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Nursing home abuse takes a sinister turn

In the past few years, a disturbing new form of abuse has emerged among workers in nursing care facilities. While those using this kind of abuse do not always leave marks or bruises on the victims, the mistreatment is visible for all to see when the workers post humiliating pictures or videos of patients and residents on social media.

If your elderly parent is a resident in a West Virginia nursing home, you may be concerned about the kind of treatment the staff provides. You may have overheard staff members complaining about their jobs, shouting at residents or expressing impatience. This kind of stress may lead a caretaker to find some release at the expense of your loved one.

Penalties when nursing homes fail to discipline abusers

Instead of hiding their actions, some staff members trusted with caring for elderly residents have allegedly posted on social media photographs and videos of residents in demeaning situations. Some of the victims were naked, covered in feces or enduring the mockery of employees. One investigation uncovered at least 47 examples of such exploitation from across the country.

You may be shocked to hear that many nursing homes and assisted living facilities have no policies against employees having cellphones in residents' rooms, taking pictures or posting those pictures to social media. In fact, advocates of the elderly recommend that you ask about such policies at your loved one's nursing home.

Some legislators are pushing for federal laws to protect the elderly and vulnerable from the abuse of exploitation. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have recently put state health departments on notice. The CMS warned health departments to set boundaries for nursing facilities receiving government assistance, or those facilities will risk losing their relationships with the Medicare program.

Protecting your loved one

Your elderly parent deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. When the medical professionals and staff of a nursing care facility mistreat or demean your loved one, they have betrayed a fundamental trust and likely broken the law. You may feel helpless and confused when you begin to suspect abuse or exploitation at the home or hospital where your parent lives, but you do have recourse.

You may feel some satisfaction discussing your situation with an attorney who is respected for passionate representation of cases like yours. A personal injury lawyer will evaluate the circumstances of your loved one and investigate the claims of abuse. Like you, your attorney wants to hold accountable those responsible for mistreating your loved one.

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