It is an obvious step to remove a loved one from a nursing facility when abuse or neglect is suspected. The problem is that this may protect that patient, but it does nothing to save the ones left behind or that arrive later. Not all elderly people are lucky enough to have a watchful family ensuring their care is sufficient. That is why anyone that suspects a nursing home is not offering sufficient care should do everything possible to reveal the truth. Here are some steps to make that happen.
Make Random Visits
It is easy to hide neglect if the family only visits every third Sunday or on holidays. Visit on random days and at different times to see what the daily routine looks like throughout the day. Stop at meal time to view their diet, be there early in the morning as they are preparing for the day and again in the evening to learn more about nighttime rituals. Realizing that visits could happen at any time may make the staff more careful about providing adequate care and it can also help to reveal abuse that may have otherwise been hidden during scheduled visits.
Document All Suspicions
Dirty sheets, a few odd bruises and a messy bathroom may be just unusual incidents or they may point to neglect and a low standard of care. Discretely take photographs and keep a journal of everything that seems even slightly unacceptable. Notice the other residents and take notes about their hygiene and care as well. This documentation is useful for proof in court if it becomes necessary.
Talk to Others
Strike up conversations with other residents and their families. Do not necessarily attempt to delve into negative opinions about the home or any suspicions, but learn about the others that live there. Find out how long the average resident stays and how their experience has been. Talk to the doctor of the loved one to know if there have been any unusual illnesses or injuries that the staff at the home or the resident failed to mention.
Do Some Research
It is not unusual for nursing facilities to experience negative reviews or face penalties. Some of these are bookkeeping or billing errors, others are maintenance issues and some are about the lack of care they provide to their residents. People may falsely believe that because a center is in operation this means they are safe, but nearly one in three nursing homes have been cited for potentially harmful violations. Research facilities to determine if they have a history of safety or legal concerns.
Hire a Lawyer
An elder abuse lawyer knows what to look for when researching potential abuse cases. They are an excellent resource for concerned families. With their assistance it is much easier to get government inspectors involved in the case, to get the financial reimbursement necessary to move a family member to a safer facility and to get dangerous facilities closed for good. A formal complaint to the government should always be filed to create a record of the concerns with every facility.
Staying involved is the most important thing anyone can do to protect their elderly family members. Never admit someone to a nursing home, assisted living facility, or other retirement home without making certain someone is available to oversee the care. If they are too far away to do this alone, the family should hire someone to act as an advocate for the individual to remain involved and keep them protected.