Virginia Beach Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Virginia Beach Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
As seniors age and become more vulnerable, they may need help to preserve their quality of life. Advances in medicine have made it more likely for people to live long enough to enter a nursing home or assisted living facility. After spending a lifetime working and taking care of their families, our elders deserve legal protection. Additionally, patients deserve to be treated with the utmost standard of care. When doctors or other health care physicians breach that standard of care, patients can suffer injuries or even death.
If family members suspect that their loved one in long-term care is being neglected or abused, they should contact a Virginia Beach nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible.
What Is the Cost of Long-Term Care in Virginia?
Paying for the cost of long-term care is a key concern when it comes to maintaining quality of life. In Virginia, the current price of living in a nursing home typically ranges from $3,500 to $12,000 per month. It is easy to see that just a few months of care can consume a lifetime of hard-earned savings. Healthy people often neglect to plan ahead for long-term care, although insurance companies estimate that 70 percent of Americans will enter a nursing home at some point in their lives. As time goes on, more families will need to confront these costs. The number of Americans over the age of 65 has increased by more than a third during the past decade alone, according to the U.S. Census B.
Does Medicaid Pay for Nursing Home Care in Virginia?
Several different types of Medicaid programs are available to pay for the cost of long-term care for Virginia residents. However, each program has a different set of eligibility requirements, so not all senior citizens can take advantage of Medicaid funds. Eligibility requirements include the following:
Assets: If a person’s income or assets exceed a certain limit, they may not be eligible for Medicaid assistance. Assets may include stocks, bonds, savings accounts, checking accounts, and real estate.
Income: In addition to wages, income may include pensions, Social Security, Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), stock dividends, IRA withdrawals, and alimony payments.
Marital Status: If a person is married, their eligibility may be affected by their spouse’s income and assets, depending on the Medicaid program they apply to. Some Medicaid programs in Virginia will pay only for institutional or nursing home costs; others cover home and community-based services. Medicaid for blind and disabled persons is typically guaranteed for home or adult day care provided the person meets eligibility requirements.
Functional Ability of the Person Applying: Applying for Medicaid can be complicated. However, Virginia has a five-year look-back period regarding assets. That means that stocks, bonds, real estate, or other assets sold for less than their value in the last five years may not be exempt from the asset limit, making the person ineligible for Medicaid funds. At the same time, the laws in Virginia offer other pathways for persons over age 65 to qualify for Medicaid funds, even if they do not meet the asset and income tests. Medicaid planning can help seniors who are over-income or over-asset pursue avenues for Medicaid eligibility.
Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect in Virginia Beach
Unfortunately, too many nursing home residents in this country are subjected to neglect and abuse. Types of abuse include the following:
- Emotional: This may include being subjected to harassment, threats, or insults.
- Hygienic: A lack of clean bedclothes may indicate that the resident is not obtaining help going to the bathroom.
- Medical: Is the resident receiving all their medications on time?
- Nutritional: Weight loss and other medical problems may be symptoms of malnutrition.
- Physical: This may include the use of restraints, as well as inflicting bodily harm.
- Sexual: Symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases may indicate past sexual assault.
Neglect often happens because long-term care facilities are short-staffed. In fact, recent studies have shown that approximately 70 percent of nursing homes are less than fully staffed. In other cases, abuse may be willful and even violent.
The Nursing Home Reform Act
In 1987, Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act, which includes a Bill of Rights to ensure that each resident receives a guaranteed standard of care, protecting them from abuse, isolation, and improper medical treatment. This law applies to all residents in any Medicare or Medicaid-certified nursing home. It is the nursing home’s responsibility to inform each resident of their rights in writing when they are admitted, in a language they can understand. These rights include the following:
- Freedom from discrimination
- Freedom from abuse and neglect
- The ability to exercise their rights as a U.S. citizen
- Access to proper medical care
- Being treated with respect
- Freedom from restraints when not medically necessary
- Protection against involuntary transfer or discharge
- The ability to participate in activities and form resident groups
- Freedom to spend time with visitors
- Ability to manage their own money
- Access to information on services and fees
- Privacy and property
- Freedom to file complaints without retribution
Despite these laws, abuse occurs in U.S. nursing homes.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Family members of nursing home residents should be alert for signs of all types of abuse, which may include the following:
- Broken bones or fractures
- Broken eyeglasses
- Cracked lips or other signs of dehydration
- Inability to get out of bed
- Weight loss
It is considered abuse if a staff member willfully inflicts harm or intentionally neglects a resident’s cries for food, medicine, or assistance. Bed sores, in particular, are among the most common symptoms of nursing home neglect. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 10 percent of nursing home residents in the U.S. developed bedsores at one time or another. This painful condition develops when nursing home residents do not get the help they need to turn over in bed, sit in a chair, or get up and walk.
If abuse or neglect is suspected, family members should document the problem and report it right away to the nursing home administrator. Nurses and doctors should also be alerted. The next step is to seek the services of a qualified lawyer to ensure that abuse or neglect does not happen again and that perpetrators are held accountable.
Anchor Legal Group, PLLC Helps Clients With Various Legal Needs
Our senior citizens deserve to live out their golden years in a supportive, safe environment. At Anchor Legal Group, PLLC, we view it as a special privilege to deliver the best possible outcome to victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. We invite you to learn more about how our legal team can help you by contacting us online or by calling us today at 757-LAW-0000 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore, Virginia.