You move a loved one into a nursing home facility because you recognize that they need more support than you can give them personally. Unfortunately, nursing homes don’t always provide appropriate levels of support for the people who pay thousands of dollars every month to live in their facilities.
Reviewing some of the frequently asked questions about nursing home abuse and neglect can help you decide if you need to take action on behalf of an aging loved one.
What does nursing home abuse look like?
Nursing home abuse is sometimes obvious. It might include physical aggression that leaves behind bruises and makes your loved one seem fearful of the people providing their care. Other times, elder abuse is more subtle.
Mental or emotional abuse might include berating and insulting older adults who ask for assistance. Financial abuse is also a concern, as nursing home staff could extort your loved one or even outright steal from them. Staff members trying to undermine your trust in your aging loved one or refusing to leave you alone with them could be a red flag that they know how about mistreatment.
What are some of the warning signs of nursing home neglect?
Signs of neglect might include never seeing staff members when you visit a facility, as understaffing is a real concern. Noticing unkempt residents or dirty spaces within the nursing home are also warning signs.
Both bedsores and pest infestations are preventable with cleanliness and care. While the introduction of insects like scabies or lice to a facility isn’t always preventable, the spread from resident to resident is controllable. Bedsores also don’t have to occur even when someone can’t move on their own. Staff members should prioritize shifting how residents lay and provide proper support to minimize ongoing pressure in the same locations.
What can you do about nursing home abuse or neglect?
You can document what you see. Photographs or detailed written notes including dates, times, the names of people present and exactly what you witnessed can help show a pattern of dangerous behavior. Photographing bruises or bedsores to help you show the extent of injuries your loved one suffered.
Once you have documentation, you can take several other steps. You can go to management and demand an improvement in care. You might also ask for a partial refund so that you can move your loved one to a different facility.
In extreme cases that affect your loved one’s health or finances, you may also be able to bring a civil lawsuit against the facility or the caregivers involved in the mistreatment or neglect of your family member. Recognizing the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect will often be the first step toward protecting the older adult who depends on you.