If you have evidence that someone is facing nursing home abuse or neglect, act immediately. Whether you’re a caregiver, loved one or resident, reporting nursing home abuse quickly protects the victim from further harm.
In a nursing home where several people are involved in the care of residents, it’s easy for signs of abuse and neglect to be missed. Elders may be scared to report abuse and are often left feeling helpless. It’s crucial for anyone with evidence of abuse or neglect to step in and protect the victim.
You have the power to stop abuse and hold people accountable for their harmful actions. Acting quickly and knowing who to turn to can save lives. If you suspect that someone is the victim of nursing home abuse, here’s what you can do.
What Signs of Nursing Home Abuse Should I Report?
Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many forms, including physical harm, psychological abuse, financial exploitation, neglect or sexual abuse.
Look out for warning signs of abuse in all of these areas. Unsanitary living conditions or lack of necessary medical care could indicate neglect. Physical abuse may result in obvious visible bodily harm. Psychological abuse can be trickier to spot, sometimes showing up as a change in behavior. Financial exploitation is often at play when victims cannot afford treatments or nursing home comforts.
Document any signs that may be evidence of abuse. Note down changes in behavior, take pictures of injuries and record statements from the victim and witnesses. These records can help authorities tackle your case more quickly.
Resources for Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
If you notice any signs of abuse, voice your concerns right away. There are several resources to help you report any suspected forms of elder abuse.
Here are some of your best options for reporting abuse and neglect.
Emergency 911 and the Local Police
If you ever suspect that someone is in immediate danger of physical harm, call 911 immediately. Even if it is not a life-threatening emergency, contact your local police to make a report. Don’t wait until a tragedy occurs. Reaching out to law enforcement will trigger an investigation so police officers can determine what needs to be done to help the victim.
Nursing Home Administration
You can also report your concerns to the nursing home administration to get your complaints on file. Medicare or Medicaid-certified nursing homes must follow a grievance procedure for addressing complaints. For example, you can file a grievance complaint if you’re concerned about how staff at the facility are behaving towards residents.
Unfortunately, nursing home administrative staff are not always responsive to complaints. Administrators may not want to report cases of abuse or neglect to authorities out of fear that their nursing home will be the subject of a costly investigation.
Local Adult Protective Services
Contact your local Adult Protective Services (APS) agency to report any issues or concerns you have, no matter how large or small. APS workers will investigate suspected neglect, abuse and exploitation against older adults or those with disabilities. If APS determines that abuse may be happening, they will meet with the victim in person to assess what needs to be done to protect their wellbeing.
Certain professionals are required by law to report any suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation to APS.
Nursing Home Ombudsperson
Long-term care ombudspeople are advocates for nursing home residents. These professionals are trained to assist people with their concerns about the long-term care system and work with various professionals to resolve complaints. Their primary goal is to improve quality of care for the elderly.
An ombudsperson will handle a variety of concerns, such as:
- Abuse or neglect
- Lack of respect for residents
- Poor quality of care
- Improper discharge or transfer
Consult With an Attorney Experienced in Nursing Home Cases
Victims of nursing home abuse or neglect should not be left to fend for themselves. It is up to staff, caregivers, family members, doctors and other residents to report nursing home abuse to the authorities.
It’s a good idea to consult an attorney who has experience working on nursing home abuse cases. An attorney can help you report suspected abuse to the right authorities and ensure the problem is handled correctly. If your report turns into a civil or criminal case, you’ll want a qualified lawyer on your side.
Seek the advice of an experienced attorney who can help keep your loved one safe and deliver justice to those who deserve it. Contact Nursing Home Abuse Justice for more information on reporting nursing home abuse and exploring your legal options.
- “Reporting Nursing Home Injuries and Abuse” NOLO. Retrieved from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/reporting-nursing-home-injuries-abuse.html. Accessed on March 15, 2019.
- “Reporting & resolving nursing home problems” Medicare.gov. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/what-part-a-covers/reporting-resolving-nursing-home-problems. Accessed on March 15, 2019.
- “How to Identify Elder Abuse and How to Report It” A Place for Mom. Retrieved from https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/for-professionals/2-26-16-identifying-elder-abuse/. Accessed on March 15, 2019.
- “About Ombudsman Program” National Consumer Voice. Retrieved from https://ltcombudsman.org/about/about-ombudsman#Ombudsman. Accessed on March 15, 2019.
- “What is Adult Protective Services?” NAPSA. Retrieved from http://www.napsa-now.org/get-help/how-aps-helps/. Accessed on March 15, 2019.