The abuse and neglect of elders in nursing homes is a major problem that may be significantly underreported. In one study of 2,000 nursing home residents, 44 percent said they had been abused and 95 percent said they or another resident had been neglected. However, there are things you can do to protect older loved ones in a nursing home.
First, it is important to do your research before choosing a nursing home. Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website has listings of skilled nursing facilities with ratings in categories such as health inspections, staffing and quality measures. In addition to this type of research, be sure to visit any facility you are considering. Observe and ask questions to help you determine whether your family member will be safe and comfortable. Pay attention to issues like cleanliness and staffing levels.
When a loved one is already a resident in a nursing facility, it is important to be alert to changes that may be warning signs of abuse or neglect. This can include changes in your loved one’s physical appearance, especially involving hygiene, weight loss or undocumented injuries. A change in the individual’s emotional state can also be a warning sign. In addition, it is important to note any change in living conditions that may affect safety or cleanliness.
Finally, if you believe that your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect from nursing home staff, it is important to speak to an attorney who is experienced in these matters. An attorney can advise you of the best way to protect your family member’s health and safety, and any legal avenues that may be available to obtain compensation for injuries suffered.