If you witness nursing home abuse, you have the right to either visit with the nursing home management immediately to report the abuse, contact Adult Protective Services, or even contact law enforcement if the facts and circumstances would necessitate police involvement.
Understand the Types of Nursing Home Abuse
You may wonder what you should do if you witness nursing home abuse, but also whether what you actually witnessed qualifies as nursing home abuse. First, if you have any suspicions at all, always err on the side of caution and contact either the management of the nursing home or the authorities. However, here are some examples of the different types of nursing home abuse that you may witness.
This is the most easily identifiable type of nursing home abuse. If you notice any nursing home resident receiving any unwanted physical harm from a nursing home staff member, or another resident, this likely qualifies as nursing home abuse. However, other forms of physical abuse may be slightly more subtle and different to determine.
For example, if you see:
- Bedsores on a resident
- A nursing home staff employee failing to assist a resident regarding going to the restroom
- A nursing home staff employee failing to assist a resident with daily needs such as food, water, or help from a bed
- Or simply the failure of a nursing home employee to assist a resident that requests assistance, this is a form of physical abuse.
Also, it is important to note that physical abuse can also include sexual abuse of an elderly person in a nursing home. If you witness physical nursing home abuse, immediately contact the nursing home management, and if you feel they are not addressing the issue appropriately, contact Adult Protective Services or law enforcement.
Psychological abuse includes yelling, berating, humiliating, shaming, demeaning, or threatening another person. If you witness this type of psychological abuse in a nursing home, you should again immediately contact nursing home management. Depending on the severity, you may also consider contacting Adult Protective Services or even law enforcement.
Under the Nursing Home Reform Act, elderly residents have the legal right to privacy and this includes their own personal possessions. If you witness a nursing home staff member, another resident, or a third party steal any money, credit cards, or property from an elderly resident of a nursing home, you should immediately contact nursing home management.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-712-9119
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
If you witnessed any physical, psychological, or financial abuse of an elderly resident in a nursing home, you should take immediate action. First, always report the incident to the nursing home staff or management. The nursing home should have specific plans in place and protocol to directly deal with these types of claims. If you feel that the nursing home is not taking your allegations of abuse seriously, then you should consider whether or not to contact Adult Protective Services, law enforcement, or simply call 911 if you feel it rises to the level of an emergency.
Other Actions To Take
If your elderly loved one was the one abused, you may also want to consider visiting with the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). While this organization does not directly investigate claims of nursing home abuse, they can provide valuable information as well as resources and guidance as you move through the process of making decisions following the abuse of your loved one.
Additionally, if you witness nursing home abuse of any kind of your elderly loved one, you may consider removing them from the nursing home entirely based on the facts and circumstances of the abuse you witnessed.
Contact a Nursing Home Lawyer
You may feel overwhelmed, angry, frustrated, or even frightened after witnessing nursing home abuse. It is important to ensure that you understand that you should report any abuse of an elderly resident of a nursing home. Many elderly residents have neurocognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and may not understand what is actually happening to them. In other cases, these diseases cause memory loss serious enough that they simply may not even remember their abuse. Knowing the steps to take after you witness nursing home abuse can directly impact the support and care provided to the elderly resident of the nursing home. If you believe your elderly loved one suffered any kind of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, learn how a nursing home lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC can help you understand all of your legal options to ensure your elderly loved one receives justice. Call 800-959-1444 to discuss your case with a member of our team today. The initial consultation is free and confidential.