Nursing home abuse is a serious crime and a tragedy that affects millions of people every year. Anyone who suspects nursing home abuse or neglect should consider their options for reporting their suspicions. In this post, we discuss how to report nursing home abuse or neglect.
Nursing home abuse and neglect are often unreported because victims feel embarrassed or afraid. That’s why it is so important that friends, family members, and caregivers recognize the signs of abuse and take measures to stop it.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse
Your first step in reporting your concerns is speaking with nursing home administration. However, if this conversation goes nowhere or you don’t feel like they are taking your concerns seriously, it’s time to report elsewhere.
Here are the options you have for reporting nursing home abuse or neglect:
If you suspect abuse or that a resident’s life is in immediate danger, contact local authorities right away. Calling 911 can help provide immediate response and protection for the elderly. It also serves as a way to document any abuse or neglect in an official way.
Eldercare Advocacy Services
The Eldercare Locator is an advocacy service that helps families find support. From their website, you can search for services in your zip code, or you can call their hotline or online chat with a representative.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman
Every state has a long-term care ombudsman. Ombudsmen are advocates for nursing home residents and their families. The role of an ombudsman is to help residents and their families address complaints or concerns with a facility.
The ombudsman’s office is responsible for:
- Informing residents about changes in nursing home laws
- Listening to concerns from residents and their families
- Supporting residents through administrative or legal action
- Providing information about long-term care services
Adult Protective Services
Every state has an Adult Protective Services department; you can find this information on the website of the National Council on Aging or by calling 1-800-677-1116.
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, you may find it incredibly helpful to contact a nursing home abuse lawyer. A lawyer can help you protect your loved one’s legal rights and determine what possible legal steps you can take.
What to do Before Reporting Abuse
If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, there are a few things to do before you report your concerns to the nursing home or other organizations. Consider the following:
If you observe signs of nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect, you should ask your loved one about the situation. Be aware, however, that even patients who are mentally capable of recognizing the problem and telling someone about it may be reluctant to do so. In some cases, it can be due to fear of retribution from the abuser, and in others it can be due to a misplaced sense of loyalty to nursing home staff, not wanting to be seen as a complainer, or the idea that people should keep a “stiff upper lip” and accept what happens to them.
Speak with Administrators
If when you visit a resident during posted visiting hours a staff member either refuses to allow the visit or delays it – or refuses to leave you alone in the room with the resident – your first step is to discuss this with the facility manager or supervisor. Even if this is not possible during your visit, you should at least leave a note and then follow up with a telephone call at the earliest opportunity.
Unless you have reason to believe the resident’s life is in imminent danger (in which case you need to call 911 immediately), it’s best to confront the nursing home’s administration first. Remember that although you are not taking legal action (yet), the presumption of innocence until proven guilty still applies. Although it is an emotional issue, it is vital that you address the manager or supervisor calmly and professionally – and allow this person to offer explanations or offer to investigate your concerns.
Get Legal Support when Reporting Abuse or Neglect
Reporting nursing home abuse or neglect can cause anxiety. You want what is best for your loved one, and of course, you don’t want to risk their safety and security. That’s why it is so helpful to have the support of a nursing home abuse lawyer when making a report.
At Fight Nursing Home Abuse, we can give you the support you need to protect your loved one and family. Contact us to find out how we can help. Call 866-548-9636 for a free consultation.