We've written before in this space about ProPublica's nursing home inspection website that helps readers across the nation find out about inspections, deficiencies and fines at facilities.
For many people, the search for a suitable West Virginia nursing home for a loved one is a daunting task. They might feel that there are few resources available with which meaningful comparisons can be made, and too few information streams that will deliver news of nursing homes that have been cited in recent years for serious violations of health, safety, abuse or neglect regulations.
According to a lawsuit brought against Genesis Healthcare Corporation and its Heritage Center in Huntington, West Virginia, the defendant's were negligent in their treatment of a former resident of the nursing home. The suit is being brought by one of the former resident's family members.
One of the most difficult decisions a nursing home staff member can make is when to treat a resident on-site and when to transport them to a hospital for more intense care. When seniors' health takes a turn for the worse, transfers to a hospital are common procedure, even if the extended, intensified care is against the patient's wishes.
Nursing home operators in West Virginia have a duty to protect those who've been entrusted to their care from physical abuse by staff members, visitors, trespassers and other residents alike. When they fail to do that, victims have the right to hold the facility accountable and seek compensation for the harms they've suffered as a result by filing a nursing home negligence lawsuit.
Nursing homes in West Virginia cost a lot. This is partly due to the fact that residents often need a great deal of care, but there are other reasons for the high cost which we don't want to focus on in this post. In any event, if a resident or a resident's family members fall behind on payments or can't cover this cost anymore, what happens next is no secret. The resident has to leave while any unpaid bills go into collections.
The people most vulnerable to serious harm from infectious diseases are the very young, the very old and the very sick. Fortunately, one of the best ways to prevent residents of nursing homes in West Virginia from being harmed by infectious diseases is also one of the easiest: hand-washing. In real terms, this means that caregivers need to use an anti-microbial soap or hand sanitizer before starting a shift, before leaving to go home from a shift, and before and after every direct contact with a resident that happens in between.
Residents of nursing homes or assisted living homes in West Virginia should never be subjected to physical abuse from anyone, and especially not from those who have been trusted to care for them. Yet physical abuse continues to be a problem in American nursing homes, inflicting serious and fatal injuries as well as a great deal of emotional distress on elderly victims.
Many nursing home residents in West Virginia have "Do Not Resuscitate" orders instructing medical personnel not to undertake certain types of lifesaving measures in certain situations. Some of these orders are broad, precluding almost any type of lifesaving measure in any situation. Others are limited to very specific circumstances in which the individual (or a family member/legal guardian) does not want lifesaving efforts.
Nursing homes providers in West Virginia and elsewhere frequently complain about frivolous claims and the exorbitant costs they incur in defending their companies against lawsuits. What they just as frequently fail to recognize is that their own profit-motivated decisions -- to cut corners on training and staffing levels at their facilities while demanding employees do more with less -- may be the biggest reason why many of those nursing home negligence lawsuits get filed in the first place.