The decision to put your elderly loved one in a nursing home one was difficult, but it was for the best. They deserve to live their sunset years in peace and dignity. You expect the nursing home you put them in to treat their patients with care, compassion, and the utmost professionalism. You have been shocked to learn that just the opposite has been the case; that your elderly loved one has been abused by the people who should have been looking after them.
The Nature of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home abuse consists of intentional or unintentional acts that lead to the harm of patients. Physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse are among the most common types. Your loved one is unlikely to tell you straight out that they are being abused. You must instead watch for certain signs.
If every time you visit your loved one there is mark, bruise, or scratch that cannot be explained, it may be an indication that your loved one is being physically abused. Soiled clothing, a strong and persistent stench, and sores throughout their body indicates that they are being neglected.
If your loved one is suddenly withdrawn or randomly lashes out in anger, it may be a sign that they are being emotionally or sexually abused.
The financial abuse of the elderly is the most underreported crime in America. If you notice the sudden depletion of your loved one’s bank account or missing Social Security and pension checks, it may be an indication that your loved one is being robbed by a member of staff. Indeed, there is a whole line of criminals who join the nursing home profession just to get access to vulnerable old people.
What to do About It
Your first move should be to report the abuse to the management. If they blow you off or give you an answer that does not add up, then you should hire a lawyer. You should not wait to long before doing this. In fact, if you suspect that the management is complicit in the abuse, you may want to go straight to a lawyer. Otherwise, you risk giving them time to destroy evidence and transfer the people involved in the abuse and the cover-up.
A lawyer who specializes in nursing home abuse cases will know how to get your elderly loved one to open-up about what they have suffered. Your loved one may not speak to you, but they may be willing to speak to a stranger who knows the right questions to ask. Your lawyer will also interview nursing home staff who may have wanted to speak out but were too afraid to. Other patients and former patients will also be interviewed and brought forth to offer testimony.
The nursing home has an obligation to properly screen the people they hire and put in safeguards to prevent abuse. Failure to do so leads to the kinds of harm your loved one has been forced to suffer.
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