and the abuse or neglect that occurs there and in other assisted living facilities. This abuse is often referred to as “institutional abuse.”

Institutional entities where abuse may occur include skilled nursing facility (SNF) or homes, foster homes, group homes, and board and care facilities. Abusers may be staff members, other patients and even visitors.

senior man being abused at nursing home all alone eating lunch

Types of Abuse

The Office of the Inspector General has categorized seven types of abuse sustained by the elderly in institutional settings:

  • Misuse of restraints – chemical or physical control of resident not in accordance with accepted medical practice or orders.
  • Physical abuse – infliction of pain or injury, including sexual abuse.
  • Verbal/emotional abuse -demeaning statements, harassment, threats, humiliation or intimidation.
  • Physical neglect – disregard for the necessities of daily living such as food, water, bathing and basic care.
  • Medical neglect – lack of care for existing medical problems such as ignoring a necessary medical diet, not calling a physician when necessary, being unaware of potential side effects of medication or not taking action on a medical problem.
  • Verbal/emotional neglect – not meeting the patients’ verbal/emotional needs including disregarding patients’ wishes, or restricting contact with family and friends.
  • Personal property abuse – illegal or improper use of a resident’s property (funds, property, assets) by another for personal gain.

Responsibility for Care

To participate in federally reimbursed Medicare and Medicaid programs, nursing homes must comply with the Nursing Home Reform Act (NHRA) which specifies adherence to certain requirements for quality of care. The NHRA states that a participating nursing home “must provide services and activities to attain and maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care…”

Most states have addressed the institutional abuse issue with laws that require doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to report suspected neglect to a designated state office. Laws further require nursing homes to investigate and report any abuse incidents that occur within their facility.

Physicians, hospitals, nurses, therapists, aides, orderlies and administrators must provide adequate care, medical treatment and protection to the residents and patients in their facility.

The Credentials to Help

woman who had her case resolved in assisted living facility and is opening christmas presentOnly an experienced nursing home abuse and malpractice attorney can help punish those responsible for perpetrating crimes against the dependent elderly.

Epperly & Follis, P.C nursing home abuse attorneys know the law, the legal system and victim rights. Our firm handles personal injury cases against major defendants such as nursing homes, hospitals, insurance companies, product manufacturers, corporations and municipalities.

We do not approach our cases as mere jobs, but as causes in which larger issues are at stake – causes in which the firm’s lawyers invest personal dedication to see that justice is done.

If you believe that a loved one has suffered abuse, neglect or death because of a nursing home, our lawyers can help you take action against this reprehensible violation of trust. We can provide you with strategies to successfully prosecute the guilty and improve the quality of your loved one’s care through financial restitution.

If someone you love has been abused, injured or died in a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact the nursing home abuse law firm at Epperly & Follis, P.C in Richmond, Virginia today at 1-888-703-0109 or 804-648-6480, or contact us via our online Contact Form.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find a good nursing home?

Talk to any and everyone that you know, so that you can get a referral. Be sure to talk with the medical personnel (doctors, nurses, social workers, etc.) who were involved in the care of your loved one. Be sure, once you have the facilities narrowed, that you request inspection reports for your review. You can get the latest report from the nursing home director. Finally, be sure to visit the home and take note of the cleanliness, staff interactions with residents, activities available, complaints logged and a number of staff on duty.

What constitutes abuse or neglect?

Any of the following types of behavior on the part of the nursing home constitute abuse or neglect:

  • Improper diet
  • Abandonment
  • Willful desertion
  • Physical abuse of any kind
  • Failing to clean dressings or bed clothes
  • Bed sores from failing to turn the patient
  • Restraining the resident
  • Any other treatment that has, or could, result in physical harm, pain or mental suffering
Should I contact an attorney about the situation?

If you are not getting satisfactory responses or action from the home, yes, you should contact an attorney at Epperly & Follis, P.C. immediately. We will investigate the situation in the nursing home and advise you on the laws surrounding the responsibilities of nursing homes.

Is there a special format for reports or complaints?

No, but you should include all of the following information with your complaint:

  • Name, address, and telephone
  • Your relationship to the resident in the nursing home
  • The resident’s full name and reason that he/she is in the home
  • Times and dates that you observed the problems
  • Names of staff who may be involved, including those that you have spoken to about your concerns
  • Any medical records relating to the abuse or an autopsy if death occurred
Who do I make the report to?

The State Department of Health in your area.

It breaks my heart to see the care that my husband is receiving in the nursing home. What can I do?

Bring your concerns to the attention of the nursing home. Tell them that you are documenting your concerns about what you have seen and that you will report it. Be sure to follow up on your threat.

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Chesterfield, VA

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We know the law, we know victims’ rights, and we want to help you make informed decisions about your personal injury case. Please contact Epperly & Follis, P.C today for a free legal consultation.

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