The idea that someone at a nursing home could be abusing your loved one or taking advantage of their frailty is sickening and shocking. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect are a common occurrence in care facilities throughout the United States. If you suspect something is wrong, it is imperative that you take action right away. By law, the management personnel of the facility are required to address your concerns regarding the care of your loved one and the signs of abuse should never be ignored.
If you observe any of the tell-tale signs of neglect or abuse, ask your loved one about it. Ask them to explain any odd bruises, sores or cuts. If they are unkempt, ask them why. Sometimes patients are mentally incapable of recognizing the problem or communicating the issue to their loved ones. In other cases, they may be too scared to report the abuse due to the fear of retribution from their abuser.
Write down all of your suspicions and also write down how personnel and management treat those suspicions when you bring them up. If personnel will not let you be alone with your loved one or they refuse visitation to your loved one, speak to the supervisor on staff right away to find out why. Document everything from the moment you suspect something is wrong – including injuries, date/time they were noted, your loved one’s behavior and appearance, etc.
Contact 911 for Immediate Danger
If the abuse is life-threatening or obvious and your loved one is in need of emergency care, contact 911 right away. This will not only save their life, but can prevent the abuser from having time to come up with a story or leave the premises.
Verify the Injuries and Stories
It is not uncommon for individuals being cared for in a nursing home to trip, slip or injure themselves. Debilitating illnesses and weakening bodies can lead to injuries that are not caused by abuse. Take photos and gather your loved one’s medical records. Then, have them seen by a medical professional. The physician can verify if those injuries were caused on purpose or if they appear to be accidents.
Remove Your Loved One from the Facility
After you have notified the nursing home of your abuse or neglect suspicions, remove your loved one from the facility. Have new accommodations ready and be sure to develop a long-term care plan with the new facility so that your loved one is adequately cared for.
Speak With an Attorney to File a Complaint
While you will need to file an official police report and contact your state’s department of social services, you may want to speak to an attorney first. An attorney can advise you of your rights and help you collect necessary evidence to prove abuse or neglect took place. Furthermore, an attorney can hold the nursing home liable for their actions and any damages that they may have caused. If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, do not hesitate to contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. online or call 1-888-575-6410 to explore your options.