It was unquestionably a difficult decision to place your elderly family member into a nursing home. Now you suspect your loved one may be experiencing nursing home negligence.
Sadly one out of every ten elderly individuals will experience some form of elderly abuse.
You want the best for your elderly family member, and often the suspicion of abuse will create a spiral of guilt for those who placed her in nursing care.
More than two million cases of elder abuse are reported every year — you are not alone. More disturbing still is that most cases of nursing home negligence are never reported.
Read on to find out what steps you should take to protect your loved one.
How to Identify Nursing Home Negligence
An injury does not necessarily indicate nursing home negligence.
For example, it is common for a bedridden patient to get bedsores, but those bedsores should be treated with medication and proper care.
Untreated bedsores can become putrid-smelling and painful and would indicate nursing home negligence.
Elder abuse can be defined to include abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional), financial exploitation, neglect, and self-neglect.
- Physical abuse is any intentional act causing injury or trauma to another person
- Sexual abuse is any sort of non-consensual sexual contact
- Emotional abuse is any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, and infantilization. Any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth
- Financial exploitation is the illegal or unauthorized use of a person’s property, money, pension, other valuables, or transfer of power of attorney
- Neglect is to disregard an individual and the failure to care for her properly
- Self-neglect is the failure to carry out personal hygiene, appropriate clothing, and feeding.
If you suspect any of these violations are occurring to your elder family member, there are several steps you will want to take immediately.
Immediately After an Incident
Remain calm at all times. When you suspect that your loved one is experiencing nursing home negligence, it’s understandable that you may easily lose your temper.
It’s crucial that you remain level-headed for the sake of your elderly family member, so you can seek a resolution for them without weakening their case.
Document what happened in as many details as possible.
Begin with the date, time, and exact location of the incident. Even if you only have the slightest inclination of abuse, you will want to document every event you see, or your elderly family member reports.
This may reveal a pattern, or simply will show the severity of the nursing home negligence.
Take pictures of any evidence. If there is the presence of a cut or bruise, use your cellphone to take pictures of any physical injury.
The wonderful thing is that pictures will be electronically time and date stamped which will help you with organizing your documents later. Document the names of all staff in the area and administrators on duty.
Of course, you will want to document the name of the person who is responsible for the neglect, but it’s important to record the names of all employees on duty.
These employees may be key witnesses in a future investigation of the incident.
Talk to your elderly family member, if possible. You don’t need to upset your family member by telling them that you think they are being abused, but you certainly can ask if there is anything they need.
They will likely volunteer important information. You may want to ask your loved one a few questions about how she is treated in the facility, and take note of the details.
Gather all pertinent medical information. You will want to have any past medical records on file. Additionally, you will need to have any physical injury independently evaluated by a professional.
Consider moving your elderly family member to another facility as soon as possible. If you think there is evidence of abuse or neglect, do not let your family member remain in the negative situation.
The removal of your family member will also indicate your concern in any legal action. Inform the state. It is essential to report any alleged abuse or neglect so that a full investigation may be conducted.
This may include the police, the District Attorney, the Department of Social Services, and Adult Protective Services.
You may be apprehensive to do so, but you are not liable if it is done in good faith, and there is a moral obligation to protect other elderly from experiencing the same harmful experience.
Contact an attorney. You will want professional advice about your loved one’s rights and in filing a lawsuit if necessary.
A nursing home neglect attorney is essential to navigating the difficult road ahead to get the legal and financial recoveries that your elderly family member deserves.
When Searching For an Attorney
Proving nursing home negligence can take a lot of work.
Your loved one is relying on you to make the best decisions for them, but who is looking out for you?
You’ll need proper direction on who should and can, be held accountable for your loved one’s condition and how to proceed with collecting damages.
You will want to look for an experienced personal injury law office that has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for its clients and has years of experience in handling nursing home abuse or neglect cases.
Your case will ensure that the nursing home will become more diligent in their duties and responsibilities for other residents, and will give your loved one the justice she deserves.
She should be enjoying peace, comfort, and personal attention in her final years of life.
Talk to Trapper & Geller for a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation for more tips and resources to protect your elderly family member from nursing home negligence.