Posted in nursing home abuse on March 7, 2020
One of the hardest decisions a person can face is having to put a loved one into a nursing home. It can be made even harder by the thought of nursing home abuse. According to a watchdog report in 2019, nursing facilities have failed to report thousands of potential neglect and abuse of seniors on Medicare. Many nursing home residents do not report the abuse and neglect for fear of retaliation from the staff members at the nursing home. Also many residents may have a difficult time reporting the abuse due to their cognitive conditions. Do you know what you should do if you suspect that your parent or loved one is being abused by the staff or another resident? Here are some tips to help you through this challenging time.
Be Able to Identify The Signs
If you’re not sure what signs to look for when it comes to abuse in an assisted living facility, you won’t be able to get help. Abuse can come in many forms. There’s physical, sexual, emotional, and even financial abuse that can happen.
Warning Signs to Look For Include:
• Physical signs of harm such as burns, bruises, broken bones, and abrasions
• Emotional signs like a change in attitude or no longer participating in normal activities
• Dislike of the staff or other residents, which can include arguing or avoiding someone
• Hygiene issues
• Unexplained weight loss
• Unexplained financial activities
These signs are not inclusive. You may just notice that something seems off with your loved one. Don’t ignore your gut feeling if something seems not quite right. There’s nothing wrong with investigating even if there’s no abuse occurring. Doing your due diligence can help to give you peace of mind.
Keep Notes and Documentation
You’ll want to start documenting what you see and hear. This documentation is especially necessary if there’s no physical evidence of abuse, such as bruising, or if your loved one is non-verbal. Anything that seems suspicious or not up to your standards should be documented. Any hospital visits for falls or other suspicious injuries should also be included with your notes. At first, it may seem like nothing, but you may start to notice a pattern. Be sure to keep track of the date and times of these occurrences. This information could be vital in determining who is behind the abuse or if you have to handle a lawsuit.
Open a Dialogue
Don’t be shy to talk with the staff. Talk with a trusted caregiver about your feelings. Speak with the manager or supervisor if you feel something is wrong and don’t want to talk to the staff directly involved in the care of your loved one. Let them know about your concerns and see what they have to say about it. You may find that if this still leaves you unsatisfied or that your issue is never addressed, you may need to go a step further.
Finding Professional Legal Help
At this point, it may be time to turn to an experienced lawyer that’s familiar with nursing home abuse cases. They can help you to determine the next steps you need to take to protect your family member. You may not even realize that what you’re seeing happen to your loved one is illegal. A lawyer can help you with getting your issues addressed, filing a claim against the facility, moving your loved one, and even contacting the police if you haven’t already.
Finding a New Nursing Home
You may find that it’s necessary to move your loved one to a new facility because your issues aren’t addressed. Safety comes first, and not being sure if your loved one is in a safe situation can be stressful. You don’t want to worry about an injury that could be life-threatening or further abuse. Your lawyer can help you with options to find a new nursing home and the next steps you should take.
Handling Emergency Instances
In cases of emergency, you may want to contact the police right away. Catching a staff member physically or sexually assaulting your loved one is just one situation where calling 911 should come first. You’ll want to use your best judgment, and if you’re still unsure if the police need to be involved, a lawyer can help you in making this decision.
Do you believe a loved one is currently or in the past has been abused by the nursing home facility staff or another resident? Contact an experienced New Orleans nursing home abuse attorney today to help you in making the difficult decisions that can come from this situation. Schedule a consultation today by calling (504) 500-5000 or use our convenient online contact form.