When you and your family make the decision to place your elderly family member in a nursing home or assisted living facility, you are entrusting their well-being to people you believe will care for them with respect and compassion. In most cases, nursing homes and assisted living facilities do provide quality care for elderly individuals whose families cannot personally care for them.
However, nursing home abuse and neglect does occur. If you suspect that your loved one may be experiencing harm while in the care of a facility, it is critical that you take steps to ensure their health and safety.
First Steps When You Suspect Abuse
When you are faced with a situation where your trust has been broken and you suspect abuse or neglect, the shock and betrayal can be devastating. It is natural to feel anger when someone you love is being hurt, but it is important that you remain calm and proceed in a rational manner so that the situation can be resolved safely.
Take Detailed Notes
If you suspect that your loved one may be experiencing abuse or neglect while in the care of a nursing home, it is vital that you document your suspicions. Take notes and photograph everything that seems relevant, including the time and date of any incidents you witness or your loved one reports to you. Make sure to write down the name of any staff members involved as well.
Taking detailed notes will help you provide evidence of any abuse or neglect that may be occurring, as well as help ensure steps are taken to protect your loved one from further harm.
Additionally, by taking careful and organized notes, you can create an accurate timeline of events, which could help identify patterns of behavior and determine who is responsible. Documenting any conversations with staff members at the facility can also prove useful if legal action needs to be taken at a later point.
The first step you should take if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect is to question the nursing home staff and contact the facility's management. It’s possible that a staff member or manager may be able to provide an explanation that will help alleviate your concerns.
You should also discuss your suspicions with your loved one in a private setting, if possible. While this may be a difficult conversation, it is best to be gentle, but direct and specific with your questions. Share your concerns and let them know that you care and are worried for them.
If your concerns are dismissed or you do not receive reasonable explanations, then it may be necessary to take further action. If there is clear evidence of abuse or you are fearful that your relative is in imminent danger of harm, call the police immediately. You can also report the abuse to Massachusetts Elder Protective Services either online or by calling (800) 922-2275.
You can and should call the local Ombudsman who is responsible for investigating elder care abuse and neglect at long-term care facilities. Nursing homes are required by law to post the name and phone number of the local Ombudsman.
Call Percy Law Group, PC
If your loved one has been harmed while in the care of a nursing home, our experienced nursing home neglect lawyers at Percy Law Group, PC can help ensure that those liable are brought to justice. We have years of experience working on elder abuse cases and understand the sensitive nature of these claims. We can help you build a strong case and fight insurance companies that will want to resolve the matter with as little cost to themselves as possible.
Nursing homes have a legal duty to provide appropriate care for their patients, and we are committed to providing compassionate and zealous legal representation to our clients to help ensure that they obtain proper compensation when that duty is breached.
Contact us online or call us at (508) 206-9900 to schedule a free consultation.