Elder Abuse at Virginia Nursing Homes – Lawsuit is Filed Over Alleged Incident in Chesapeake
Elder abuse at Virginia nursing homes happens more often than many people believe. Although we have a right to expect the best of care when we place elderly relatives in a home, on occasions these establishments fail to live up to expectations.
Recently, WAVY.com reported on how a $17.5 million lawsuit was filed against a Chesapeake nursing home. Staff at the home allegedly tied an elderly woman to her wheelchair and drugged her.
The lawsuit states nurses at the home used bedsheets to tie the elderly woman to her wheelchair and confine her in her room overnight in May 2016. The complaint claims nurses also injected the resident with an antipsychotic drug to sedate her.
The complaint stated that while the home is not allowed to use restraint without the consent of a doctor, another resident was tied to her wheelchair on the same night.
The elderly resident who is the subject of the elder abuse lawsuit suffered from dementia. She depended on staff at the home to feed, bathe, and clothe her.
The restraint in May 2016 allegedly left the elderly resident with bruises across her body. Staff members who reported the confinement of the elderly woman were reportedly fired during a secretive review of the incident at the home. The nursing home did not respond to the WAVY story.
Elder abuse at Virginia nursing homes can take many forms including physical, emotional and financial. When a home mistreats a resident, it may be sued in a lawsuit. Virginia has taken a more proactive approach to abuse in recent years. Virginia nursing home laws and regulations mean certain parties are required by law to report any suspicion or case of nursing home neglect or abuse. Parties who fail to report incidents may face legal action. They include doctors, nurses, therapists and other parties.
Types of Elder Abuse at Virginia Nursing Homes
1 Physical and Sexual Assaults
Elderly residents are occasionally attacked or sexually assaulted at nursing homes. A report by CNN in 2017 suggested the extent of sexual abuse in nursing homes is seriously under-reported. It stated there is no comprehensive, national database on how many cases of sexual abuse have been reported in nursing and residential homes.
Few states keep figures. However, Illinois reported 386 allegations of sexual abuse of nursing home residents since 2013.
Bedsores are also called pressure ulcers. These are injuries to the skin and underlying tissue caused by ongoing pressure on a certain part of the body. When elderly residents are neglected or not moved sufficiently in nursing homes, they can suffer bedsores. These often develop on the backs of their legs, hips, ankles, and tailbone region. Infections from bedsores can kill a patient.
Physicians, nurses, and nursing assistants can stop bedsores developing by ensuring patients are kept clean, properly fed, well hydrated, and moved around.
Elderly residents of nursing homes are entitled to a well-balanced diet. This may be a challenge when residents have conditions like diabetes and heart disease that require special diets. In some facilities, elderly residents are deprived of food or not given the specialized diet they need, exacerbating their condition.
Depriving an elderly resident of water can lead to serious complications like low blood pressure, brain swellings, seizures, coma, kidney failure and even death.
5 Under Medication and Over-Medication
In past years, nursing homes routinely used drugs to sedate nursing home residents. Using heavy medication to “manage” residents is now a form of elder abuse in Virginia nursing homes. Under medication involves withholding prescribed medication from elderly residents. This often causes severe discomfort to residents and prevents the medication doing what it’s intended to do. In some cases, residents lose medicines because they are being stolen by staff at the home.
Figures from Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal up to 75 percent of nursing home residents fall at least once a year. However, many nursing home falls are preventable. Nursing homes need to provide railings around beds of elderly residents and to protect vulnerable older people from falls.
7 Emotional Abuse
Elderly residents, in particular those with dementia, rely on nursing home staff for all their needs. On occasions, they are verbally abused and bullied. Elder people have a right to dignity in their twilight years. Bullying is a form of elder abuse.
8 Financial Abuse
Financial abuse occurs at a Virginia nursing home occurs when an elderly resident is defrauded. Their bank account may be accessed by a member of staff. It is defined as the unlawful use of another person’s funds, assets or property.
In some cases, family members or others may use the power of attorney to defraud an elderly resident.
Elder abuse at Virginia nursing homes is a very serious and upsetting issue. If you fear an elderly resident is being abused call our Virginia injury lawyers at (757) 455-0077.