Virginia Nursing Home Lawyer | Neglect Abuse Complaint Attorney

Our local news today lead off with a nightmare headline – Man in hospital after shooting at local Retirement Community.

It’s a nightmare because families across the region worried whether or not the person shot was a resident, and when they learned it was a visitor to the long term care facility who had been seen brandishing a weapon, they wondered to themselves how on earth someone could get into the retirement community after hours with a gun.

Thankfully, it appears no residents were injured and the shots were fired by law enforcement there to protect the residents and staff.

Sadly, we are often contacted by families whose loved ones have been injured by physical assault in long term care communities.

Many communities have residents that are aggressive because of medical conditions (dementia, traumatic brain injury, etc.) and or have staff with criminal tendencies that have not been properly screened. Our office has handled numerous cases where residents have been sexually and physically assaulted by other patients and or staff. And the family always asks, how such a horrible event could really happen to an elderly loved one?

It happens when facilities do not properly screen their staff.

It happens when facilities do not properly monitor their patients.

It happens when patients with aggressive tendencies are allowed to remain in communities despite their danger to others.

It happens when facilities put dollars ahead of patient care.

It happens when not enough staff is hired to properly monitor patients.

While it seems this week’s headline reflects a facility responding quickly and appropriately, we have seen many cases where families are not as lucky.






I get it.

I get it because I’ve been there.

You have a loved one who is disabled or older and you are states away. You can’t be there to visit daily, check on home health, interview aides, complain to the nursing home administrator or tell your loved one in person they are loved.

When something goes wrong, you hop on a plane, you get there, solve the problem, miss work, miss your family, do your best, make decisions, hold hands, pray and fly home. Then it happens again, and again, and again.

Many experts are writing on this issue – including great suggestions on how to be a better long distance caregiver.

  • visit more often
  • make calls
  • keep notes
  • be an advocate
  • build support communities
  • ask questions

It sounds good, but how do you know what questions to ask? If you have never been down this road before, how can you prepare?

Call our office today for your FREE copy of ltc care.our book on Long Term in Care in Virginia. We provide lists of questions to ask the assisted living facility, nursing home or long term care company. We also include online resources to investigate providers, compare companies etc.

Need a good place to start your out of state caregiving of a loved one in Virginia - this free book is the place to start: 540-985-0098.




So one plus of having billions of our tax dollars going to pay for Granny’s nursing home stay (Medicare pays first 100 days typically and then if Granny qualifies, Medicaid pays the remainder) is that the feds keep a close eye on their money.

And last year, the feds released a four year study that was being done in skilled nursing facilities across the United States on adverse events that were occurring and injuring our seniors.

The entire report is available online –, but I did want to focus on a few of the most surprising findings:

  • An estimated 22 percent of Medicare beneficiaries experienced adverse events during their SNF 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.
  • This equates to $2.8 billion spent on hospital treatment for harm caused in SNFs in FY 2011.

Read that again:

  • Over 1/2 of the injuries were preventable.
  • Almost 1/4 of all residents experienced at least 1 adverse event.
  • The cause of these harms (broken hips, head injuries, wounds, etc.) were caused by STAFFING – inadequate monitoring, failure to provide care etc.
  • These preventable harms cost you the tax payer over $2.5 Billion dollars every year.

Now, you don’t have to be a bleeding heart and care about sweet Granny’s health to be bothered by this. YOU the tax payer are being billed billions every year for completely preventable injuries suffered by our seniors.

And since the feds believe these injuries are caused by staffing issues, wouldn’t it make sense for EVERYONE to require certain staffing levels in nursing homes? After all – its not just regulation on private business… its smart investment that leads to savings of tax dollars being spent.

So why then, did our General Assembly in Virginia refuse to vote on minimum staffing levels in nursing homes?


I won’t share my opinion on that. I will however ask you to review the government’s report and make your own determination as to whether it was a wise decision for our citizens and tax payers.



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