Nursing homes are supposed to be calm, loving, healthy places for people who are aging or can no longer care for themselves to live their lives. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. In fact, thousands of residents file abuse complaints related to nursing homes each year. If you suspect your loved one may be suffering the same fate, there are ways you can take action.
Make a Note if You See Signs of Abuse
If you think a loved one is being abused in a nursing home, take notes about the incidents you see by keeping them in a phone memo or a notebook. There are several things to look for that may indicate abuse. Frequent or unexplained bruises, cuts, or broken bones are the most common. Your loved one may also seem dehydrated or malnourished, appear to be uneasy around staff, or withdraw from activities, or have unexplained changes in mood. If you have your phone handy, take pictures of any visible injuries as well.
Look at the Nursing Home’s Medical Records
If your loved one’s nursing home is part of the Medicare or Medicaid programs, its medical records are available for the public to review. You can read through them to look for inconsistencies, such as injuries with no explanation, overuse of medication, or unnecessary treatments. Other things to look for include records of complications related to poor care, like patients who suffered bedsores, malnutrition, or dehydration. Although harder to find without legal help, you may also be able to review the nursing home’s licenses and inspection records. This may show you whether it has a history of complaints. Keep in mind that some homes are not licensed and advertise services as if they are, so it is important to be diligent.
See if You Can Get Witness Statements
Getting witness statements is sometimes difficult because people tend to have trouble speaking up about abuse. However, if you can get them, they can be very beneficial as proof. While some may not be comfortable talking about it for fear of retaliation, some residents may talk to you if you suspect they’re being abused. Other visitors are another option. Finally, if there is a member of the staff who you trust, he or she may be willing to provide information.
Hire a Lawyer To Help You
Accessing medical records, licenses, or other important documents can be difficult on your own, and documenting the abuse can be stressful, especially if you don’t know what to do with the information afterward. The best idea is to hire a nursing home neglect lawyer like one from Davis & Brusca, LLC to assist you with your case. Contact a licensed and experienced lawyer to help you get the proof you need and determine how to take action and protect your loved one.