Elder Abuse in VirginiaAuthor: Portner & Shure
Nursing home abuse also called elder abuse, is a negligent or deliberate act on the part of nursing home caregivers to physically or psychologically harm nursing home residents.
Virginia Code Section 18.2-369(A) states it is unlawful for any responsible person to abuse or neglect any incapacitated adult. Any responsible person who abuses or neglects an incapacitated adult and the abuse or neglect does not result in serious bodily injury or disease to the incapacitated adult is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Any responsible person who is convicted of a second or subsequent offense under subsection (A) is guilty of a Class 6 felony.
Under Virginia Code Section 18.2-369(B) any responsible person who abuses or neglects an incapacitated adult and the abuse or neglect results in serious bodily injury or disease to the incapacitated adult is guilty of a Class 4 felony. Any responsible person who abuses or neglects an incapacitated adult in violation of subsection (b) and the abuse or neglect results in the death of the incapacitated adult is guilty of a Class 3 felony.
The code defines abuse as "knowing and willful conduct that causes physical injury or pain," and neglect as "the knowing and willful failure by a responsible person to provide treatment, care, goods or services which results in injury to the health or endangers the safety of an incapacitated adult."
In February of 2014, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report entitled 'Adverse Events in Skilled Nursing Facilities: National Incidence Among Medicare Beneficiaries' which detailed hospital adverse events from 2008 to 2012. In the report, OIG noted a few of the following points:
- An estimated 22 percent of Medicare beneficiaries experienced adverse events during their SNF (skilled nursing facilities) stays.
- An additional 11 percent of Medicare beneficiaries experienced temporary harm events during their SNF stays.
- Physician reviewers determined that 59 percent of these adverse events and temporary harm events were clearly or likely preventable.
- They attributed much of the preventable harm to substandard treatment, inadequate resident monitoring, and failure or delay of necessary care.
- Over half of the residents who experienced harm returned to a hospital for treatment, with an estimated cost to Medicare of $208 million in August 2011.
Neglect is the most common form of abuse in nursing homes. Neglect can be intentional or unintentional and results when the caretaker fails to make sure the resident's needs are met. As part of the care they offer, nursing homes have a duty to treat their residents' underlying health conditions. When the nursing home is no longer capable of providing adequate treatment on site, they have a duty to take the resident to a medical facility that can give them the treatment they require.
At Portner & Shure, P.A., our nursing home neglect lawyers have years of experience handling nursing home neglect and elder abuse cases in the Baltimore and Washington, DC metro area. No amount of compensation can ever pay for the physical and emotional turmoil caused by such abuse, but it is important to pursue the case to prevent the abuse from continuing or happening to someone else. If you or your loved one has suffered from the negligence of a nursing home or other similar facility, call the elder abuse attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. today.