Nursing home abuse is devastating to patients and those who find out that their loved ones have been abused. Victims of nursing home abuse may go through many months or years of pain and suffering before the truth comes out, and the shock that the family goes through is difficult, to say the least.
Families suffer knowing that they placed their loved one in a nursing home for proper care and ended up putting them in danger. Sadly, what’s done is done, and their best option is to pursue charges and to seek compensation for what has been done to their loved one.
What should you do if you believe that your loved one is being harmed at a nursing home?
If you believe that abuse is taking place, you need to speak up right away.
- Talk to the nursing home director, and if possible, take your loved one out of the nursing home.
- If taking them out of the nursing home isn’t an immediate option, you should get in touch with the authorities, so they can take them to the hospital for treatment and a health assessment.
- If your loved one is in immediate danger from an injury, call 911 and notify any nearby medical staff.
In order for a successful claim to be made against a nursing home, the damages that occurred must be shown conclusively. These damages could be physical, mental or financial. For example, if a nursing home resident was neglected and as a result suffered from poor hygiene, an illness may have been caused as a result. In a case such as this, it is important to show that the neglect of care was the factor that caused the illness to occur, and the damages that occurred, such as unnecessary pain and suffering, emotional distress and medical bills. Keep documentation on the incident and keep copies of any kind of evidence you have, such as photographs or video. It can sometimes be hard to prove that abuse is taking place, but some common signs include:
- Repeated falls
- Head injuries
- Unusual changes in behavior
- Fear of calling for assistance
- Withdrawn behavior
In cases where an elder isn’t able to express that they’ve been harmed, it’s up to family members to monitor their behavior and report any unusual changes. You should always be able to identify if your loved one has been suffering injuries at an unusual rate, as well. By doing so, you’ll be in a good position to show the impact the care they have or have not received has had on them.
Preventing abuse before it occurs
If your loved one has recently moved into a nursing home, or if you are considering this transition in the near future, there are some strategies you can use to reduce the chance that abuse will occur.
Always stop in unexpectedly
One good rule of thumb is to stop into the nursing home you’ve chosen or are considering when the staff isn’t expecting you. You don’t want to come at the same time every week, for example, because it could make it easy for people to hide abuse or neglect.
Talk about your loved one’s health
If the staff knows that you’re keeping up to date on your loved one’s health and well-being, it will be much harder for anyone to neglect or abuse them. Why? You’d know right away. This is enough to stop some people from making a wrong move against your loved one.
Keep a diary
As the loved one of a nursing home resident, it may be a good idea to keep a diary of all events and notable occurrences that took place over a period of time. This diary can be used as supporting evidence in a nursing home neglect case.