If you, or someone you know, are under the impression that their loved one is facing nursing home abuse — your number one concern is stopping the abuse, and getting them to a safe place. No one deserves to face abuse, especially in a nursing home. A nursing home is supposed to be a safe place, a home, and a comfortable atmosphere. When a nursing home becomes the exact opposite of that, it’s time to make a change. But where do you start? And, most importantly, how do you report and end the abuse?
Nursing Home Abuse: Reporting An Incident
This type of abuse can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. It is not uncommon that an elderly patient is alone for long periods of time. Therefore, when a family member does appear— they likely will not think much of weight loss, a lack of communicating, or emotional withdrawal. Aside from this factor, there is also the consideration that many elderly people will suffer from memory loss. Therefore, there is the possibility that they are facing abuse and simply, do not remember.
Nursing home abuse is not just physical
Another reason that nursing home abuse can be difficult to diagnose is because it doesn’t always mean physical abuse. There are cases of this. But, there are also plenty of cases where a family member or employee is taking advantage of them sexually, financially, or by neglect.
What are some signs of nursing home abuse? There are plenty of them, and you can find a more in-depth piece on that here. But, a few things to watch out for are: emotional withdrawal, rapid weight loss, withdrawal, bedsores, bruises, sudden changes in power of attorney or will… the list goes on and on.
How do I report?
Depending on the state in which you live, the information you need may vary. For general inquiries, you can call the Eldercare Locator at (800) 677- 1116 and they will be able to guide you by state. But, if you’d rather look at print resources, you can go to the National Center on Elder Abuse, here, and check out their resources page. It will give you who to call, what your next step should be, and people that can help.
These are great steps to take, and very much in the right direction. But if there is severe, repetitive abuse occurring— call your local law enforcement as a first step.