What to Do if You Notice Nursing Home Abuse

Abuse in nursing homes and assisted living communities is on the rise. Most people do not know what to do when faced with this situation. Consequently, only a few of them are handled appropriately and even fewer are reported to the relevant authorities. In this post, we have highlighted six steps you can take if you notice or suspect an abuse of a resident.

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

If you have a loved one in an elderly care facility, it is important to look for the following signs of abuse:

  • Bed Sores
  • Bruises
  • Change in behavior
  • Loss of weight
  • Bleeding wounds
  • Unexplained changes in the Will or Power of Attorney
  • Withdrawal from social contact

Here Are Six Steps To Take If You Notice Any Of The Above

1. Take notes

Some signs of nursing home abuse fade away over time. The process of getting justice may also take some time. Keep proper evidence of the abuse by taking pictures, videos, and audio records. If this is not allowed, then get permission from relevant authorities.

2. Speak to the victim

The victim needs to know you still care. Not talking about your concerns can make them think you are indifferent to their wellbeing. However, do not expect much information from such interrogations. Many seniors suffer memory lapse and might not be able to remember the cause of their wounds or bruises. The nature of the abuse may make it embarrassing or too traumatizing to discuss. Additionally, they may be afraid of any repercussions from their tormentor.

3. Speak to the supervisor or the one in charge

Injuries resulting from unhygienic conditions and negligence may be sorted out by speaking to the supervisor or manager of the facility. Request an explanation and if possible, propose a solution. Do not make the situation worse by being combative and try to remain calm and professional. If the answer is not sufficient or the abuse continues, then it is time to move to step six.

4. Report to relevant authorities

For some kinds of abuse, it is safer to go to the authorities directly. If you do not know the appropriate body in your state, you can visit the National Center on Elder Abuse or National Council on Aging websites to find the Adult Protective Services agency in your state. Or you can contact Eldercare Locator, a federal government entity, by telephone at 1-800-677-1116 and they will refer you to a local agency that can help. You should also contact the patient’s physician to let them know of the suspected abuse. If the abuse is life-threatening, call 911.

5. Relocate the patient

If there is sufficient evidence of abuse, the best option is to relocate the patient. It might not solve the psychological trauma but it will keep them from the tormentor. Many nursing home abuse incidents have become more violent after being reported to the authorities. Remember to choose the new home carefully.

6. Hire an attorney

Once you have notified the authorities, it is wise to hire an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. The attorney will help you determine the person responsible for the abuse and ensure they are held accountable. In case there is a need for financial compensation, an experienced lawyer will ensure your claim is sufficient for the damage caused.