What to do if abuse is suspected in a nursing home

Suspected nursing home neglect or abuse can be an upsetting situation to deal with. Members of the staff in a nursing home are in a position of power and care over the people living there, so misuse of that power can leave people feeling angry and concerned for their loved ones.

As stated by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, suspected neglect or abuse in a nursing home environment should be reported immediately by anyone who notices that it is potentially happening. The reports are screened by the Adult Protective Services in order to make sure that they are legitimate, and then caseworkers will be dispatched to give the situation closer inspection. Intervention options are available in the case of serious abuse situations, such as arranging assistance for legal, medical or supportive services.

The Nursing Home Abuse Center also states that the person who has noticed potential abuse should attempt to speak to a facility manager or a supervisor first as well. This is because the supervisor may not be aware of the situation. They can monitor it further, especially if there are obvious signs of abuse or neglect present. Some of these signs can include bruises, malaise, poor hygiene, abrasions or sudden weight loss. Any suspicious activity occurring within the staff should also be reported. This can include intentional delays or denials during visiting hours, or attendants refusing to leave residents alone during visits.

Though these situations are often emotional, it is best to try maintaining a cool head to prevent any actions or words from being used in court. By remaining as calm as possible and involving professionals, the situation will likely be resolved faster.

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