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Important questions to ask if you suspect nursing home abuse

Nursing home abuse is something that family members often have to watch out for, looking for signs of things that the elderly may be unable to report on their own. If you suspect that abuse is occurring, ask these questions:

1. Is there immediate danger? If there is, you may need to call 911 and get help quickly. If the abuse presents an unsafe or unhealthy situation, but not an immediate and critical danger, the emergency call may be unnecessary even if other action is required.

2. Does the person have issues with memory loss or confusion?

If so, he or she may not be able to tell you exactly what's going on. Trust your gut. Even if the person says nothing has happened, remember that an incident may simply have been forgotten.

3. Does the person have any other known medical problems?

If so, abuse can become even more problematic. The issues could be compounded and lead to serious side effects or injuries. With some medical issues, neglect also creates a significantly hazardous situation, as constant care and vigilance on the part of the staff are required.

4. Have you spotted suspicious behavior?

This could include instances of yelling, sharp exchanges between staff and residents, and other things that show the relationship is not healthy. Though perhaps not proof on its own, this can back up your suspicions that something isn't right.

When you suspect that abuse has occurred, it may be time to look into your legal options. You want to protect your loved one, and your loved one my be entitled to compensation for any injuries.

Source: Administration on Aging (AoA), "What If I Suspect Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation?," accessed Jan. 26, 2017

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