If the time comes to put our elderly loved ones in a nursing home, the hope is that they will get the best possible care and treatment. But the reality is that nursing home abuse is on the rise in the United States, and people need to know their rights when it comes to this terrible situation. If you suspect nursing home abuse, you should act quickly to help your loved one get out of a bad environment.
The Basics Of Nursing Home Abuse
Unfortunately, the laws protecting residents of nursing homes in the United States are not very comprehensive. There is no screening process required for hiring workers, and the quality of nursing homes varies from state to state. Each state is given the responsibility of making sure the rights of the elderly are protected, and some states do a better job than others.
Nursing home abuse consists of physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, and financial misconduct either on the part of nursing home staff members, or the people who use a nursing home as an opportunity to take advantage of an elderly person. Along with nursing home staff members, it is possible that abuse can be perpetrated by friends, family members, or visitors posing as friends and family.
Spotting Nursing Home Abuse
Some nursing home abuse cases result in physical signs such as bruises or broken bones, but that is not always the case. If you notice that your elderly loved one has become withdrawn since they were admitted to a nursing home and they refuse to talk about their life in the facility, then that can also be a sign of abuse. If your loved one has started trusting complete strangers and is allowing those strangers to make decisions for them, then this can also be abuse.
Sexual and psychological abuse are seen in many different ways. An elderly loved one who refuses to have physical contact with you or does not want to see you at all could be in trouble. If your loved one seems disoriented and often not understanding what you are saying, then that can also be a sign of nursing home abuse.
What Should You Do?
If you suspect elderly abuse in a nursing home and you have power of attorney over your loved one, then your first move should be to have them removed from that situation as soon as possible. You may never get your loved one to admit to being abused, but you can contact your local state nursing home officials to launch an investigation.
After removing your loved one from the abusive environment will sometimes get them to start telling you all of what was going on. You should make a note of all of the information your loved one gives you and then file a formal complaint with the state.
In some cases, justice does not come swiftly enough for families that have been affected by nursing home abuse. If you have followed the official channels to report abuse and do not feel that justice has been served, then get in touch with a qualified personal injury attorney to get justice in the civil courts. In some cases, winning a civil lawsuit against a nursing home can help to spur a state investigation that could prevent that nursing home from hurting any other residents in the future.