If your loved one is being cared for in a nursing home, it’s completely normal to have concerns. With all the troubling stories that come out of nursing homes regarding abuse, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your loved one.
Nursing home abuse typically occurs when the staff is inadequately trained and lack the patience necessary to provide effective care to patients. It’s common for these staff members to lash out in violence toward residents or terribly lack to meet their needs. In addition, aggressive residents may also afflict other seniors if the staff doesn’t adequately mediate.
Read on to learn what you should do if you’re concerned that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home.
Detecting Nursing Home Abuse
If your loved one resides in a nursing home, there are some things you’ll need to watch out for to make sure they aren’t being abused. The following are some common warning signs of nursing home abuse:
- Bruising near genitals
- Negative shifts in your loved one’s behaviors or emotions
- Peculiar financial transactions
- Obscure sicknesses or infections
- Observe any changes in behavior
- Take images and/or videos of their injuries
- Interview witnesses of those around when the abuse took place
- Interview your loved one directly
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
If you are fairly certain that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, there are a few different ways that you may report the abuse. People who work in the following professions are legally required to report nursing home abuse:
- Social workers
- Healthcare professionals of all kinds
In addition to telling the aforementioned people, you may also report nursing home abuse through the following avenues:
- Local police
- Eldercare locator
- National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)
- Medical experts
- Long-term care ombudsman
Reporting nursing home abuse to your local police is the most crucial and fastest way to do it. Call 911 to get immediate help for the issue. It’s a good idea to do this for two reasons:
- Medical professionals are able to treat the elder right away.
- The police are made aware that the nursing home hasn’t been providing residents with adequate care.
However, keep in mind that this method is best used when your elder is in immediate danger. If that’s not the case in your situation, using another reporting method may be more appropriate.
Using Eldercare Locator, you’re able to gain access to senior advocacy services in your area. All you need to do is enter your area’s ZIP code and the site will provide you with all the closest resource centers and government agencies that are related to the safety of seniors.
You may access Eldercare Locator through their website, or by giving them a call at 1-800-677-1116.
National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)
While the NCEA doesn’t provide investigations regarding nursing home abuse reports, it does provide advice regarding how to file reports along with suggestions on how to handle eight separate issues of nursing home abuse and neglect.
It’s possible for a doctor or another medical professional to assist in determining whether your loved one’s injuries were caused by accident or were done intentionally to inflict abuse.
It’s common for people not to listen to elders’ complaints in nursing homes, especially if they have a disease that affects their brain, like Alzheimer’s or dementia. However, doctors and other medical professionals have the tools and knowledge necessary to be able to say conclusively whether the damage to your elder was done on accident, or if someone else inflicted harm upon them.
There are serious legal consequences to harming elders. For example, an Alzheimer’s patient suffered a fractured hand as well as severe cuts to the face, nose, kneecap, and arm during a three-week nursing home stay.
The doctor in the emergency room didn’t believe the harm was caused by the patient scratching herself with a coat hanger, which was the alleged story. After examining her, the doctor found that the damage had been intentionally inflicted, which resulted in a nursing home staff member being sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman
Ombudsmen are advocates for nursing home residents since they assist them in voicing their complaints with the facility or the staff. You may locate a Long-Term Care Ombudsman program near you using the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center.
We’re Here to Help
If your elder has endured abuse in a nursing home facility, our team at Benoit Law Firm, PLLC is here to help. Our attorneys have handled many nursing home abuse cases in the past, and we can help you with yours, too. Don’t hesitate to contact our skilled team with your case right away.