According to sources, one in every three nursing home residents will experience some form of abuse during their time in care. Abuse can take many forms, from physical or sexual assault to emotional manipulation and financial exploitation. Nursing homes must have procedures for residents to report abuse, and all reports must go through an investigation process. They also must provide residents with information about contacting the state agency that regulates nursing homes.
If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from abuse in a nursing home, it is important to take action. This guide will provide you with information on reporting abuse in a nursing home and what to expect from the investigation process.
- Contact The Nursing Home Administrator
Explain your concerns and request a meeting to discuss the situation. The administrator should be willing to listen to your concerns and take action to investigate the allegations. And if they are not, you can always contact the ombudsman. However, be aware that the administrator may not be required to contact law enforcement if they believe the abuse is not criminal.
- Contact An Ombudsman
An ombudsman is a state-appointed advocate for nursing home residents. They can help you navigate the complaint process and ensure that your loved one receives protection from further abuse. They can guide you regarding how to report abuse in a nursing home and follow up to ensure that an investigation undergoes immediately. In addition, the ombudsman can provide you with resources and support during this difficult time.
- Gather Evidence Of The Abuse
It may include bruises, cuts, other physical injuries; changes in mood or behavior; or unusual financial activity. It is important to have as much documentation as possible, as this will be essential in the investigation process. You must also be prepared to explain how you know that the abuse occurs.
- Contact Law Enforcement
Suppose you believe that your loved one is in immediate danger or that the abuse is criminal. In that case, you should contact your local law enforcement agency. They will open an investigation and take appropriate action to protect your loved one. Also, be sure to get the adult protective services agency. They can provide you with information and resources and investigate allegations of abuse.
- Seek Legal Counsel
An attorney can help you navigate the investigation process and ensure that your loved one’s rights are protected. They can also help you file a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator or the nursing home if warranted. Also, be sure to contact your local long-term care ombudsman program. They can provide you with information and resources and investigate allegations of abuse.
- File A Complaint With The State Licensing Board
If you are not satisfied with how the nursing home handles your concerns, you can file a complaint with the state licensing board. The board will investigate the allegations and take appropriate action if they find that the nursing home does not comply with state regulations. According to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, “All complaints received by state long-term care ombudsmen are confidential and should be made in writing to the Ombudsman Program. Complaints may be made anonymously, but doing so may limit the ombudsman’s ability to investigate and resolve the complaint fully.”
- Contact The Media
Contact your local news station if you believe that your loved one is in immediate danger or dissatisfied with how the nursing home handles your complaint. They may be willing to do a story on the situation, which can help raise awareness and pressure the nursing home to take action. In addition to contacting the media, you can also post about your experience on social media.
- Get Support
Reporting abuse can be a difficult and emotional process. Be sure to get support from your family and friends. You may also want to consider seeking professional counseling. The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides 24/7 support for victims of domestic violence. You can call them at 1-800-799-7233, and they will be able to help you.
- Be Prepared For Retaliation
Nursing homes must provide a safe and nurturing environment for their residents. However, some nursing homes may retaliate against residents or their families who report abuse. Retaliation is illegal and should not be tolerated. If you experience retaliation, document it and report it to the proper authorities. Furthermore, the nursing home may try to cover up the abuse. If you believe this is happening, document it and report it to the proper authorities.
- Keep A Record Of Everything
Keep a record of all the steps you take to report the abuse. It includes dates, times, names, and contact information. It will be helpful if you need to follow up on the complaint or if you decide to take legal action. You must also keep a record of any retaliation you experience.
- Be Patient
The process of reporting abuse and getting help can take some time. Be patient and be prepared for setbacks. It is important to stay focused on your goal, getting help for your loved one, and making sure that the abuse stops. Also, keep in mind that not all nursing homes are bad. Many well-run facilities provide excellent care for their residents.
Reporting abuse in a nursing home can be a difficult and emotional process. However, it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you. If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from abuse, take action immediately. The sooner you act, the sooner you can get help for your loved one and put an end to the abuse.