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How Can Adult Protective Services Help in a Nursing Home Abuse Case?

December 28, 2022 | Personal Injury,Safety

If you have discovered that your loved one has been abused in a nursing home, you need to take steps as soon as possible to ensure their safety. In this state, Adult Protective Services falls under the umbrella of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. Here, we want to discuss how Adult Protective Services can help in a nursing home abuse case situation.

How the Department of Health and Human Resources can Help

Adult Protective Services (APS) assists elderly individuals in West Virginia and is responsible for investigating reports of adult abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. APS is designed to serve vulnerable adults, improve their safety and well-being, and help with various resources.

APS is available to individuals regardless of their income, so long as they are 18 years of age or older or emancipated minors if the individual meets the definition of “vulnerable” or is inside of a nursing home or other type of facility and if the individual is reported to be a victim of abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, or is currently experiencing an emergency.

APS is responsible for:

  • Investigating any reports of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation
  • Conducting investigations in a person’s home or a residential facility
  • Providing appropriate support and services based on the conclusions of the investigation

Mandated Reporters of Adult Abuse or Neglect

Anyone may report suspected abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of an adult in West Virginia or any emergency situation involving an assisted living facility resident. These reports must be made to the state Department of Health and Human Services as soon as possible, but no more than 48 hours after suspected abuse or neglect circumstances.

Under West Virginia Code §9-6-9, various persons are considered mandated reporters of adult abuse and neglect. This includes:

  • Any licensed medical, mental health, or dental professional
  • Religious healers
  • Social service workers
  • Christian Science practitioners
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Any employee of a nursing home or other type of residential facility

Mandated reporters with an alleged violation involving a vulnerable adult or resident in a nursing facility are required by law to fill out the APS Mandatory Reporting Form no more than 48 hours after they suspected abuse or neglect.

Any person making a report in good faith is immune from criminal or civil liability under West Virginia law.

Working With an Attorney

If you are a vulnerable adult that has been abused or if you are working to assist a vulnerable adult who has been abused or exploited, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible. These cases can be complicated, but those who have been wronged should be able to recover justice and compensation.

These claims often turn into law enforcement investigations, but an attorney can help with the civil lawsuit process. Vulnerable adults need legal assistance to help investigate the incident, handle all communication with other parties, and negotiate a fair settlement for compensation. This compensation can include coverage of any medical bills resulting from the abuse or neglect, reimbursement of any nursing home expenses, the cost of relocating to a new facility, legal fees, and more.