When your loved one moves into a nursing home, the hope behind their transition is to get them the help they need in order for them to stay as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a real problem in the U.S. According to researchers, most cases of nursing home abuse go unreported. Even with an assumed low number of reports, the statistics are terrifying. In a two year study, the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee found violations and signs of abuse in around 30 percent of nursing homes in the U.S.
Issues surrounding the lack of abuse reports include medical limitations that lead elderly residents to have trouble vocalizing the nursing home abuse, a lack of frequent visits from loved ones that may make it unlikely for someone to notice a change in behavior or appearance, and the chance that the elderly resident suffers from memory loss or communication issues. This is especially true for patients suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, two problems people are at risk of having the older they get.
While the Special Investigations Division reported that the most common forms of nursing home abuse included preventable accidents, inadequate medical services, inadequate sanitation or hygiene, malnutrition, bedsores, and dehydration, they are far from the only types of abuse that can occur.
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The best way to prevent nursing home abuse and protect your loved one is to visit them frequently and pay close attention to potential warning signs that abuse is occurring. If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, you have a few options for how to handle it.
- Reach out to your loved one’s primary care physician, social worker, or any member of their health care team. Unless they are directly involved in the abuse, these professionals should be able to give you professional guidance to help you determine what to do next.
- Use the resource page on the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) Administration on Aging website. It may be a long title, but the information can be invaluable in helping you figure out what to do next in order to protect your loved one.
- Call the Eldercare Locator during the week at 1-800-677-1116 to learn what specific information may apply in your state.
- If the case is severe and your loved one needs immediate assistance, call 911.
After you report the nursing home abuse, it’s important for you to seek legal counsel to determine your next move. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers represent clients nationwide, and are prepared to create a plan of action that best suits your needs. Contact us today through our website, or call us at for a free case evaluation.