According to the National Council on Aging, roughly one in 10 elderly Americans have faced abuse, neglect or mistreatment. Sadly, many of those situations happen in nursing homes.
It is distressing to suspect a loved one may be suffering abuse in a nursing home. Knowing the appropriate actions to take can help protect your loved one and address the situation effectively.
Recognize the signs of abuse
Understanding the signs of abuse can help to establish if there may be cause for concern. Physical injuries, emotional changes, unexplained weight loss or sudden changes in financial situation can all indicate possible abuse.
Document suspected abuse
As soon as you begin to suspect the abuse, you must document any signs or evidence. This could include taking photographs of physical injuries, noting any unusual behavior and keeping track of any changes in the individual’s financial situation.
Report the suspected abuse
Reporting the suspected abuse to the nursing home’s management is an essential step in addressing the problem. Ensure that the management provides you with information about their procedures for investigating and resolving such issues.
Contact local authorities
If the suspected abuse is serious or the nursing home’s management does not take appropriate action, contact local authorities. In California, you can report the abuse to the local Adult Protective Services office, or in cases of immediate danger, contact the police.
Keep communication open
Keeping an open line of communication with your loved one in the nursing home is important. Regular visits, phone calls or video chats can provide the opportunity to check on their well-being and provide them with emotional support.
It is important to remember that all individuals have the right to live free from abuse and that you should promptly address any concerns to protect the well-being of your loved one in nursing home care.