What You Can Do About Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse is widespread with the World Health Organization reporting that 1 in 6 people over the age of 60 experienced some form of abuse in 2017. While shocking, the true numbers may be much higher as abuses are often under-reported. This is troubling given the fact that as our society ages, more and more families must rely on nursing homes to care for their elderly family members.
What can families and individuals do to better protect their loved ones who need nursing home care? The best way to prevent nursing home abuse is to stay involved.
4 Ways To Prevent Nursing Home Abuse
It’s easy to feel helpless when it comes to nursing home abuse, but it doesn’t have to be that way. When families remain vigilant and are willing to speak up and take action, we can reduce nursing home abuse and safeguard our elderly.
- Visit Frequently. The most important thing to do is visit your loved one at their facility at least once a week, if not more. Residents who have frequent visitors are far less likely to suffer abuse than those who do not receive visitors. Use this time to visit with your family member but also to observe how staff treat others and how things are run day-to-day. Always ask your loved one how they are feeling and how they are being treated.
- Watch For Signs Of Neglect. Neglect is often the first warning sign that abuse could occur. If residents are not receiving proper medical care, physical and hygienic care, or emotional care, the situation could escalate to abuse. On your visits, inspect the facility for safe and sanitary conditions, adequate staffing, and staff interactions with residents.
- Take Action. If you notice signs of neglect or abuse, you need to report it. A good first step is to speak with the site director, but you may need to escalate your concerns to state and federal authorities. Nursing homes are required by federal law to “report and investigate all allegations of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or mistreatment, including injuries of unknown source, and misappropriation of resident property to the State Agency.” In Florida, this is the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). If the victim is in immediate danger, you may need to have him or her removed from the facility.
- Consult A Nursing Home Abuse Attorney. If you suspect nursing home negligence or abuse but aren’t sure what to do, contact a nursing home abuse attorney. This is especially important if your loved one has suffered an unexplained illness or injury. An experienced nursing home abuse attorney will be able to examine the evidence and advise you of the best course of action.
Taking Action Helps Others
Even though it is hard to come forward, taking action against nursing home abuse and negligence is the best way to stop the mistreatment and to prevent future incidents from happening to your loved one or to others in the facility. By speaking up and banding together, we can force facilities to provide better care and protect this vulnerable population.
The Beregovich Law Firm helps families investigate suspicions of nursing home abuse and negligence and represents victims and their families in nursing home lawsuits to recover compensation for the injuries sustained. If you have any questions or concerns about nursing home abuse in Florida, contact our firm at (800) 631-9009 or email us to schedule a consultation.