It is hard enough to have to send an elderly family member to a nursing home. Having to worry about the risk of nursing home neglect or abuse is something that no one wants to face.
Unfortunately, nursing home neglect and abuse occur. The key is to recognize abuse and to know what to do when those signs are present.
Staying Involved in Your Loved One’s Care
The best deterrent for neglect and abuse is to be actively involved with the family member in the nursing home. Take the time to visit frequently, get to know the caregivers involved with the elderly family member, participate in physical therapy, and make yourself known to management.
Be Aware of the Signs of Neglect or Abuse
When cognitive functions have begun to deteriorate for a family member, it may be necessary to dig deeper to detect signs of abuse or neglect. Watch for these signs:
- Bruising or bleeding
- Bed sores, cuts, or other wounds
- Clothing or sheets that are bloody
- A rapid change in weight
- Hair loss
- Poor hygiene, smell of feces or urine, soiled clothing
- Unresponsive behavior or withdrawal
- Missing personal items
- Suspicious financial transactions
- Inability to visit alone with the family member
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse is Taking Place
Suspecting that the family member may be the victim of neglect or abuse is serious. The elderly person may not know how to report abuse. The following are steps are often necessary to address the issue:
- Contact the nursing home management with a detailed list of neglect or abuse incidents.
- If the situation continues after notification of management, file a complaint with the appropriate state agency. This could be health and human services or a hospital review board.
- Contact a qualified nursing home abuse attorney.
Over time, elderly family members may become frailer, more confused, and easier prey for dishonest people. It is often up to others to protect the safety and interests of vulnerable patients who are unable to speak up for themselves.
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When a nursing home falls under suspicion of neglecting or abusing these family members, it may help to contact an attorney who understands the needs of the elderly and the laws surrounding elder abuse.
If you have a family member or loved one who has become a victim of nursing home abuse, contact the law offices of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk at 1-800-753-5203 for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.