Nursing home abuse is on the rise. An aging population has led more elders in nursing homes, and based off of just the massive increase in patients alone, it’s easy to understand how abuse can rise.
If a parent is in a nursing home and was hurt, there are a few steps to take to correct the issue.
Understanding What is Considered Abuse
Abuse must be proven, and to be able to stop an issue from occurring, it’s important to know that abuse may mean:
- Unnecessary restraints
- Sexual abuse
- Ignoring patient requests
- Refusal to administer treatment
- Withholding food
- Overmedication or withholding medication
“Nursing home facilities are responsible for ensuring patients receive their medication in a timely manner. Miscommunication, understaffing, negligent training procedures, malfeasance, and other factors can cause caregivers to ‘forget’ to give a patient medication,” explains Steinberg Goodman & Kalish.
All of the above circumstances can lead to a parent being hurt in a nursing home.
You may also notice the following signs of elder abuse:
- Reluctance to speak
- Weight loss
Oftentimes, a person that is being hurt in a nursing home will have unexplained injuries or injuries that don’t make sense to their family.
Steps to Take to Help Your Parent
If you suspect your parent is being hurt or harmed in some form, it’s important to bring the issue to the attention of the facility’s management. The management team will conduct an internal investigation into the matter.
But if the situation is serious or ongoing, you’ll want to also contact local law enforcement.
State Agencies that deal with crime will also need to be alerted. Your state will investigate the case and pursue any sanctions against the facility.
If you can, remove the patient from the facility if the abuse or neglect continues.
Pursue Legal Action Against the Nursing Home / Abuser
Nursing homes and/or employees that are involved in the abuse or neglect can have legal action taken against them. Victims of abuse will need to seek out legal counsel that will help them navigate the legal process properly.
An investigation into the abuse needs to be conducted.
Evidence of the abuse will be lost or destroyed if you wait too long, so it’s important to:
- Contact a legal professional that deals with nursing home abuse.
- Obtain reports and records from the facility.
- Take photos and videos of the injuries.
- Record all names of anyone that may be involved in the abuse or allowed it to happen.
- Document any conditions that the resident may have been exposed to, such as hazardous or unsanitary conditions.
Documentation and proof of the abuse or neglect is vital to your winning the case. Nursing homes and the employees that work in them will try and avoid any legal action. You’ll face an uphill battle without proper evidence because no one wants to be held accountable for their actions.
In some cases, a hidden camera may be installed that will record the abuse so that the video can be used as evidence.