Nursing Home Abuse Reporting Options
Nursing home abuse is a serious crime that can quickly worsen and even turn deadly if not stopped. There are many avenues through which you can report nursing home abuse. These include local, state, and national agencies.
Nursing home abuse can also be reported by:
- Calling a nursing home abuse hotline
- Connecting with a long-term care ombudsman
- Contacting your state’s adult protective services (APS)
- Working with doctors and other medical personnel
By reporting suspected abuse, you can open an investigation into an older person’s well-being. You may even be able to hold nursing facilities legally accountable if they harmed your loved one.
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Nursing Home Abuse Types and Warning Signs
Nursing home abuse often brings physical harm to mind. That said, the definition is much broader. There are many types of nursing home abuse.
Along with physical harm, nursing home abuse can include:
- Emotional abuseThis includes mental anguish caused by insults or threats
- Financial abuseStealing a nursing home resident’s money through scams
- NeglectA lack of care for a nursing home patient’s safety or health care needs
- Sexual abuseTaking advantage of an older person sexually through coercion, force, or abusing their inability to provide consent
Examples of physical and emotional signs of nursing home abuse are listed in the lists below.Physical Warning Signs
- Broken bones, bruises, and welts
- Cuts, burns, and sores
- Missing medical devices such as hearing aids, glasses, and medications
- Poor nutrition and dehydration
- Changes in behavior or sleep
- Fear or anxiety
Have you noticed signs of nursing home abuse? Contact us today by calling (800) 896-7040.
Documenting Warning Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse
If you think a loved one is being harmed, note any possible signs the moment your suspicions are raised. Noting the signs of nursing home abuse can make the reporting process easier later on.
It can also strengthen the case if it results in a criminal case or nursing home abuse lawsuit.
To start, write down when you first noticed negative changes in your loved one and include as much detail as possible (including dates and times).
It may also be helpful to take photos as evidence if you think your loved one is suffering from neglect or physical abuse.
How To Report Nursing Home Abuse
Once you have noted possible signs of nursing home abuse, you can report them to the proper authorities. Below, learn more about the options to report nursing home abuse and which ones may best fit for your situation.
An ombudsman serves as a middleman between long-term care facilities and residents. They protect the rights of nursing home patients and resolve issues concerning their health and safety.
All states and several territories were granted a long-term care ombudsman program under 1972’s Older Americans Act.
Ombudsmen are responsible for:
- Addressing resident complaints of poor treatment, neglect, or abuse
- Educating older people about their rights and available resources
- Recommending changes in laws and rules based on their daily experiences with older Americans
You can find your state’s ombudsman through the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. From there, your concerns and complaints can be addressed through an investigation.
Local authorities such as the police or your state’s Adult Protective Services (APS) branch, are both great options to report nursing home abuse.
The police can help you take immediate action if an elder has been seriously harmed — or if their life is in danger — due to abuse.
Law enforcement may be able to file criminal charges for:
- Assault or homicide
- Emotional abuse or harassment
- Sexual or financial coercion
If you think an older loved one might be suffering from abuse or neglect, you can call your APS branch. A social worker can note the details of the case and reach out to the elder if needed.
To find phone numbers for local branches of the APS, visit the National Adult Protective Services Association website.
The Eldercare Locator is a federal service sponsored by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It connects seniors to local resources such as housing, health care, and other government programs.
Learn more by calling the toll-free elder and nursing home abuse hotline at 1-800-677-1116. Operators are standing by Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. eastern time. You may also visit eldercare.acl.gov.
National Center on Elder Abuse
Established in 1988, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) is a hub of information and resources. This advocacy group works to make it easier to spot abuse through education and training. It also lobbies for policy changes to improve the quality of life for elders.
Through the NCEA, you can learn how to:
- Connect with local elder support resources
- Identify and report nursing home abuse
- Spread awareness about elder abuse
Doctors and Medical Experts
It can be hard to know the difference between symptoms of normal aging and mistreatment. Problems like bruised skin, frequent falls, and dehydration are not always evidence of neglect or abuse. This is where a medical expert’s opinion can help.
“[Doctors] are in a unique place to be able to comprehensively look at a patient. They have an opportunity to identify elder abuse and to reach out to the community or make appropriate referrals to break the cycle of violence or neglect.”
Doctors and nurses can examine patients for physical signs of abuse. They may also notice emotional changes or spot signs of financial abuse in some cases.
Every state has regulations so people can file confidential elder abuse reports, according to the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA). Anonymous reporting of nursing home abuse is also available in select states.
Under state rules, those who report abuse will have their identities kept safe unless they consent to reveal it or a court orders them to do so. They are also protected from retaliation or legal action.
Ignoring abuse carries serious penalties. Nursing home abuse may only worsen if left unchecked, meaning your loved one could continue to suffer.
Further, staff members who ignore abuse may be fired, lose their medical license, or get arrested. Health care workers also can face civil lawsuits for abuse or negligence.
Find out what steps you can take if you or a loved one experienced nursing home abuse. Call (800) 896-7040.
Next Steps To Report Nursing Home Abuse
By reporting nursing home abuse, you and your family members can begin to heal from the harm brought to you. Reporting abuse also helps bring those responsible to justice and prevents them from harming others.
If you have questions or concerns about reporting nursing home abuse, connect with our team. Our Patient Advocates can assess possible cases of nursing home abuse or neglect and recommend next steps for you to take.
You can also learn if financial compensation is available to cover medical treatments and other expenses.
Get started today with a free case review.
Questions About Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
How do you investigate nursing home abuse?
You can investigate nursing home abuse by regularly checking in on residents you love.
If you notice any negative changes in their physical appearance, mood, or finances, take note of them in as much detail as possible. With care, ask your loved one what happened if they are able to communicate. You may also want to take pictures or videos if relevant.
Finally, you can report your findings to the proper authorities who can launch a formal investigation.
How do I report negligence in a nursing home?
You can report negligence in a nursing home to an ombudsman. Nursing home ombudsmen are trained to resolve complaints about poor care that leads to neglect. An ombudsman can work with you and the nursing home to address the problem.
If nursing home neglect led to severe injuries or death, you may also want to report it to local authorities like the police. Remember, an extreme case of abuse or neglect may be considered a crime.
How do I report a nursing home to the state?
This varies depending on the state you live in. Every state has a State Survey Agency that accepts complaints. Many of these agencies have their own websites where complaints can be filed. Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico also have websites where people can report nursing home abuse.
Access the list of State Survey Agency websites and see how you can report nursing home abuse in your state.
What information is required when reporting nursing home abuse?
This depends on the specific factors in your case, however, it’s typically helpful to collect and provide as much information as possible. This allows investigators to better understand what happened.
Learn more about what you’ll need to file a report by speaking with an ombudsman, police officer, or nursing home abuse law firm.