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West Virginia enacts measures to prevent elder abuse and neglect

Authorities in West Virginia recently enacted new measures to protect the health and well being of elderly residents. Elder abuse and neglect is an unfortunate problem in nursing homes and care facilities, often occurring due to the negligence or other wrongdoing of a caregiver or employee. The new state program will require criminal background checks for those who seek employment in an extended care facility.

These new programs require applicants submit to a fingerprint check as well as a national background check. Those affected by this initiative are those who wish to work in any long-term care facility, which includes nursing homes, home health programs, hospice care providers and day care programs for adults. This legislation was approved by both legislative houses and was signed into law by the governor.

It is tragic and unacceptable when elderly West Virginia residents are harmed because of the actions or negligence of those charged with their health and safety. It is hoped that this new law will protect the elderly and prevent abuse, but tragic instances can still occur. In addition to direct physical abuse, nursing home residents and those requiring long-term care may be subjected to neglect, emotional abuse or even financial manipulation.

When families suspect that their loved one is the victim of elder abuse and neglect, it is advisable to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. With the proper help, families can advocate for the rights of a loved one, seeking to hold parties accountable for wrongdoing. When a family sees physical symptoms of abuse or neglect -- depression, bedsores and other signs -- a case evaluation can determine if legal recourse is an appropriate option.

Source: bdtonline.com, "Protecting the elderly: Background check program welcomed", Aug. 10, 2015

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