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5 Things to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is more common than you think. Between 1999 and 2001, nearly one-third of all nursing home facilities received citations for violations that could cause harm.
In many cases, the abusers in these cases are family members. Other perpetrators include partners, in-home caregivers, adult children and spouses. But nursing homes are also a significant source of abuse and neglect.
About 7% of complaints against nursing homes were related to long-term care facilities. Neglect, exploitation and abuse were the most common complaints.
Nursing home abuse victims have a 300% greater risk of death compared to non-abused individuals.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering abuse or neglect at a nursing home facility, it's important to act quickly. Here's what to do if you suspect abuse.1. Know the Signs
Signs of nursing home abuse are not easy to spot. Victims are often afraid to speak out, making matters worse.
According to Bogdan Martinovich, it is important to recognize signs of physical abuse and differentiate those from wounds caused by treatment or accident. He gives many examples on what to look out for such as severe skin tears and bruising. Another example is looking at the severity and shape of the burn to try to determine if it is from hot coffee or other accident or a malicious act like a cigarette on the skin.
Knowing and understanding the signs of abuse is the first and most important thing. Being able to recognize the signs will allow you to move forward with your claim.2. Gather Information
If the situation is not an emergency, take some time to gather as much information as you can to support your case.
- Take photos of the injuries or conditions of concern
- Gather medical records
- Speak to other residents and caregivers
The above-listed signs may be an indication of abuse, but they can also be the result of something else entirely. It is important to get all of the facts before stepping forward with allegations.3. Report Your Suspicions
The next step is to file a complaint with the state agency that regulates nursing homes. This will initiate an official investigation.
Use the state resources page of the National Center on Elder Abuse to determine the appropriate authorities to report to. There may be a hotline, or you may have several contact methods to choose from, including websites and addresses.4. Get an Attorney
Next, talk to an attorney who is familiar with nursing home neglect and abuse and has represented victims of abuse.
It's important to act quickly if you plan to take action against the nursing home, as each state has a limit on when complaints can be filed.
An attorney will ensure that the lawsuit is filed on time and will represent your best interests.5. Find a New Facility for Your Loved One
If the nursing home does not take action to address the issue and your concerns are substantiated, have your loved one removed from the facility and brought to a place where they can receive the care they need.
The safety of your loved one is of the utmost importance, so ensure they are placed in a facility that will receive the care they deserve.
More information and guide on elder financial abuse and exploitation, which highlights what are the top elder financial exploitation, how important it is to be aware of the current threats and how to deal with them.