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Preventing Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Posted on in Nursing Home Abuse

Chicago nursing home abuse attorneysIt can be extremely disheartening to read about case after case of nursing home abuse and neglect. Some of the stories are mostly sad, while others are downright horrific. Even worse is the idea that only about one in 14 cases of elder abuse—including nursing home abuse—are actually reported. This means that the stories we hear about are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  

If you have a loved one who requires the type of care that is only offered in a nursing home, you may be wondering how you can prevent the unthinkable from happening to him or her. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to minimize the risks.

Do Your Homework

Perhaps the most important way to protect your loved one from abuse or neglect in a nursing home is to educate yourself on the quality of the homes that you are considering. Keep in mind that “educating yourself” means more than a cursory Google search or simply looking at how many stars a particular facility received. Recently, both the Department of Veterans Affairs and Medicare have been forced to take a new look at their respective quality rating systems, which means that it is difficult to trust even a full five-star rating.

Your research should include visits to each facility and in-depth conversations with management and staff. If possible, talk to others who have had loved ones at that home. You are likely to learn more about a facility through such conversations than you could ever discover through websites, brochures, or advertisements.

Visit Regularly

Once you have decided on a place—ideally with your loved one’s help—your work is far from done. Patients who have been effectively abandoned by their families are the ones most at risk for abuse and neglect by the staff. It is important for you to visit often and to encourage other family members to visit as well.

Frequent visits serve several purposes. First and foremost, your presence and that of others can help prevent your loved one from feeling isolated and too dependent on the staff. Visiting regularly can be difficult, especially if your loved one is suffering from dementia or other cognitive issues, but you cannot know what is going on if you are not there.

When you visit the nursing home on a regular basis, you will be able to identify any concerning changes in your loved one’s appearance, behavior, attitude, or condition. Any such changes could be a warning sign of a problem. For example, if your loved one has inexplicably lost 10 pounds since your last visit, he or she may not be getting enough food.

Ask Questions and Get Answers

Your loved one may not be able to advocate for him- or herself, so it may be up to you to handle. This means asking questions when something does not seem right and continuing to ask until you get real answers. Continuing the example from above, if you notice your loved one has lost weight, you may need to ask a staff member directly, and the one you ask might not know why. Pushing the issue may be uncomfortable, but it is important to find out what is happening. If you suspect that you are not getting the truth, you may need to take the matter up the chain to the home’s administrators. If you are still being stonewalled or kept in the dark, it might be time to speak to an attorney.

Call Us for Help

At Schwartz Injury Law, we take allegations of nursing home abuse and neglect seriously, and we are committed to protecting the rights of residents. If you have reasons to believe that your loved one has been abused or neglected while in a nursing home, contact one of our Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys for help. Call 312-535-4625 for a free consultation today.

 

Sources:

https://www.nursinghomeabuse.org/nursing-home-abuse/statistics/

https://ncea.acl.gov/faq/index.html

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