Families trust nursing homes with the care and safety of their older relatives. Unfortunately, that trust is often betrayed when nursing home staff and administrators fail to provide adequate care for their residents. Nursing home abuse and neglect can happen at any facility, which is why family members must always be on guard for the signs of mistreatment. Here are four things you should do if you suspect your family member is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect.
Talk to Your Family Member and the Staff at the Facility
If you think something is amiss at a nursing home, talking to your family member is the best place to start. They can tell you directly about issues at the nursing home that affect them or situations they feel are causes for concern. You should also talk to the nursing home staff about potential problems. Most facilities have an ombudsman whose job it is to listen to the concerns of patients and family members, then research the circumstances. A situation that may seem like abuse or neglect at first glance may have a reasonable explanation. Also, knowing the arguments a nursing home will make to defend their practices can be useful information to have when making an official complaint.
Takes Notes and Make Records of Potential Evidence
Evidence is important when trying to address issues related to nursing home abuse and neglect. Staff members and administrators will almost always defend their actions. You need to avoid a situation where it’s the word of your family member against the word of the nursing home. Keep records of potential evidence that can be used to back up your claim later. If you visit and the facility looks understaffed, make a note of the time and date. If your relative has unexplained marks and bruises, take a photo. These records could become the deciding factors if you have to take your claim to trial.
File a Complaint
Family members need to report potential cases of elder abuse and neglect to the proper authorities. The state may give the facility a fine and force them to make changes to their procedures. Doing so ensures that the nursing home addresses issues before another resident is hurt by substandard care. Furthermore, families use these reports to determine which facility they should choose for their older relatives. When elder abuse and neglect go unreported, nursing homes don’t have the same incentive to make changes to address problems.
Talk to a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
If your family member has been the victim of elder abuse or neglect, you may wish to seek compensation for the physical and emotional damage they suffered. Speaking to a qualified nursing home abuse attorney can help you decide if your situation warrants a legal claim. Lawsuits for nursing home abuse and neglect are essential for getting facilities to take corrective action. When substandard procedures begin to cost the facility money, nursing home administrators make immediate changes before they get sued again.
If you have questions related to a possible case of elder abuse or neglect, the Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. can help. We’ve been fighting nursing home abuse and neglect in North Florida for more than 25 years and know how to achieve the best outcomes for our clients. Send us a message online to schedule a free consultation.