You can report nursing home abuse directly to the nursing home’s management, the Adult Protective Services office in your state or your area, or law enforcement if the matter is serious. You can report such abuse if you strongly suspect or have evidence that your elderly loved one may have suffered from it.
Understanding the Types of Nursing Home Abuse
The first step is to determine whether the actions you have witnessed or the signs or symptoms you have discovered indicate nursing home abuse of your senior family member. In some cases, the activity or evidence is clear. In other cases, a family member may be unsure as to whether the activity or signs or symptoms point to nursing home abuse. Understanding the types of nursing home abuse will help you make a more informed decision about reporting elder abuse.
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This is the most recognizable type of nursing home abuse. Either you will directly witness a nursing home employee physically harming a resident in some way, or you will notice signs or symptoms on your elderly loved one’s body that point to possible elder abuse.
For example, if you notice your elderly loved one has unexplained injuries, broken bones, cuts or bruises, marks that indicate restraints, sexual injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, or bedsores, these signs point to possible physical elder abuse.
- How You Can Report Physical Nursing Home Abuse: You should immediately contact the nursing home management to allow them to attempt to explain the circumstances regarding the possible physical abuse. Additionally, you have can contact Adult Protective Services. Finally, if you believe the physical nursing home abuse rises to a serious level, you should contact law enforcement immediately. Contacting law enforcement remains critically important as well if the physical abuse occurred in a certain area, and evidence of the act remains in that area. The police will want to do a full and complete investigation of the incident.
Psychological nursing home abuse may not cause physical injuries, but it may cause an overall decline in health for elderly residents. Senior adults in extended care facilities are at their most vulnerable at this stage in life, and they often rely on the nursing home staff for basic needs. When they suffer from psychological abuse, including humiliation, shaming, demeaning, threats, berating, yelling, or other types of psychological abuse, it can lead to an overall decline in their mental health and physical health.
- How Can Report Psychological Nursing Home Abuse: Immediately contact the nursing home management to give them details of the incident or describe the signs or symptoms your loved one exhibits that causes you to suspect psychological abuse. You also have the legal right to contact Adult Protective Services. Additionally, depending on the nature of the circumstances of the possible psychological nursing home abuse, you may consider contacting law enforcement.
The Nursing Home Reform Act states that residents of a nursing home have a right to privacy. While they do have responsibilities and give up some of their freedom and rights as a nursing home resident, no resident should ever have to endure a nursing home employee stealing property, credit cards, money or any valuables from their room. If you find that your loved one had any of their property, possessions, or money stolen from them, this is also financial elder abuse.
- How You Can Report Physical Nursing Home Abuse: You should immediately alert the nursing home management regarding your elderly loved one’s financial theft. You can also contact Adult Protective Services as well as law enforcement. You also may want to contact the financial institution where your loved one has an account and alert it to the suspected abuse, and keep track of your loved one’s financial records, if possible.
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How a Nursing Home Lawyer Can Help Your Family
Many family members make the tough decision to place their elderly loved ones in a nursing home to ensure their safety and care. The family feels just as violated as the senior adult does when they realize their loved one has suffered abuse while living in a nursing home. You have a right to contact the authorities regarding any kind of abuse that takes place at a senior care facility.
Additionally, the National Center on Elder Abuse also has information than can help if you discover that your senior loved one has been abused. If you are curious about how you can report nursing home abuse, consider calling the legal team at Ben Crump Law, PLLC, at (800) 959-1444 for a free consultation. We can help you understand your legal options to ensure your elderly loved one receives justice.