Investigating Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
Family members may spot signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. These are often the first cue that something is wrong and that an investigation should be undertaken. Some warning signs of abuse include:
- Tension between the nursing home caregiver and the elder
- Changes in the patient’s personality or behavior
- Unexplained signs of physical injury
- Broken eyeglasses
- The elder is isolated from friends and family
- Observation of a caregiver using threatening or intimidating language
- Regressive behaviors such as rocking or the elder sucking his or her thumb
Financial abuse can also occur at nursing homes. This type of abuse may be discovered by transactional cues, such as large withdrawals from the elder’s account, several smaller withdrawals, unpaid bills, additional names being added to an account or a change in the elder’s estate plan.
Additionally, some additional signs of nursing home neglect include unusual weight loss, the presence of bed sores, unsafe living conditions such as no heat or running water and going for periods of time without being bathed.
Steps for Investigations Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
Family members who are concerned about a loved one may be able to receive assistance from a nursing home neglect lawyer. He or she may conduct interviews with people who are around the resident, such as the nursing home staff, his or her family members, and the resident. Other residents may also be questioned about the incidences in question. The lawyer may also review other evidence that supports the claim, such as medical records, photographs, recent injury reports completed by the nursing home or the prescribing of certain medications.
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse
If abuse is suspected, the next step may be to find a more appropriate facility for the elder to be admitted to. The family can discuss with their nursing home neglect lawyer whether to report the nursing home abuse to the facility directly or to state regulatory agencies. Reporting the suspected abuse to the authorities may be able to help other residents as well as demonstrate the loved one’s concern for the elder. The authorities may be able to take action to prevent their recurrence.