When an elderly person is unable to care for him or herself, a nursing home is often times the best solution. While most of these homes do whatever it takes to ensure the comfort and safety of residents, there are always a few bad apples that spoil the bunch. And in this case, it is more than a bad apple. It is a nursing home that feels it is okay to abuse and/or neglect residents.
How to Keep Your Loved One Safe
Understanding how to spot nursing home abuse and neglect is one of the first steps to keeping your loved one safe. Since private companies own most nursing homes, safety measures are oftentimes overlooked as a means of increasing profit. This oftentimes leads to poor hires, not enough staff, and as a result, neglect and abuse can occur.
Do you get the feeling that a loved one is being neglected by the nursing home in which they are living? Here are a few common indicators:
- Poor hygiene
- Unexplained falls
- Inappropriate care
- Untreated health concerns, such as bedsores
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Limited staff
- Medication errors
While these indicators do not necessarily always mean that neglect is occurring, it does mean that you should look further into the situation.
How to Report Suspicions of Nursing Home Abuse
It can feel scary and confusing when you believe that a loved one is being abused or neglected, making it difficult to know what steps to take. If nursing home abuse or neglect is a concern in your mind, the first thing you should do is take your loved one to another facility. Then, it is important to report suspicious treatment to ensure that other residents do not become a victim.
You can report the behavior to the following:
- Nursing home: One of the first places to report suspicions of nursing home abuse or neglect is to the management of the nursing home. This gives them the opportunity to remove the person in question from their position.
- The Department of Health: You can also report nursing home abuse or neglect to the Department of Health. You can report orally by phone, or with a written letter.
- Your local Ombudsman Office: There are numerous Ombudsman office’s throughout the state.
- Local police: If you are worried about the immediate safety of your loved one, then call the local police at 911.
Following your report, you can expect the appropriate department to open an investigation into the abuse or neglect. They will evaluate the evidence, as well as at witness statements. In the meantime, you might consider moving your loved one to a new facility, or home, if possible. You may have legal options available, which can help with recovering the funds you need for relocation.
It can also feel overwhelming keeping track of who and where to report instances of nursing home abuse or neglect. When you work with a lawyer, they will help you with reporting the abuse, as well as proving your case. Your family may be eligible for compensation for medical costs, rehabilitative fees, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse and can protect the rights of your loved one.