Nursing home and assisted living abuse can be demoralizing and traumatic, but what is happening is not your fault or the resident’s and must be stopped - there is no shame in getting help. Responding to and reporting assisted living abuse might be difficult, but it can have a positive effect by removing the abuser and preventing them from hurting others. You do not need definitive proof that nursing home abuse is happening in order to report it. Many states allow you to make a confidential report.
1. How to report nursing home abuse:
- Call 911 if you, a loved one, or another senior is in immediate physical danger.
- Doctors, nurses, and other health providers have a legal duty to report nursing home abuse. Others are morally obligated to report elder abuse.
- Each state has toll-free lines to report elder abuse. Look up your state’s long term care ombudsman. An ombudsman is someone who investigates complaints and mediates fair solutions.
- When you call your state’s elder abuse hotline, be prepared to give the nursing home resident's name, address, and details about the suspected abuse. Some states ask for your contact information, but others will allow confidential reports to be made.
- Local law enforcement officers and Adult Protective Services are often trained on how to investigate and handle assisted living abuse cases. Sometimes what you suspect may only be a fraction of what is actually occurring.
2. After you report the abuse:
- Remove your loved one from the abusive situation immediately.
- Research other long term care options in your community. This nursing home evaluation checklist can help you select a comfortable and safe nursing home for your family member.
- In some cases, poorly run nursing homes may know about the abuse and are not stopping it. Large corporate nursing homes may not be aware that one individual is abusing or neglecting seniors. But it is up to you whether or not to inform the nursing home about why you are leaving.
3. Consider consulting a nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your legal options
Nursing home abuse is a serious offense that should be punished and prevented from occurring again. Your willingness to take legal action with the help of a nursing home abuse lawyer against the facility which allowed the abuse to occur, or the abuser who caused the harm, may help save other nursing home residents from the same abuse, neglect, or exploitation. When your family is ready, call our nursing home abuse specialists today. They can help you understand how an elder abuse lawyer could help you get justice now.