Discovering that a loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse can be distressing and alarming. One must take immediate steps to ensure their safety and well-being while addressing the issue.
It is helpful to know the proper steps to take when faced with such a situation.
Recognize the signs
The first step is to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse. Be vigilant for physical, emotional or financial indicators that something is amiss. These signs may include unexplained injuries, sudden behavioral changes, neglect-related health issues or missing personal belongings. Because 2/3 of nursing home staff admit to committing abuse every year, it is important to keep an eye out.
Gather evidence to support your case. Document injuries, take pictures and maintain a detailed record of incidents, including dates, times, locations and people involved. This documentation will be valuable when addressing the situation.
Talk to your loved one
Engage in a conversation with your loved one, expressing your concern and willingness to help. Listen to their experiences and emotions without judgment. Encourage them to share any details about the abuse.
Report the abuse to the appropriate authorities, such as the nursing home management and regulatory agencies responsible for overseeing elder care facilities. Provide them with the evidence you’ve gathered and any information from your loved one.
Seek medical attention
Ensure that your loved one receives a thorough medical examination. This will address any physical injuries and document their condition as evidence of neglect or abuse.
Explore moving your loved one to a different facility or providing in-home care if necessary. Ensure their immediate safety and well-being while addressing the situation.
Consult with an ombudsman
Contact a long-term care ombudsman in your area. Ombudsmen are advocates for nursing home residents and can guide in addressing abuse, navigating the legal process and seeking resolution.
Offer support for your loved one
Offer emotional support to your loved one during this challenging time. Ensure they receive the necessary counseling or therapy to cope with the emotional trauma caused by the abuse.
While finding out a loved one may be experiencing abuse is difficult, you can help ensure that the authorities handle the situation quickly. Your actions can help keep your loved ones safe.