Nursing home abuse can take on many forms. If you want to keep your loved one safe from potential abuse, you will need to know what to look for and what courses of action are available to you.
Types of Elder Abuse
One way to prevent nursing home abuse is by knowing what kinds of abuse the elderly may endure. According to the National Institute on Aging, these include:
- Financial – Nursing home staff may request monthly rent, payments for medication, or charge a resident for items or services when they are not supposed to.
- Emotional or mental – Nursing home staff may bully or berate a resident or suggest that they do not deserve their care.
- Physical – Nursing home staff may withhold a resident’s medication, cause them physical pain, or threaten to inflict harm.
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Preventing Nursing Home Abuse
If you want to protect your loved one to the best of your ability, you will need to ensure that you stay informed about their care and are an active part of their lives.
Some of the best ways to stay ahead of potential abuse in a nursing home include:
- Engage with elders – Visit your loved one often and engage them in conversation. While this may be difficult with elders who face mental decline, you can still speak with them and learn about their day-to-day routine. You should pay attention to their body language as well, especially if there are any caretakers your loved one may seem to shy away from or try to avoid.
- Provide primary caregivers with a support system – Sometimes, by offering to help caretakers with your loved one’s needs, you can prevent situations that might cause them to threaten or enact violence. Stay up to date on what your loved one needs to thrive on a daily basis and give the caretakers someone to reach out to when they have questions.
- Encourage physical and mental activities – While you may not be able to reverse a loved one’s physical or mental decline, you can encourage them to stay active. Provide them with puzzles for mental exercise and walk with them when you have time to visit. By doing so, you can enable them to better care for themselves.
- Protect your loved one’s finances – Be sure to keep a close eye on your loved one’s finances and, if appropriate, remove their ability to share credit card information or social security numbers.
- Establish a community of like-minded individuals – Be sure to communicate with other families who have loved ones in the same nursing home as you. This way, you can create a watchful community that works with your loved one’s best interests in mind.
Again, you should keep an eye out for all types of nursing home abuse, not just physical signs. Body language can be powerful if your loved one has trouble communicating, so look for wariness, fear, or avoidance tactics.
Risk Factors for Potential Neglect
Some nursing home residents are more likely to fall victim to abuse and neglect than others. You will need to consider your loved one’s mental, physical, and emotional status to determine how closely you should monitor them when they are in someone else’s care.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), risk factors that may lead to future neglect or abuse include:
- A patient’s financial dependence or inability to understand finances
- Poor physical or mental health
- Limited access to outside services or outside communication
- Trouble coping with a less independent situation
- Lack of social support
- A history of substance abuse
Problems that arise with individual caretakers versus institutions will differ. If upon visiting a loved one, you believe that problems within a nursing home may be stemming from a single caretaker, you can talk with nursing home administration to express your concerns. If problems persist, you can also contact a nursing home abuse lawyer about your potential case.
If the problem seems to be the institution itself, you may have a larger problem on your hands. In these situations, it is best to try to remove your loved one from a negligent home’s care before seeking legal options.
A nursing home abuse lawyer with Ben Crump Law, PLLC can explain your rights if you suspect your elderly loved one has suffered nursing home abuse. To learn more and discuss your potential case, call our team today at 800-959-1444.