If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

If you suspect that your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse, immediately notify the head of the nursing home and document it in writing. Ask the head of the organization to investigate and call you. Then:

  • Make more frequent, unexpected visits
  • Keep a close eye on the abused person
  • Document and photograph any bruises, cuts or bedsores
  • Follow up on your request with the head of the nursing home
  • Document what you are told and other things you observe at the home
  • Make a note of how the staff acts towards you
  • Talk to your loved one and other residents about signs

Assure your loved one that it is OK to talk about what is happening, and take notes.

    Residents typically do not report neglect. Some are afraid or unable. Some simply do not recognize it themselves.Proper care in a nursing home may seem to some like excessive pampering, but it is not. Residents must have water available at all times, even if that means a staff member has to come to the room frequently to hold the glass. Residents must be supervised at all times to prevent nursing home accidents and injuries. And so much more.

     When you visit the staff may seem very attentive and helpful, but they may simply be on their best behavior because you are there observing. Be on the lookout for signs of neglect such as weight loss, bedsores, poor hygiene, dehydration, sunburn, injuries, infections, and unsanitary conditions

The first thing that you should look for when visiting nursing homes is at the staffing levels. It is critical that a nursing home is well staffed. This being because a vast majority of problems that can occur in a nursing home setting, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect and even malnourishment occur almost uniformly because of understaffing. However, if there are a sufficient number of caregivers, it becomes difficult for one to ignore or abuse abuse a resident- because others are around and actively monitoring the residents.

 

Another thing to be mindful when visiting a nursing home is how the staff members interact with patients. Pay close attention to how the staff speaks to and handles the patients. Are they using their names? Do the staff members seem to know the patients or, given high turnover, are they strangers? The more close interaction you are able to observe, the better sense you’ll have for what type of facility the nursing home is and whether it is one you can entrust with the care of your elderly loved one.