What To Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse On Your Senior Loved One
No one wants to think that their senior loved one could be the victim of abuse. Still, elder abuse—particularly nursing home abuse—is a serious and growing problem across America today. So, it would help if you stay vigilant about possible signs of mistreatment whenever you visit an elderly family member in case something untoward has occurred. This article discusses steps you can take if you suspect nursing home abuse.
Steps to Take Against Nursing Home Abuse
Most individuals are unprepared to accept the reality that elder abuse can occur, particularly in nursing homes. Given that it's a sensitive issue, most people avoid talking about it. Typically, people believe that nursing home residents are constantly protected.
Unfortunately, that's not always true. In fact, nursing home abuse cases are more common than you can imagine. And as such, you must be vigilant if your family member is living in these facilities.
If you suspect nursing home abuse on your senior loved one, you must act immediately to ensure their safety and well-being. Taking immediate action is the best way to protect your family from more harm. You must understand that a nursing home resident is already frail and vulnerable, and any delays may worsen injuries and lead to fatal results.
If you suspect that nursing home abuse has happened, these are vital steps you should take to protect your senior family members.
If you think your loved one is facing imminent or life-threatening danger, call 911 immediately. It's the fastest way to take action if you suspect neglect or abuse.
Also, calling 911 allows the victim to get medical care right away. This should prevent the worsening of injuries.
Furthermore, calling the emergency line will allow the police to investigate the incident. After this, they can hold the facility and its staff criminally accountable.
While making these reports, remember that a 911 call is only necessary if a nursing home resident is in immediate danger. However, if they're not, there are other means you can report your suspicions.
Note Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many forms. You must recognize the signs to protect your loved one and get them the help they need.
Some common types of nursing home abuse are physical, emotional, financial, sexual, and medical.
You need to know the warning signs indicating that a resident is neglected or abused. These can include the following:
- Unexplained sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Unexplained injuries like bruises, welts, broken bones, or cuts
- Sudden changes in behavior, such as withdrawal from activities or social interactions
- Poor hygiene and bedsores
- Medication errors or inappropriate administration of medications
- Repeated complaints about care provider attitudes or actions
- Refusal to let visitors see their loved ones alone
- Unusual and unexplained financial transactions
If you note any of these signs, take action immediately. Talk to your family member's doctor directly and report the suspected abuse to authorities. You may also want to speak with other residents and staff members who work at the facility. Ask them if they have noticed any signs of abuse or neglect.
Surveillance footage, medical records, and photographs are helpful when building a case against the perpetrator. If possible, try to document instances of abuse with enough specificity to provide a clear picture of the events. Evidence will come in handy if it reaches the courtroom.
Furthermore, try to reach out to other family members or friends nearby who may be able to give additional accounts of abuse. Their testimonies can prove invaluable. While gathering evidence is not always easy, fighting against nursing home abuse and protecting those in their senior years is critical.
Contact a Nursing Home Ombudsman
Taking steps to prevent and detect nursing home abuse can help ensure that elders are safe and well-cared for. Contacting a Nursing Home Ombudsman is a great way to do this. Ombudsmen monitor facilities and advocate for residents, upholding their rights while providing a positive living environment. Every nursing home is required by law to have such a program.
Generally, they answer questions, listen to concerns, and provide advice, recommendations, referrals, and other assistance. Talking to an ombudsman assures a resident's needs are addressed individually and across the board. It also reveals signs that may point to more serious issues related to mistreatment or neglect. Thus, it’s an invaluable resource for those seeking justice against nursing home abuse.
Consult A Lawyer
If you suspect that a loved one may be a victim of nursing home abuse, then you would want to consult a lawyer skilled in elder law. Such a lawyer can provide legal advice on how best to proceed. They will also know the relevant laws and regulations governing nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
In addition, seeking legal representation can help protect your loved one's rights by putting experienced advocates and investigators during the lawsuit. Although this step may come with certain costs associated with hiring an attorney, it's undoubtedly worth those resources when taking on abusers who may otherwise remain immune from accountability and justice.
As unfortunate as it is, elder abuse is a severe problem affecting many elderly individuals. Thus, it’s vital to recognize the warning signs. If you suspect that your elderly loved one is being abused, you must gather evidence and keep detailed records of what has happened. Seek guidance from other family members or guardians of your elderly loved one, consult an attorney, and report any significant incidents of suspected nursing home abuse. Never feel afraid to speak out against elder abuse. There's nothing wrong with wanting to keep your elderly loved one safe.