If a home health aide abused or neglected your loved one, you may want to learn how to file a complaint about them. The first step should be to file a complaint with the nursing home for which they work. If the nursing home’s administration does not act, you can take further action, including:
- Filing a complaint with your state’s long-term care ombudsman, or state survey agency.
- Calling law enforcement.
- Retaining a lawyer who may be able to pursue a civil case against liable parties.
A lawyer can help you explore your options and offer advice about the next steps that might be most appropriate for your situation and goals.
Spot Signs of Mistreatment as Soon as They Arise
When you are not directly caring for your loved one, you extend a level of trust to a third party. Whenever you check on your loved one, watch for signs of neglect, abuse, or exploitation.
Signs of Neglect
Paying a home health aide does not guarantee that they are taking proper care of your loved one. Signs that a home health aide may be neglecting your loved one include:
- An unkempt appearance.
- The presence of bedsores or pressure sores.
- A full bedpan.
- An odor that may indicate your loved one has not been washed or bathed.
- A noticeable and unexplainable weight loss.
These are not the only warning signs of neglect. Any of these or other symptoms may indicate that the home health aide is not caring for your loved one as they should, and it might be enough to file a complaint, contact authorities, or pursue legal action against the agency that referred the home health aide.
Signs of Abuse
Neglect is serious, but willful abuse may present an even greater threat to your loved one. Possible signs that a home health aide is abusing your loved one include:
- Recoiling from your touch.
- Expressing uncharacteristic signs of anxiety and trauma, such as rocking back and forth or acting jittery.
- The appearance of burns, scratches, bruises, cuts, and other indications of physical trauma.
- Broken bones, especially if a doctor says twisting or striking fractured the bones.
- Uncharacteristic outbursts, especially if they are violent.
- Your loved one tells you the health aide abused them.
Abuse can be grounds for calling the authorities and pursuing legal action. Financial exploitation is yet another form of mistreatment and can also be punished in a similar way.
Signs of Financial Exploitation
If your loved one has access to financial assets or valuables, a home health aide could attempt to access them through manipulation, threats, or force. Possible signs of financial exploitation include:
- Unexplained withdrawals from your loved one’s bank account.
- Unexplained purchases.
- Purchases at retailers where your loved one does not typically shop or could not have gotten to on their own.
- Missing valuables such as cash, jewelry, or anything that someone could sell for money.
Abusers may take advantage of your loved one’s finances in other ways, so be aware. Contacting the proper authorities is your first line of defense if you suspect a home health aide is abusing or mistreating your loved one.
Take Steps to Alert Proper Authorities
If you suspect that your loved one was mistreated by their home health aide, intervene immediately.
To ensure that your loved one is safe, you should:
- Alert the referring agency to your suspicions and ask about any conduct issues the aide may have had in the past.
- Let the agency know that you intend to contact law enforcement if your suspicions of abuse, neglect, or exploitation point to such action.
- Call a lawyer and ask about your options for pursuing civil charges.
Your lawyer can help you act quickly to take action against the responsible parties and protect your family’s rights.
If Your Loved One Was Mistreated, You Have Legal Options
Home health aide agencies and the aides that work for them have a responsibility to keep your loved ones safe from various forms of mistreatment. If you suspect your loved one was neglected, abused, or exploited, a lawyer can help you by:
- Meeting with you and your loved one and noting accounts of mistreatment.
- Gathering evidence of mistreatment, such as photographing physical injuries or making copies of bank statements indicating financial exploitation.
- Initiating legal action quickly to ensure your case is filed in the time required by law.
- Handling all communication with relevant parties.
- Keeping you updated during all stages of the case.
- Protecting your loved one’s rights throughout the legal process.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
Our goal at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is to ensure that your loved one is safe and that you obtain justice for any neglect, abuse, or exploitation that may have occurred. If you want to know how to file a complaint about a home health aide, we can help.
Call our team today at (800) 842-6336 to discuss your case. Our clients pay nothing upfront or out of pocket, and we only collect a fee if we secure a judgment or settlement in your favor.