When you have to put someone you care about into a nursing home, you expect them to receive a decent standard of care. In fact, you hope they actually get taken care of really well. These homes are supposed to be staffed and operated by trained industry professionals who know what they’re doing and care for their clients.
Sadly, there are nearly 2 million cases of reported elder abuse on an annual basis. Many of these cases happen inside nursing homes. If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, then there are three legal steps you need to take.
1. Contact Law Enforcement in Emergencies
If your loved one seems to be in imminent danger or there is an acute crisis of any kind, you might need to contact local law enforcement. Police are there to protect private citizens who are in danger of harm. Don’t hesitate to call 911 and have the police visit any nursing home facility if you think something is going on at the moment that puts people in any kind of jeopardy.
2. Report Suspected Abuse
In non-emergency situations, report suspected elder neglect or abuse to the protective services for adults in your state. If you’re not sure who that is for your state, you can find out through the National Center on Elder Abuse by calling 1.800.677.1116. Additionally, every nursing home should post in a public place the contact information for the local Ombudsman. This person is responsible for making sure abuse and neglect in all long-term facilities are investigated. Your nursing home administrator should have this information. Local law enforcement will, too.
3. Consult an Attorney
It might be necessary or prudent to consult a personal injury attorney. Unfortunately, many nursing homes might not deal with suspected cases of elder abuse among their ranks until they are facing a potential lawsuit or civil action. A personal injury lawyer can listen to your side of things and suspicions before gathering evidence and interviewing people to determine the likelihood of a ruling or verdict. These lawyers can make sure nursing homes play by the rules, treat their clients with respect, and possibly even generate financial compensation for any pain and suffering your family endures.
Trusting the care and supervision of a loved one in a nursing home is a decision you probably didn’t want to make, but their quality of life and safety should be ensured in such a facility. However, millions of senior citizens are subjected to neglect and abuse every year. Many cases go unnoticed, but if you suspect it has happened to your loved one, then you need to take certain legal steps:
- Contact law enforcement in genuine emergencies to get help there promptly.
- Report suspected abuse to your state’s relevant protective services.
- Consult a personal injury attorney about potential civil actions.
Your loved one deserves to be cared for, and you deserve the peace of mind that they are treated right.