Nursing Home Neglect: Steps to Take if You Suspect Elder Abuse

If you suspect that a loved one or friend is suffering from nursing home neglect or abuse, your concerns may be well founded. The seriousness of the situation may require immediate action just like when someone is involved in a major car accident in Reading, PA.  Abuse and neglect of elderly patients in nursing homes takes place for many reasons, such as staff members taking advantage of the poor memory of a patient to evade punishment. Understaffing also contributes to neglect and this is something to take note of.  If you suspect that a loved one is experiencing abuse or neglect in a nursing home, keep these seven tips in mind so that you will know when to seek aid in order to keep family and friends safe from harm.

Know the Types of Abuse

Nursing home abuse can be categorized into six different types. Physical abuse occurs when a staff member intentionally harms a resident, such as pushing them around or hitting them. Nursing home neglect happens when the staff leaves an individual unattended for an extended period of time, resulting in malnutrition and other issues caused by that type of  negligence; a more extreme variation is abandonment, which happens after a staff member intentionally deserts them. Older adults are sometimes subjected to sexual abuse by a staff member.

Other forms of elder abuse may be less obvious, such as the emotional abuse created by yelling and taunting. Financial exploitation also occurs due to elderly individuals having memory problems.

Identify Warning Signs From the Victim

Several warning signs can be indicators your friend or loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse and/or neglect. Any unexplainable cuts, bruises, broken bones, or other notable injuries are evidence of physical harm. Dehydration and unwashed clothes can be a sign of negligence in nursing homes. Checking your loved one’s bank account for unusual transactions or newly opened credit cards can be an indication of potential financial abuse.

Observe Warning Signs From the Abuser

It’s also possible to identify clues from nursing home staff that when they have been abusive to or neglectful of a resident. If, for example, you notice they fail to respond to an assistance request or show disrespect to their residents, you ought to keep an eye on them. Additionally, an abuser might not be a member of a nursing home staff but a trusted family visitor. Do not rule anyone out just because they’re related.

What To Do When You Suspect Abuse or Neglect

Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms. Thereafter, the best course of action will depend on the nature or severity of the problem. If you suspect minor emotional neglect or abuse, contact the nursing home administrator immediately. The facility may have a grievance procedure.  More serious problems may warrant a call to health or legal authorities. No matter what the case may be, call the personal injury attorneys at Liever, Hyman & Potter,P.C., so that they can recommend a course of action for you, including advice as to whether or not a lawsuit may be justified.

Speak With Your Loved One

Make sure to contact your loved one and speak with them directly. They can sometimes provide important information about what is going on. However, keep in mind that they may withhold information for various reasons, such as their fear of losing independence or their desire not to appear as a complainer. Most importantly, take their concerns seriously.

Document the Problem

When abuse or neglect is suspected, it is helpful to gather information to not only assist your relative or friend, but also to have the information available when you contact an attorney. Take photos of any bruising or sores or abnormalities in the condition of the resident, such as unexplained weight loss. Make sure to safeguard accident and incident reports and medical documents provided to you since they may be very helpful should legal action be taken.

Call For Help

Whenever you suspect that a loved one has been subjected to abuse or neglect in a nursing home or other care facility, they are entitled to protection. Contacting a lawyer can get your friend or family member the help that they need to make them safe and put a stop to further abuse. The nursing home abuse lawyers at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., are immediately available to assist victims of nursing home abuse and neglect and to help them and their family understand their rights.

Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., also provides professional legal services for those who have suffered a motor vehicle injury, medical malpractice injury, premises & product liability injury, or need a worker’s compensation lawyer. The firm is here to help in Pottsville, Schuylkill County, throughout Berks County, and in the eastern PA and central PA region, including in Lebanon, Montgomery County and Lancaster Counties.

Latest Posts