Did you know about 1.5 million people are living in nursing homes and 1 million elders in assisted living in the USA?
Seniors move to nursing homes because they may need more care than their loved ones can give them. Unfortunately, the place that’s supposed to care for them isn’t always the safest.
Nursing home abuse occurs way too often and goes unreported much of the time. It’s vital to report nursing home abuse if it’s suspected. Keep reading to learn more.
Signs and Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse isn’t always bumps and bruises. There are other types of abuse besides physical harm.
Nursing home abuse can also include:
- Neglect – This can occur when the nursing home fails to care for the resident properly. Health needs are not met.
- Emotional abuse – This can include threats that cause anxiety.
- Sexual abuse – Engaging in sexual contact through force or because the resident lacks the ability to consent.
- Financial abuse – Taking money from the nursing home resident.
There may be signs of abuse that you should watch out for. Physical warning signs include broken bones, cuts, burns, or sores. Patients may also suffer from poor nutrition and dehydration.
Emotional warning signs of abuse may manifest with changes in behavior. People may have new fears, anxiety, or depression.
Odd changes in a resident’s will or strange financial transactions may be signs of financial abuse.
If you suspect nursing home abuse, it’s important to start documenting it as soon as it’s noticed. Document changes in behavior and provide photo evidence, if possible. It may be good to talk to others that may have seen the abuse.
Documentation can help if a nursing home abuse lawsuit gets filed.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse
Once you suspect nursing home neglect or abuse, you must report it to the proper authorities. It can be a hard process to prove how abuse or neglect occurred for your loved one.
This happens because family members aren’t around all the time and visits sometimes are short. Indicators of abuse are more obvious when family/friends visit frequently.
How to Report a Nursing Home to the State
You can file a complaint with the Bureau of Certification Complaint Hot Line. Then a thorough investigation will be conducted.
Long Term Care Ombudsman
You can contact your long-term care ombudsman to report nursing home neglect or abuse.
Ombudsmen are advocates for nursing home residents and their family members.
You may contact local authorities such as police or adult protective services. There are local Adult Protective Services in South Carolina. If there is a serious imminent threat calling 911 is the best recommendation.
Calling 911 will bring a quick response to the abuse situation. This is important if the resident needs immediate medical care.
If there is no danger, then it’s best to report nursing home abuse through other organizations.
Doctors or Medical Expert
A doctor can determine if your loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse. It’s sometimes tricky to know if it’s abuse or normal signs of aging/disease. An elderly presenting with bruised skin or dehydration is not always abused.
It’s important to have the resident evaluated by a medical professional.
National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA)
NAPSA provides Adult Protective Services (APS) with a space to share information. They help solve problems and better the quality of life for victims of elder abuse.
Their goal is to build up APS at all levels. By doing so, they’ll recognize, report, and respond to the needs of elders who suffer from abuse or neglect.
National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) will help seniors find resources to aid them if abuse occurs.
The NCEA advocates and trains people on how to spot abuse. They speak out to help with the quality of life for seniors.
Eldercare Locator is a service that helps elderly Americans with resources for support. They can help with your state and local agencies for the aging.
After the Reporting of Abuse
If a formal complaint gets made, the facility has to take action to stop the abuse. The state will also visit without warning.
Once you report the abuse, these are the next steps you should take.
- You should move your loved one to a new nursing home. Investigate the ones you are leaning towards.
- Talk to other family members that have loved ones in the new nursing home. You can ask how they feel about the care their family member is receiving.
- Try to find a new nursing home that is close to a family member. If the nursing home is close then visiting often will help lessen nursing home abuse.
Your loved one may not want to leave their current nursing home. They’ll miss the friends they’ve made. You can explain that it’s in their best interest.
You may want to look into hiring a nursing home abuse lawyer.
Protect Your Loved Ones
You and your loved ones have been through an ordeal. No elder should have to fall victim to abuse from those that should care for them.
It’s important to report nursing home abuse when it’s confirmed. Our elderly loved ones are depending on us to help them.
Legal action may be a good next option if the nursing home has not taken steps to improve.
Have you or a loved one experienced nursing home abuse in South Carolina? We can help.
Burriss and Ridgeway will help begin your healing journey by getting justice for your loved one. We understand the emotional toll it’s been and want to help with moving forward.
Give Burriss and Ridgeway a call today and we’ll fight for you.