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Steps to take if you suspect nursing home abuse

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | Firm News

About 5 million older adults in the United States experience abuse at nursing homes each year, according to the National Council on Aging. This alarming number highlights the troubling issues occurring within the confines of nursing homes, where families expect the highest standard of care for their aging loved ones.  

While realizing that a loved one may be suffering abuse within a nursing home is a significantly disturbing discovery, it is also an urgent call to action for everyone to protect the community’s most vulnerable members. Faced with suspected abuse in a care facility, what can families do to protect the safety and rights of their loved ones?  

Recognize the signs of abuse  

Abuse and neglect have devastating effects on older people and can manifest both physically and mentally. Symptoms can range from the most obvious signs, like bruises or cuts, to less apparent psychological indications, such as sudden fearfulness, severe anxiety or depression. Malnutrition, poor hygiene, unexplained weight loss and financial irregularities are also telltale signs of neglect. Recognizing the signs of abuse can help families know the next steps necessary to protect their loved ones.  

Document everything  

Meticulous documentation must be carried out as soon as suspicions of abuse arise. Look into every detail related to the potential signs of abuse, including dates and times when injuries or behavioral changes became apparent. Photographs of injuries or their living conditions, along with detailed notes from the affected individual about their experiences, are invaluable pieces of evidence.  

Report the abuse

Call 911 as soon as suspicions of abuse and neglect emerge. This is the quickest and most guaranteed way to protect loved ones from harm in a care facility. Like many areas in the US, Ohio has specific agencies and hotlines dedicated to addressing reports of elder abuse. Prompt reporting ensures the abuse is investigated and the appropriate actions are implemented.   

Furthermore, consulting with a legal professional specializing in elder law can significantly help families navigate the challenging legal terrain involving abuse and neglect at care facilities. An experienced attorney can help families collect the proper evidence and ensure their loved one’s well-being and rights are represented and protected.