Unfortunately, nursing home abuse and neglect by staff happens in some facilities. You may have noticed signs that something is wrong. Your loved one might have unexplained bruises or physical deterioration such as weight loss. Your loved one might be withdrawn or you may have noticed a change in their personality.
If you suspect abuse or neglect by nursing home staff, you will need to take action. It’s understandable that families often don’t know what to do. Information can be hard to find. As reported by National Center on Elder Abuse, knowledge about elder abuse lags about two decades behind the fields of child abuse and domestic violence.
What is the difference between neglect and abuse?
Harm to a nursing home resident can come in different forms. Some residents are harmed intentionally by a staff member, which is abuse. A staff member might hit or shove a resident, or even shout at the person, causing emotional harm.
The other type of harm is neglect. The staff may ignore a resident or isolate the person. The resident may not receive proper nutrition or the medication he or she needs. They may suffer from malnutrition, dehydration, or bedsores.
To help you determine what to do if you suspect your loved one has been harmed, our law firm has created an action plan below.
- Get medical treatment for your loved one: If you suspect a physical injury, seek medical treatment for your loved one as soon as possible. You may need to take your loved one to a doctor’s office or hospital outside of the nursing home facility if you don’t trust the facility.
- Document signs of abuse or neglect: If you see a bruise or cut, take a photo of the injury. Keep a record in writing of the types of medical treatment your loved one received either in the nursing home or from an outside healthcare facility. While the nursing home may have access to its own medical professionals, they may try to cover up the harm or downplay injuries to protect the facility.
- Report the abuse: The National Center on Elder Abuse provides a directory of numbers and contacts to report abuse. If you believe a crime was committed, call the police. Additionally, you can report the harm to the nursing home staff. In some cases, one employee is behind the abuse or neglect. The nursing home may be able to handle the case internally.
- Contact an attorney: Even if the nursing home has addressed the problem – perhaps the employee was fired – you should plan to consult with a lawyer. Continue to document the case. Is your loved one’s condition improving or is it getting worse? Even if the situation improves, you may be facing extra medical bills related to the abuse or neglect. An experienced attorney can investigate the matter and ensure your loved one’s rights are protected.
How our law firm can help you
If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, schedule a free consultation today with a lawyer from Kurle Justus, LLC. Our attorneys bring experience and compassion to every case we handle. We work thoroughly to build a strong case that results in a negotiated settlement. If the nursing home refuses to agree to a fair settlement, we are not afraid to go to trial and argue the case in front of a jury. We want to hear from you and show you how we can help. Contact us. Based in Decatur, we represent families throughout Georgia.