We live in an era where medical sciences are advancing, with new treatment options and prevention methods gaining momentum. Fortunately, these medical advances allow many people to live into their 80s and above.
However, with increased life expectancy, there are lots of challenges. It starts with how we can care for our loved ones when they can no longer care for themselves. How to be available 24/7 at their service with our busy schedules? And most importantly, how to understand and interpret their needs and provide accordingly?
The answer is assisted living communities like nursing homes. These facilities can be a valuable source for anyone struggling to care for a family member, a friend, or other loved ones who cannot live independently.
Over 3.2 million adults living in the U.S. live in nursing homes. With these stats rising daily, we naturally expect our elders to be treated with well-deserved attention, respect, and skill. Unfortunately, every nursing home doesn’t provide the top-notch care they should, and some nursing home staff beat and slap their patients.
It is known as nursing home abuse, which comes in various forms, from physical and emotional to sexual and financial abuse.
Reports of elders suffering various forms of nursing home abuse have recently made national headlines. It could be intentional or unintentional, but it puts vulnerable residents at serious risk of harm.
You cannot always prevent nursing abuse, but you can reduce the risk by making sudden, frequent visits and being vigilant to any signs of abuse. If you suspect your family or friend is being abused, take the following steps to protect them and get help.
- BEWARE OF THE SIGNS
According to a long-term study, elder abuse victims are twice as likely to die prematurely than individuals safe from elder abuse. Before you call for help, you must be able to detect the signs of abuse in your loved one.
It can be challenging to spot signs of abuse, but there are some common symptoms. Look for dehydration, weight loss, or the staff not allowing you to see your loved one. There could also be financial transactions that don’t make sense, indicating financial blackmail.
Any unexplained injury, cuts, bruises, or change in behavior, such as hesitance in meeting particular residents in front of staff members, is also considered a sign of abuse.
- ASK QUESTIONS
Don’t hesitate to question the staff and be nosy about any signs of suspected abuse. Talking to the nursing home staff about potential problems would be best.
What you perceive as a sign of illness or aging could be an artificial injury. Similarly, what you perceive as a sign of abuse may not be one, and you should be willing to hear the staff out before taking further action.
However, if they cannot explain the situation, you should look into taking formal action. But in the process, make sure to keep your calm and be rational.
- TAKE EVIDENTIAL NOTES
Take written notes of everything that you see, and observe what is amiss. Note down all the medication, food, and timing of other services. It will help you compare it with unusual and see what’s wrong. Take pictures, and get the names and job positions of everyone you or your loved one comes in contact with.
Additionally, talking to coherent residents will help you get witnesses and information about the incident. The objective is to gather all the information, including pictures of injuries and conditions that caused you concern. Please bring it to the attention of nursing home management.
- CALL 911
If you find clear evidence of abuse or imminent danger, call 911 ASAP! If you have all the proof and reason to believe that it was intentional abuse or unintentional neglect, don’t wait to call the police. At the very least, you should file a complaint. In some cases, the police may need to intervene to ensure that the nursing home residents are safe.
Every state has some form of protective services for adults. In addition, each nursing home should make sure that they have policies against abuse and ensure protection. If you are unsure about the next best step to protect your loved ones and other adults, call National Center on elder abuse.
If you need help finding the number, ask the nursing home administrator or call your local law enforcement agency. Reporting is essential to protect your loved ones and spread awareness about misconduct and negligence in long-term care facilities.
If nursing home abuse goes unreported, nursing homes aren’t incentivized to make changes and address problems.
- CONSULT A LAWYER
Every resident in care facilities is entitled to protection. It is an essential step if you are a victim of nursing home abuse. If you wish to seek compensation for the injuries sustained, financial stress, and emotional damage you or your close ones suffered, speak to qualified nursing home abuse lawyers.
They will help you file a claim and build a strong case with all the evidence for compensation. It may include medical treatment for injuries, future medical treatment, rehabilitation and therapy, and settlement of assets wrongfully removed.
A home is where you are supposed to feel safe, warm, and taken care of, and nursing homes are no exception. Unfortunately, it is only sometimes the case. Therefore it is crucial to investigate the nursing home where your loved one will live.
Try visiting the nursing home often and interacting with the primary caregivers. Ask lots of questions to identify signs of abuse. Whatever you do, don’t wait for things to worsen. If you see something fishy, unusual, and dangerous, report it sooner than later. It is the only way to put a stop to this behavior.
With this, we conclude our list of steps you must take as a victim of nursing home abuse. Considering these matters will ultimately save your or your loved one’s life. If we missed anything, let us know in the comments below.