Just the thought of your elderly loved ones, such as a grandparent or parent, becoming the victim of nursing home abuse is terrifying. After all, when you decide to relocate your loved one to a nursing home, you are hoping and expecting for a place where they will be comfortable, make friends, feel at home, and above all else, feel safe.
With that being said, if you start to notice signs of nursing home abuse such as unexplained injuries, noticeable changes in demeanor or mood, changes in weight, poor hygiene or more, it’s important to act immediately.
If you believe that there may be something happening with a loved one regarding nursing home abuse, these seven steps can help you respond, react, and make a plan for what to do next in a measured and thoughtful way. Read here.
Step 1: Ensure the safety of your loved one
The very first thing you will want to do is make sure that your loved one is safe and out of immediate danger. Call 911 if you have to and move your loved one from the facility to a safer location such as your home if you must.
Step 2: Talk to your loved one
This is important: make sure that you are able to get your loved ones in a place where you are confident they will speak honestly. This may not include the nursing home itself, as they may fear that they are being watched or listened to and that any mention of abuse could come back to haunt them. Primarily, you will want to ask them if they have been harmed, feel threatened, have been neglected or exploited in any way. You must remember that they may not feel comfortable discussing this with you, so trust your instinct and assure them that they are in a safe space to talk with you.
Step 3: Talk with nursing home administrators
Bring your concerns to the nursing home administrators and ask them how they can ensure that your loved one will be safe.
Step 4: Know your loved one’s rights
This may mean reading up on the laws or hiring a lawyer to help you. Some of the most important rights include: dignity and respect, managing their own money, informed on their medical condition, the environment that is similar to a home, informed services and fees, privacy, freedom to choose their schedule, safety and absence of fear.
Step 5: File a complaint
If you believe nursing home abuse is taking place, do not delay on filing an official complaint with the appropriate state agency.
Step 6: Document everything
Make sure to take photographs, videos, audio recordings and write down anything that is said in order to have records of what occurred.
Step 7: Contact a lawyer and take corrective measures
One of the best ways you can make sure you’re covering all your bases is to hire a lawyer that specializes in representing victims of nursing home abuse. They can help you file the correct paperwork and take the right measures to ensure that your loved one is safe and out of harm’s way.