Families often move older adults into nursing homes to protect their standard of living and ensure that they receive the medical support they require given their personal needs. Unfortunately, nursing homes often struggle to provide the kind of care that their residents require. Many nursing homes don’t have enough staff on hand and may make poor choices about who they hire because they don’t offer competitive wages.
Family members may begin to suspect that a loved one has experienced elder abuse at a nursing home. The types of abuse range from psychological and emotional abuse to financial and physical abuse. What should family members do when they believe that a loved one has experienced abuse in a nursing home?
Document everything thoroughly
Simply having an awareness of questionable practices at a nursing home won’t help someone take action on behalf of their loved one. They need proof of what has occurred. From photographing injuries and getting copies of bank statements that show someone has misused a loved one’s credit card to keeping written records of an older adult’s verbal reports of misconduct, there are many ways for the family to put together evidence that supports their claim of nursing home abuse and helps them take appropriate action.
Notify the facility, if appropriate
It may be possible to prevent abusive people from having direct contact with specific older adults or to have them removed from their positions when there is adequate evidence of misconduct.
Report the matter to regulatory agencies
Suspicions of elder abuse should not go ignored, as the situation could escalate and potentially endanger someone’s health. When a nursing home won’t take necessary action or when it appears that management is aware of the situation and ignoring or facilitating it, it may be necessary to alert Adult Protective Services about the abuse to protect not just a specific older adult but all of the residents at the facility.
Arrange for alternate accommodations
The more serious the abuse becomes, the more important it will be to move an older adult out of the facility where they have endured mistreatment. Securing a room at another nursing home may be an option, or family members may need to prepare to move someone temporarily back in with their children or grandchildren until better accommodations become available.
Especially in scenarios where a family has to absorb expenses, including moving costs and medical bills, it may be possible to pursue a claim against the facility for the misconduct and the practical impact elder abuse had on the family. Knowing what steps to take when there are warning signs of nursing home abuse may help those worried about the care that their loved one receives in an assisted living facility.