One of the first steps that you should take upon learning that a loved one has been the victim of neglect or abuse in a nursing home is to contact an ombudsman. The ombudsman can help your family in many ways by launching an investigation into the abuse and protecting your loved one’s rights. All of these actions will protect your loved one and ensure that the at fault party is properly reprimanded for their actions.
When you contact the ombudsman, you should provide clear information to help the ombudsman do their job. Having the information that this person needs before you contact them will make this process as straightforward and fast as possible. Try to gather this information before contacting the ombudsman.
1. Basic Nursing Home Information
When you contact the ombudsman, you should have your loved one’s basic nursing home information ready. This includes the name, address, phone number, and fax number of the home. In addition, you might want to provide the information for individual employees, such as the director of operations, the nurse that works with your loved one, etc.
2. Basic Information Regarding Your Loved One
You should provide the ombudsman with your loved one’s name, date of birth, current health information, previous health information, contact information, and the basics of what happened in the nursing home. This will give them context when investigating the case.
3. The Type of Abuse That You Suspect
There are many different types of neglect and abuse. You should be clear about the specific type of neglect or abuse that you suspect your loved one is a victim of. This will keep the investigation specific.
4. Evidence of Abuse
While it might be obvious to you that your loved one has been neglected or abused in some way, you need to help the ombudsman prove this. Provide as much evidence as you can of injuries and abuse so that you can support your claims.
5. Signs of Abuse
One piece of evidence related to abuse is a sign of abuse. For example, if you believe that your loved one is the victim of physical abuse, pointing out their bruises from being hit can be used as evidence confirming the abuse.
6. Who You Suspect has Caused the Abuse
Is it a nurse who is causing abuse? A nurse’s assistant? A therapist? Be clear to help the ombudsman in their investigation.
7. History of Abuse in the Home
A past history of abuse can be used as evidence in your loved one’s case. You and the ombudsman should look into any past claims of abuse.
8. Who You Have Reported the Abuse To
If you have informed other parties of abuse, such as social services, a doctor, the police, etc. you should tell the ombudsman and give them this contact information so that they can get in touch with these parties.
9. Your Future Plans
If you would like criminal charges to be pressed against the at fault party, you should tell the ombudsman as soon as possible. Also inform them if you plan on pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the at fault party.
10. What You Expect From the Ombudsman
Be clear in your intentions in calling the ombudsman. Do you expect them to launch an investigation? Find evidence of abuse? Try to shut down the nursing home? By expressing your expectations, they can work with you in an open and honest way.
Contacting an ombudsman is a great step in getting your loved one the help that they need.