It is likely difficult for residents of West Virginia to fathom—the idea that someone they love could be abused by the very people charged with providing their care. Such abuse does occur however, at nursing homes throughout the nation.
The abuse can take different forms including mental and physical. In some cases, an elderly victim may be afraid to tell someone it is occurring. In others however, such as when a resident has Alzheimer’s, a victim may not even remember the abuse has occurred. This does not excuse such behavior from occurring.
Workers at a nursing home in another state are being made aware of this. The workers, including the facility’s owner, are being criminally charged in connection with abusing residents. The facility in question is designed to care for Alzheimer’s residents. Among other things, the staff allegedly: doused residents with water, placed two diapers on them to reduce the number of times the individual needed to be changed, restrained them with sheets and hit them. Specific charges include neglect and financial exploitation and abuse. In addition, some individuals employed by the facility reportedly had been convicted of felonies such as identity theft and voluntary manslaughter.
West Virginia’s legal system has previously addressed nursing home abuse of residents with Alzheimer’s. Recently, a verdict awarding $91.5 million in connection with the death of an 87-year-old woman diagnosed with the disease was upheld by a circuit court judge. That decision illustrates how that behavior will not be tolerated. It is possible that loved ones of the 27 nursing home residents in this case will file similar lawsuits.
Source: Reuters, "Nursing home staff allegedly abused elderly Alzheimer's patients," July 2, 2013