5 Steps You Can Take to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse
December 17, 2019
Nursing home abuse has become a shameful epidemic in our country. We trust these facilities and their staff members to keep our elderly loved ones healthy and safe. When caregivers abuse or neglect these vulnerable individuals, it is the worst kind of betrayal. However, there are steps you can take to prevent nursing home abuse, such as hiring an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer. Here are five actions that can help protect your family member if you suspect they are being abused.
Learn the common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect
– Unexplained bruises or marks, especially on the upper arm
– Emotional withdrawal
– Refusal or reluctance to engage in previously enjoyed social/recreational activities
– Unusual agitation, anxiety or fearfulness
– Poor hygiene, such as unwashed hair, or soiled linens or clothing
– Unintentional weight loss or gain
– Noticeable mood changes
– Excessive and inappropriate use of restraints
– Discomfort or fear around certain staff members
However, not all residents show outward signs of abuse and neglect. If you believe something is wrong, continue to monitor the situation.
Make several unannounced visits
Generally, nursing home residents have the right to determine who may visit them and when those visits take place. Therefore, as long as the resident does not object, family members or friends may visit at their discretion. Consequently, if you suspect a loved one is being abused, make several unannounced visits. Stop in at various times and on different days, including weekdays and weekends. This will give you more information than visiting at the same time or day each week.
If your family member is able to make conversation, ask how they are doing. Be specific. For example, if they seem anxious, ask if something is bothering them or if they are afraid of someone at the home.
Question the staff about your loved one’s well-being. If you notice a bruise, ask how it happened. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer, ask to see the medical records (if you are not the legal guardian, the resident will have to sign a release allowing you access to their records).
In addition, talk to family members of other residents if possible. Ask if they have noticed any of the same things you are concerned about.
Know your rights
Nursing home residents have many rights under both state and federal laws. They have the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical, and mental abuse, involuntary seclusion, and misappropriation of their property by anyone.
You can find more information about patient rights in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities on the Medicare.gov website.
In addition, family members can review the most recent inspection reports for every Michigan nursing home that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding on this site.
Access it here: https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html
Consult an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer
Realizing that a loved one is being abused or neglected can throw a family into turmoil. You may not know where to turn or how to prevent further harm. A knowledgeable nursing home abuse lawyer can help keep your family member safe while holding the responsible parties accountable for their wrongdoing.
“It’s appalling to think that anyone would mistreat a vulnerable elderly person,” says Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm. “Our highly qualified and compassionate nursing home abuse lawyers will fight to protect your loved one and win the compensation you and your family deserve.”
Nursing home abuse law is complicated, but finding the right attorney is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.