4 Steps to Take Right Away if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

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When you admit a loved one to a nursing home, you expect them to receive quality care. After all, that is the purpose of nursing homes; to provide a level and quality of care that the resident’s family is unable to give. Many nursing homes provide high-quality care to their residents, but sometimes employees do not take good care of the residents, which can result in nursing home abuse cases.

Patients in nursing homes who get mistreated, neglected, or receive subpar care may be victims of elder abuse. According to statistics, approximately 5 million elder abuse cases happen per year in the US. Nursing home staff have a responsibility to protect and care for their residents, and failure to do so constitutes a breach of duty, for which the nursing home may be held liable. 

Nursing home abuse happens due to many factors. These facilities typically have high staff turnover, and many facilities are understaffed. It is a stressful job, and employees are frequently overwhelmed and overworked. Unfortunately, some employees take their frustrations out on the residents. Inadequate training is another common issue that can lead to neglect and abuse.

If you have reason to believe a loved one is a victim of abuse, you must speak up on their behalf. Making an abuse complaint may be physically, cognitively, or emotionally difficult for many seniors, so never allow suspected abuse to go unnoticed. 

In this article, we highlighted four steps you need to take if you suspect a case of nursing home abuse.

Hire a lawyer  

If a family member or someone you know is a victim of nursing home abuse, they have a legal right to be protected. Under the law, they may also receive compensation. You may receive compensation as well, depending on your relationship with the victims. Reporting abuse and neglect is critical, but most facilities will not change unless formal legal action is taken that threatens their profit margins or ability to stay in business.

Hiring a nursing home neglect lawyer can be a critical step in holding the abuser accountable. A lawyer can seek justice through the civil courts, and a successful civil claim can result in monetary compensation for an abused victim.

Record the facts

If you suspect nursing home abuse, try to gather and document all relevant information that can be used as evidence if you need to file a claim. Discuss your concerns with the victim and the staff. Keep track of all conversation dates and times, and write down what was said. If necessary, seek medical attention to obtain proof. Don’t forget to take notes and be curious. 

Quality caregivers will not mind if you are respectful and reasonable in your questions. Make written notes of anything that appears to be wrong. Take pictures, get people’s names and job titles, and speak with coherent residents willing to talk with you and may have more information about the incident. Report the evidence to the nursing home administration and solve the case fast. However, if they don’t want to help you, report them to the authorities or hire a lawyer to obtain legal advice.

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Bring your concerns to the attention of the staff first

Sometimes, what you perceive as abuse may not be the case. Before taking any legal action, you should be willing to listen to the staff. If they are unable or unwilling to adequately explain the situation, you should consider asking for advice from an experienced lawyer. 

Nursing home administration should be able to explain any situation you suspect of abuse or neglect, whether it directly affects the victim or not. However, in many cases, a nursing home will go to great lengths to avoid liability for abuse. Even if your complaint goes unanswered, it is critical to use all available options when dealing with nursing home abuse.

Call the police

Contact authorities instantly if you notice a case of abuse or have a suspicion that a nursing home resident is in serious danger. For starters, file a complaint. If the abuser poses a risk to other residents, you may need to act sooner. Even in non-emergency situations, it is often best to ask for help from law enforcement. 

Final thoughts

If you have reason to believe a nursing home resident is suffering abuse, take action as soon as possible. The only way to stop abuse is to report it, especially if the abused residents cannot speak for themselves. Consulting a lawyer emphasizes the seriousness of the situation and helps in solving the case quickly. Additionally, your fast actions will improve the quality of life for all residents of the facility.