Sending a loved one to live in a nursing home can be a hard decision for everyone involved. It means your loved one can't care for him or herself any longer and would best benefit from 24-hour care. What some people may not realize, however, is that some nursing homes neglect and even abuse residents. If you think this could be happening, you should get involved right away. Here is what you need to know:
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
If you have never seen nursing home abuse, you may not recognize it right away. Elderly people can easily fall and have bruises almost instantly. If you are told your loved one took a fall, it would not be odd to see bruises. However, you need to keep your eyes open.
While physical abuse is one of the most common forms of nursing home abuse, you also need to be aware of other ways nursing home staff can harm elderly people. For instance, overmedicating, under medicating, verbal abuse, and financial abuse are just a few other ways nursing home residents are victimized. Even sexual abuse is common in some nursing homes. This primarily happens to those who are unable to talk or so far into the late stages of dementia that they cannot say anything about the treatment.
What Should You Do?
Before you take any sort of legal action, get your loved one out of the facility right away. If you cannot find another facility in the short-term, have your loved one stay with you or another family member temporarily. When you search for a facility, make note of its proximity to be certain family members can easily pop in unannounced and check in.
You then need to call your lawyer. Your lawyer will discuss with you the rights both you and your loved one have. You may even be advised to call the local law enforcement based on the level of abuse.
Once the criminal charges are filed, you have the option to also pursue civil action. Doing so will help you recover punitive damages for your loved one. You will need evidence to prove the damages, including pictures or videos of the injuries, any medical records which show a downward slope in health, financial records in which the staff took money from the resident, and so on.
If you suspect nursing home abuse, you need to be in touch with a criminal lawyer who specializes in nursing home abuse cases as soon as possible.