What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

When your loved one is in a nursing home, you certainly expect him or her to get the best care possible. Every licensed nursing home should hire only qualified employees to deliver a high standard of treatment. If, however, you find any reason to suspect abuse, you need to take action to substantiate and stop any alleged or perceived abuse. Here are some things you can do to protect your loved one in a nursing home setting:

Take Note

If you suspect your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, take meticulous notes of any injuries you see, anything your loved one mentions about possible abuse, and strange behavior by nursing home staff. Some signs of abuse include, as mentioned before, injuries; staff not allowing you to visit your loved one, or delaying the visit; obvious neglect of hygiene; sudden change in weight; unresponsiveness. Questioning your loved one is a good place to start, but be aware that victims may not acknowledge the abuse out of fear of retribution or out of loyalty to the nursing home. You should bring your observations and concerns to nursing home management, who are required to investigate and address the claims.

Stay Calm

It is very important to stay calm and be rational about it. Losing your temper and getting mad at the nurses, staff, and everyone in the nursing home will not bring about a good outcome. For the sake of your loved ones and yourself, maintain your composure in your attempts to find solutions and figure out whether your suspicion is triggered by any real cause. You can ask questions of the people in charge of the nursing home regarding the situations and expect them to explain. Also, you will have to discuss your suspicion with your loved one, in private. In case your suspicion is proven, you will probably have to take legal action.

File a Complaint

You can file a complaint against the nursing home to the certification and licensing branch of the state health department. However, it may take up to ten working days before an inspector takes action to visit the nursing home. Also, the nursing home will not be notified about the visit. If the inspector finds that your complaint is indeed substantiated, a citation will be issued against the nursing home.

Pursue Legal Actions

If the abuse is substantiated, it’s necessary to take legal action. Before you file a lawsuit, take time to consult a lawyer regarding your situations since some cases can be resolved even without a lawsuit within a few months. You must understand that every case is different, and it is always complex when it comes to medical legal issues. By consulting a lawyer, you can ask for guidance on how to proceed with legal action properly on behalf of your loved one, who may be incapacitated.

While a nursing home is generally perceived as the most proper place for your loved one to be due to medical conditions, some of them are merely profit-driven, and neglect is a quite common problem. Nursing home abuse is not only about noticeable physical injuries, but it can be in various forms of conditions such as malnutrition, dehydration, dropped patients, food poisoning, fractures, neglect, etc. If your suspicion is strongly supported by evidence, taking legal action will benefit not only your loved one, but also all residents of the nursing home in question.