Reporting Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse

By on September 16, 2020
Nursing home

Unfortunately, sometimes placing an elderly relative in a nursing home results in tragedy. Reports of nursing home abuse and neglect are on the news almost daily, and many times it goes unreported for months or even years, particularly when family or friends are not around to keep an eye on things. Not all nursing homes are bad, but abuse can happen even in the homes with the highest ratings.

Nursing home abuse is a terrible problem in the United States. There are over five million cases of nursing home abuse and neglect each year. This number will only go down when more people actively report this tragic crime.

What Is Considered Abuse?

Many things fall under the umbrella of abuse. Some of the more common types of abuse are physical, mental, medical, legal, neglectful, and financial. Each of these types of abuse can occur in long and short-term care facilities. 

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Signs of Neglect or Abuse

The signs of long-term care neglect or abuse are not always apparent. Some types of abuse do not show on the surface. Physical abuse and neglect are the easiest to spot. They have outward signs that can be documented and reported. Other types of abuse, such as medical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse, have little or no outward signs.

Signs for these are normally severe or worsening symptoms, depression, and fear of caregivers. Since these are also symptoms of various other end-of-life issues, they might be passed off as a normal progression or mental impairment. Unfortunately, this is how many types of abuse are missed by caregivers, friends, and relatives

Who Is Vulnerable?

Our most vulnerable populations have a mental illness such as dementia, and those who are physically incapacitated. These are people who cannot fend for themselves or report the abuse on their own. Those with behavioral abnormalities are another vulnerable population. They may report abuse but are not taken seriously due to the abnormality. All too often, reports of abuse are passed off as a symptom of an illness or reason that they are in long-term care. 

How to Report Long-Term Care Abuse

Reporting long-term care abuse is an extremely important step in stopping it. You start by reporting it to the facility. You can tell a supervisor, director, social worker, doctor or administrator. 

If the abuse continues, then you will need to escalate the report. You do this by calling your state’s long-term care facility or elder abuse agency and making a formal report. By law, the state agency has to investigate any report of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, this might not always be enough. 

In cases of abuse or neglect that do not stop when reported, you need to take even more extreme action. You will need to take legal action against the nursing home. This means hiring a lawyer and actively suing the nursing home agency or parent company.

The epidemic of nursing home violations must stop. The only way you can stop it is by reporting nursing home neglect and abuse when you see it and following up on your reports.

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Reporting Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse