John Singleton Ken Gibson
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Virginia nursing home physical abuse attorneys


Helping victims of nursing home abuse and their families

When you make the difficult choice to move your elderly loved one into a nursing home, you assume the facility will take care of them. You should never have to fear that your loved one will instead experience any type of abuse, least of all physical abuse. Sadly, however, abuse is a problem that many elderly members of our country face every day.

We understand that your loved one’s safety and well-being are your top concerns. That’s why, if you believe a member of your family has been abused by a nursing home staff, we are here to help. At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we have years of experience in advocating for injured people. You and your loved can expect to be treated with compassion, and you can know that your case will be handled with excellence and diligence. If your loved one has been physically abused at a nursing home, call our firm at (804) 413-6777 or toll-free at (855) 781-6777. Find out your options and how we can help you help them.

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Common forms of nursing home physical abuse

Just as there are several different kinds of nursing home abuse, physical abuse can manifest in different ways. Don’t assume that because you haven’t personally seen a staff member hit a resident, abuse is not happening in the facility. Some of the common types of physical abuse are:

  • Shoving
  • Handling residents roughly
  • Force-feeding
  • Inappropriate use of physical restraints
  • Hitting or slapping
  • Striking residents with an object

You will likely not witness these acts firsthand, because most abusers are careful not to act violently when others are around. But you can counteract this by making frequent surprise visits to the facility, speaking with your loved one and other residents often about what goes on, and by watching for signs of physical abuse.

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The signs and symptoms of abuse

If you are concerned that your loved one may be abused by nursing home staff, watch carefully for the signs and symptoms. Abuse victims will often be too afraid to report what’s happening and, given how many nursing home residents suffer from dementia and other memory issues, your loved one may not even be fully aware of what has happened.

But you can watch out for these signs:

  • Unexplained bruises and cuts
  • Sprains or dislocations
  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Any open wounds
  • Skull fractures
  • Marks from restraints or ropes
  • A sudden change in personality
  • A sudden change in behavior
  • Staff refusing to allow a resident to see visitors alone

If your loved one is acting quieter, more scared, or more distant than usual, don’t brush it off. Even if they don’t have clear marks on their skin, a sudden shift in personality can be a sign that something is wrong.

Also notice if staff behavior has changed. Are staff members trying to keep you away from your loved one? Do they seem overly hostile or even over-friendly with you when you visit? Does your loved one react to staff presence with fear? Identifying abuse can be difficult, but you may be the only person who can keep your loved one safe in such situations.

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Nursing home abuse and responsibility

Following a report or accusation of physical abuse, a nursing home manager may claim that the responsible staff member was the rare exception. A facility leader may assure you that since the offending staff person has been fired, you have nothing more to worry about and, and that you have no ground to stand on when it comes to filing a claim. Do not fall for this.

Nursing homes are responsible for the actions of their staff, especially when it comes to abuse. Those in charge are responsible for hiring qualified staff members, training staff correctly, and promoting a workplace that does not tolerate abuse. If your loved one’s nursing home has failed in these areas, its leadership should be held liable for their negligence.

Nursing homes and facilities exist to provide care to one of the most vulnerable groups in Virginia and our nation. They are held to high standards. You should know that any facility that receives any Medicare or Medicaid funding is legally required to maintain a safe, healthy, and clean environment for all residents. Even private facilities that do not receive such funding are required to be free of abuse and neglect. Otherwise, they are breaking the law.

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Protecting your loved one

Protecting your loved one is obviously key. However, making sure they are safe can be difficult, especially if they have dementia. If you are worried about nursing home abuse, we suggest that you take the following steps:

  1. To start with, carefully vet your nursing home selection: If you are in the process of choosing a nursing home, be sure to thoroughly vet the options. Make surprise visits, read reviews and reports, speak with other residents, and carefully note staff behavior. If you are unsure of a facility, move on to a choice that you are comfortable with. Listen to your instincts.
  2. Once your loved one is in a facility, speak often with them: Speaking with your loved one and asking about their treatment at the facility may be all you need to do to determine if they are being abused. Of course, they may not want to talk about it, or that they may not be fully aware of what is happening. But if you are suspicious of abuse, talk with your loved one first.
  3. Visit as often as you can, watch out for abuse signs: The signs listed above are indicators of physical abuse. Carefully watch for these signs, and do not assume you are reading too much into a situation, especially when it comes to the safety of your loved one. Often, your instincts can be powerful and accurate.
  4. Set up a camera: One of the best ways to determine or prove that abuse is happening is to set up a camera in your loved one’s room. Note that in Virginia, it’s illegal to set up a camera in a nursing home room, unless you have the permission of your loved one’s roommate if she or he has one.
  5. Speak with an attorney: Finally, express your concerns to a skilled attorney. They can help you investigate and eventually hold the nursing home responsible for their actions.

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Call us for help

We at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys have seen how physical abuse harms the elderly of our community. No one deserves such treatment. If you believe your loved one has been harmed by nursing home staff, you can hold the abusers accountable in a personal injury claim. Call us at (804) 413-6777 or toll-free at (855) 781-6777 to find out your options and how we can help. As Virginia personal injury attorneys, we consider it a calling to help those who have been injured through no fault of their own, and that certainly includes victims of nursing home abuse.

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Call our Eastern Virginia office today for a free consultation
at (804) 413-6777 or toll free (855) 781-6777.

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Community Service

Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

  • Safety Education
    GibsonSingleton launches “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
  • Annual Coat Drive
    During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
  • Hands-on Service
    John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
  • Supporting Local Schools
    The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.
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