When your parent, aunt, or other elderly relative requires around-the-clock care, you might consider the benefits of moving them into a nursing home. While these assisted living facilities can be extremely helpful, they aren’t always as safe and nurturing as we’d like to believe. Nursing home staff can be impatient and negligent in their duties, fellow residents can be dangerous, and other staff, such as doctors, janitors, and so on, can be downright abusive. In order to protect your loved one from elder abuse, there are several things you need to do during the home selection process and even after they move in. Ensuring your loved one receives quality care in their nursing home is an ongoing process, so make sure you’re prepared.
Caring for an elderly loved one can require extra support, but nursing home facilities aren’t always safe and reliable. To ensure your family member receives quality care in their nursing home, make sure you know what to expect.
- Be Selective
Do your research and visit as many homes as you can before you choose where your loved one will be living. Look for online reviews and ask friends and family members if they know of any reliable facilities they’d recommend. Also, make sure the facility is properly licensed and well cared for. Pay close attention to the home’s cleanliness, the condition of the residents, the attitudes of the staff, the activities occurring throughout the facility, etc… While choosing a facility, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find out what your loved one’s average day would look like, what types of activities are available, what medical care they provide, and so on.
- Visit Often
After you’ve moved your loved one into a nursing home you trust, make sure you visit often, especially during those first few weeks, to make sure everything is as it should be. Ask your loved one how he or she is doing, how they like the facility, and what they think of their room. Pay close attention to their behavior, because several studies have shown that our loved ones will sometimes hide instances of negligence or abuse for fear of inconveniencing their families—so don’t just rely on their word, do some extra digging yourself.
Observe your loved one’s living conditions; there should be no dirty messes, no foul odors, and you should find something nearby that brings your loved one joy—perhaps a bouquet of flowers, a fish tank, family photos, or a memento from home.
Dropping by unannounced can be especially beneficial, because it gives the facility no time to “prepare” for your arrival. That way, you can see if the home is run any differently when visitors are around.
- Know the Signs
Become acquainted with the potential signs of abuse—including financial, sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. If your loved one is suffering any type of elder abuse, you might notice the following:
- Severe mood changes
- Poor hygiene
- Messy or dirty living conditions
- Unexplained bruises and abrasions
- Unusual nervousness or unease
- Emotional withdrawal
- Missing chunks of hair
In the event that your loved one suffers financial abuse, you might also see unexpected changes in their bank account, unexplained purchases, and changes to their will. Sexual abuse, on the other hand, might leave the victim with irrational mood swings, physical injuries, soreness, and a dislike of physical contact. Because the symptoms of abuse and neglect can vary, use your instincts to determine whether or not anything seems off-balance with your loved one.
- Report Any Issues
If you ever have reason to suspect elder abuse, make sure you report the incident. If you are suspicious but haven’t seen any evidence of elder abuse, visit your loved one more frequently and talk to them about your concerns. Also, discuss the issue with the nursing home facility and see what they have to say. However, if you have seen abuse take place or if you have seen evidence of mistreatment, such as untreated bedsores of unexplained bruises on your loved one’s arms, you need to take action to protect them. If your relative is in danger, call the police and tell them about your concerns, providing any evidence you have. Next, contact our nursing home abuse attorneys and discover your legal rights.
Our firm can help you take legal action to hold the facility responsible for their harmful actions. In your pursuit of justice, you could also help your loved one secure compensation from their abuser and/or the nursing home facility.
Contact Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP today to discuss your case with our firm.