While we do not know how often nursing home abuse and neglect occur, we can be fairly certain that it is underreported. In many cases, nursing home residents are unwilling or unable to report it themselves. They may be embarrassed to admit that it is occurring or may fear retribution on the part of nursing home staff. In some cases, older adults may not even be aware of the fact that the abuse or neglect is happening.
As a result of these issues, a great deal of responsibility falls on the shoulders of the loved ones of nursing home residents, as they are often the first line of defense when it comes to stopping abuse and neglect. If you have a family member or other loved one in a nursing home, you should familiarize yourself with the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect and know what to do if you think it is occurring.
Here are some of the signs of physical abuse or neglect:
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Fearful behavior
- Unnecessary use of restraints
- Unexplained injuries
Importantly, nursing home abuse and neglect can also be emotional. For this reason, loved ones should pay close attention to residents’ emotional state during visits and phone calls and pay any attention to changes in their behavior.
In addition, financial elder abuse is a real problem that often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. This type of abuse can take the form of altering the terms of a trust or will, using credit cards without permission, stealing property, or non-existent investment schemes. Loved ones should be on the lookout for any sudden changes to the nursing home resident’s financial situation or estate plan, as these could be signs of ongoing financial elder abuse.
What to Do if You Suspect that Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Has Occurred
If you think that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, there are certain steps you should take. First of all, if you believe the resident is in immediate danger, you should call the local police department. Otherwise, document the signs of abuse or neglect that you have noticed. Take pictures of any physical evidence that you have seen. Next, bring the matter up with the nursing home administration and notify the state agency that regulates nursing homes (in Indiana, it is the Comprehensive Care Facility Licensing and Certification Program, part of the Indiana State Department of Health). Finally, call a nursing home abuse attorney in your area in order to protect you and your loved one’s legal rights.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with an Experienced Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorney
If you have a suspicion that your loved one has been subjected to nursing home abuse or neglect, you should contact an attorney right away. Our Indianapolis nursing home abuse lawyers are dedicated to protecting nursing home residents’ rights and holding facilities and their staff accountable for wrongful acts. To discuss your case with an attorney at no cost, call our office today at (317) 636-0808 or send us an email through our online contact form.