When people think of nursing home neglect, they often think of understaffing, falls and bedsores. However, neglect can also look like the majority of the workers at a facility turning a blind eye when someone there abuses residents.
Those in memory care centers, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that provide support for aging and vulnerable older adults are often completely dependent on the people who provide them with care and are at risk of numerous types of abuse, as well as neglect and a failure to meet their basic needs.
Obviously, you want your loved one to receive appropriate care and support when they live in a nursing home or similar space. What can you do when you suspect abuse at the facility?
Start keeping detailed records
One of the most important ways to validate your suspicions of abuses is to create a record of all of the details that gave rise to those suspicions. For example, every time that you visit and you notice that your loved one has an unexplainable injury, you can take photos with your phone and keep notes in a journal. The same is true of any time your loved one openly tells you that they endured some kind of misconduct.
Look into alternative arrangements
The worse the abuse seems to be, the more important it becomes for you to act quickly to protect your loved one. You may need to make arrangements to move them out of that facility into a space where they will receive appropriate care instead of mistreatment. Of course, such changes often prove prohibitively expensive and may not be possible as quickly as you would like.
Inform facility management
Many people prefer to move their loved one out of a dangerous elder care facility before involving management because they worry about retaliation. Even staff members not initially involved in the abuse may begin mistreating your loved one when they know about the complaint you have made. In scenarios where it truly seems to only be one worker, you may be able to go to management if you have adequate records.
Bring a legal claim
Neglect and abuse in nursing homes are actionable failures on the part of the facility. Sometimes, their insurance providers may pay a claim to those affected by staff misconduct. Other times, you may need to take a facility or its owners to court in order to secure compensation for the cost your family incurred and the suffering your loved one endured.
Realizing you are the one who has to speak up can be one of the biggest challenges when addressing nursing home neglect and abuse.