When identifying nursing home abuse it is crucial to know why your loved one is at risk. You should also know who to report suspected abuse to. It is a terrible and scarring situation when an elderly individual gets abused. The sad truth is that elderly people are at a high risk for abuse, especially in nursing homes. They get left in the hands of staff who should supply a safe and comfortable environment. But, it is not uncommon for workers to take advantage of the power they have over elderly individuals. This is when abuse and neglect begin to occur. Residents are targeted when the staff is unfit to tend to the patient and their needs.

Abuse Factors

Nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable to abuse and neglect. This is due to many factors, including:

  • Age.
  • Health.
  • Dependency.
  • Medical conditions such as dementia.
  • Isolation.
  • Lack of physical strength to defend themselves.
  • Possible inability to tell others what is happening to them.

Elderly people are typically thought of as fragile and easy to take advantage of. This can result in their abuse and neglect. Nursing home workers might take advantage of a situation due to their stress. They may see it as an easier way to get an elderly person to comply with their abuser. This is not an excuse, as everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

Contacts

When you suspect abuse of your parent or loved one, it can be a scary or overwhelming experience. You may wonder what to do next or who to contact. It is important to report suspected abuse right away. This can make the difference in how damaged your loved one is as a result of this. There are several people who you can and should contact when you suspect abuse. They include:

  • The police.
  • Medicare or Medicaid services (877-267-2323) to make them aware of your suspicions.
  • State medical assistant offices (1-800-318-2596).
  • The Office of Aging (varies per township within each state. CT’s website is http://www.aoascc.org/).
  • Citizen Advocacy Group (varies by state).
  • The Adult Protective Service Agency (http://www.napsa-now.org/).

Any of these agencies and organizations will be able to assist you if you wish to report suspected abuse.

When you contact somebody, for help it is important to tell them the type of abuse that you suspect. This will give them a general idea of what to look for. You also must tell them what evidence you have of the alleged abuse. This can include photo evidence, reports or physical damage to an individual. Also, you must explain your relationship to the victim. You should also provide some basic information about the victim. This will help whoever is assisting you get some background information.

Helping Your Parent

As a victim of neglect and abuse, your parent has been traumatized. They need a way to work through the various emotions that they are feeling. Your parent might feel fear, anger, frustration, depression, etc. You should seek emotional help so that your parent can deal with these emotions, confront what happened, and move on. You should also start gathering evidence of abuse. First, write down what happened and visit a doctor. Contacting a lawyer can help you determine other ways to gather evidence. One benefit of filing a lawsuit is getting compensation for pain and suffering. But, filing a lawsuit is not something that every victim of abuse wants to do. Your parent might decide that the criminal charges brought against the abuser(s) are enough. You should discuss these options with your parent and with a lawyer. This can help you determine the best course of action for your situation.

After reporting suspected abuse, you should remove your loved one from the nursing home. The resident may be resistant to this type of change out of fear that the next nursing home may be worse. It is vital that you remove them from their current nursing home. If one member of the staff is abusing residents, other staff members might also be doing this. This can be an emotional experience. But, it is important to remain calm and manage the situation in a clam and professional manor. By doing so, you will show the nursing home staff that you seek legal action and will work hard to get justice. Additionally, be sure to contact a lawyer who can help you take legal action.