When you’ve made the difficult decision to place your loved one in a nursing home, you want to be assured that he or she will be healthy, happy, and safe. Unfortunately, not all individuals who work in nursing homes have the best interests of elderly persons in mind.
As older people become more vulnerable in a nursing home setting, since you’re not there to keep a close eye on them, they will be more susceptible to possibly experiencing abuse at the hands of the staff that are employed there. Here is what to do if you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused at a nursing home.
Focus On The Facts
If you believe that your loved one is in danger, call 911 immediately. Make arrangements for a medical assessment, and for your family member to have another place to stay. If it is not an emergency, gather information so you can prove that they are being abused.
Ask to see your loved one’s records, and take pictures of any visible injuries. In many cases, asking an elderly person about abuse is not the best approach. Your relative may be afraid to speak out, especially if they have been abused by a caregiver. At its worst, caregivers may intimidate or threaten elderly persons to keep them silent.
Talk to the nursing home administrator about your concerns. Note if this person takes your concerns seriously, and is willing to investigate. If you end up removing your family member, prepare to take legal action.
Not only does your loved one deserve justice, but a lawsuit can reduce the risk of other residents experiencing similar abuse in the future. Contact the agency in charge of your state’s nursing home system, and ask them to conduct an official investigation.
Talk to a personal injury attorney about filing a lawsuit. You can find an attorney who specializes in elderly care issues, or specifically deals with nursing home abuse. The more information that you have about your loved one’s situation, the better your chance will be of winning the case.
Depending on the situation, you may file a lawsuit against a specific caregiver, or the nursing home in general. As the point is to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions, follow your attorney’s advice.
An experienced attorney will know which approach is appropriate for your particular situation. They can deal with the legal aspects, while you focus on a better environment for your family member.
What Is Considered Nursing Home Abuse?
Abuse occurs when someone does something that is harmful to your loved one, or fails to do what they should do to keep your family member healthy and happy. There are many different types of abuse that can occur in nursing homes.
Abuse and neglect can come in the forms of bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, improper or chemical restraints, withholding medications, giving improper medications, unwanted sexual contact, physical abuse, and threats. Financial abuse can also occur.
Abuse in nursing homes often occurs from staff members who are in a position of trust. It can also occur from other residents or visitors. No incident of abuse or neglect is minor enough to disregard. If you suspect abuse, learn the facts, and be prepared to take action.
If you notice any unusual changes in your loved one, find out the reasons why. It could be a personality change, or a change in their appearance or behavior. Perhaps the staff does not want you to see your relative when you come to visit, or you are denied access to their medical records or banking information.
Never let your suspicions pass without investigating. There could be a simple explanation, or they could be signs of a serious problem. When your family member resides in a nursing home, trust is essential.
If someone has violated that trust, they must be held accountable. For the sake of your own loved one, as well as others in the facility, never disregard any signs of abuse.