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Suspect a Nursing Home Resident Has Been Abused? Here’s What to Do
Don’t Be Fooled, Part 4: Make a Game Plan
If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home, you are more than likely already experiencing a stressful situation. You might have thought your mother, father or other family member was invincible, but age has taken its toll and now he or she needs help. That can be hard enough to deal with, but you also have to worry about whether your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect in a care facility. If you put together a good game plan, however, you can minimize the chances that he or she will experience nursing home abuse or neglect.
We’ve previously covered some of the ways that you can spot the signs of nursing home abuse and/or neglect. We’ve also provided information on ways you can lessen the risk that any problems will occur. For example, if you notice that your loved one is bruised, has any odd markings on his or her body or seems to be showing the signs of dehydration, those are red alerts that could indicate a serious issue like physical abuse and assault or negligence..
Again, you may be able to take some preventive measures to help ensure your loved one doesn’t have to go through the horrible suffering associated with nursing home abuse. For example, communicating regularly with staff members will show them you are paying attention to the welfare of the resident. Also, mixing up your visitation schedule will keep facility employees “on their toes,” so to speak. If they don’t know when you’ll arrive, they will probably be less likely to harm your loved one.
Sometimes, though, nursing home abuse will still occur no matter how much we do to prevent it. If this happens to your family member, there are several online resources that can help. Here are just a few of them.
- Your state’s ombudman’s program or your state’s Department of Health and Human Services office (also includes an Adult Protective Services department for each county). These offices investigate and attempt to resolve concerns and complaints of nursing home residents and families.
- U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging – This committee is responsible for proposing legislation to improve the care of the elderly and to also investigate how that care is being provided.
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services – The CMS compiles a “Special Focus Facility” list comprised of nursing homes that have been frequently cited for poor care and health violations. This is often the last step toward a nursing home losing its Medicare funding. When this happens, it is typically just a matter of time before the facility shuts down.
- The National Center on Elder Abuse – This organization provides links to agencies in each state where people can get help if they suspect nursing home abuse is taking place. For example, Texas residents have several options if they suspect a problem. They can call (800) 252-5400 or contact the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, Texas Long-Term Care Ombudsman or the Texas Office of the Attorney General.
How Baron & Budd Can Help
Once you have taken action to report nursing home abuse, you next step should be making sure the facility is held accountable. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the complexities associated with nursing home lawsuits. For example, it can be extremely difficult to find the true owner of a facility. Many companies operate under several different names in order to try and protect themselves from liability and government regulators.
A skilled attorney, however, can navigate through the maze, find the party responsible for your loved one’s suffering, and help you obtain the justice your family deserves. Lawsuits against nursing homes can also send the message that our elderly loved ones must be treated with respect at all times.