What can you do if you suspect your loved one is being abused? Federal and state laws require that nursing homes maintain high safety standards. Yet, some nursing homes continue to place residents in environments where improper supervision and inadequate training create dangerous scenarios. Your first defense in protecting your loved one is to understand what constitutes abuse.
The Administration on Aging (AOA) defines abuse as "any knowing, intentional, or negligent act.” This may include:
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
If you sense an elderly nursing home patient is in danger, do what you can to move the person to a safe place, and do not leave him or her alone. Call the local police to report the incident. Report your concerns to the nursing supervisor or ombudsman as well; then, contact a skilled nursing home neglect attorney who can advise you and protect your loved one’s nursing home rights.
Recording the Abuse
- Keeping a written record of any potential abuse can be very helpful in proving your suspicions.
- Dressings that have not been changed in a timely fashion, dirty undergarments, clothing, or linens, failure to bathe the patient, and evidence of physical trauma should be recorded. Take photographs of any dirty or unsanitary conditions.
- Take photographs of bruises, cuts or odd marks on the skin.
- With each incident, include the date and time of your visit and the names of others who were in the room.
- Record the contact information for any resident sharing a room with your loved one. The roommate’s family may witness an incident when you are not present.
- Ask for copies of your loved one’s medical records. Your loved one is entitled to this information under the law.
Fighting for the Rights of Nursing Home Residents
If you report nursing home abuse to the administrators or an ombudsman and no action is taken, contact the appropriate state agency and request an investigation.
Most importantly, seek immediate legal counsel for any suspected physical
or emotional trauma or death.
You have the right to seek advice from the attorney of your choice. At Cullan & Cullan, we offer a free case evaluation to make it easier to get the help you need.
In Phoenix, Arizona, Gene Cullan and Sam Cullan are AV-rated trial attorneys. Cullan & Cullan will put their years of expertise and education to work for you to determine the best solution. Please contact us today to schedule your free confidential consultation.