You suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a common occurrence. Studies show that at least one in ten elderly people in group settings suffer some form of abuse or neglect.
If you have your suspicions, here are the 6 steps to take:
Remain Calm — It’s natural to get emotional and angry. However, you want to avoid doing or saying something that you will regret later. If you are going to be an effective advocate for your loved one, you can’t let your emotions get the best of you.
Gather Evidence — if there is visible evidence of neglect or abuse, you need to capture that evidence. For example, if your family member has bruising, ulcers, or signs of dehydration, you need to take photos of this. We also recommend videoing the signs of abuse if you are able to do so. The injuries your loved one sustained may get better with time, so it’s important to make sure you have evidence of how bad the injuries were.
Ask for a Meeting — Make contact with the nursing home administrator and the director of nursing. Ask for a meeting. At the meeting, express your concerns. Ask that they do an internal investigation of the issue. If you don’t get straight answers after this meeting, then it’s time to take further action.
Contact the ADPH — If you believe your family member is being abused and the nursing home is not taking proper action, you can make a complaint with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) by going to their nursing home complaint site . The ADPH is supposed to investigate all complaints of nursing home abuse and neglect. If deficiencies are discovered, the nursing home will have to take corrective action.
Contact an Ombudsman — in north Alabama, where we practice, there is an ombudsman program through TARCOG. The ombudsman program is designed to resolve disputes between nursing home residents, their family, and the nursing home.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer — if your loved one has suffered physical injury or death as a result of nursing home abuse or negligence, contact an attorney who specializes in these cases. If you haven’t been able to get the truth, a lawyer will do so in the litigation process.