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What To Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

Difficult Situations 

It is always difficult to see the ones you love getting older and becoming less independent. It is harder yet to trust others to care for them when you are no longer able to. The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is never easy and is usually a last resort for most families.

One of the few things that could make this situation worse is to visit your loved one and suspect they are being abused. At first, you might think it’s in your head-but with every visit, the nagging feeling that something isn’t right just gets worse. Maybe it’s nothing more than the fact that your loved one is suddenly quiet and withdrawn, or maybe you have more tangible evidence – like bruises or sudden unexplained weight loss. What should you do?

You Suspect Your Loved One is Being Abused – What Should You Do?

Most nursing facilities provide quality care to their residents. However, if you suspect abuse, you should never allow it to continue unchecked.

The first thing to do is to remain rational and calm. It would be easy (and understandable) to lose your temper in this type of situation, but for the sake of your loved one, it is imperative that you seek to resolve the problem in a reasonable manner. Question the staff members and management about the signs of suspected abuse. There may be another explanation for what you perceive as abuse. Hear them out, and only if they are unwilling or unable to satisfactorily explain the situation, should you consider formal action.

Quality caregivers will never mind answering questions as long as you remain reasonable and respectful. Make sure to get the names and positions of the people you speak with. Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to speak with other coherent residents who are willing to talk with you and who might have information about the situation.

Speak directly with your loved one about the issue. If for any reason the nursing home management will not allow you to speak with them privately, you will want to take further action. It’s important to realize that any resident of a nursing home may not want to speak about abuse for fear of retribution to simply not wanting to cause problems for you.

Demand a Response 

Bring any evidence you uncover to the attention of the management. If it isn’t resolved quickly, contact the authorities or a knowledgeable attorney. Whenever there is obvious abuse, or imminent danger, call the police immediately. The police should let you file a complaint and should intervene if necessary to ensure the safety of the residents.

If your loved one is being neglected or abused, he or she is entitled to protection, and may also be entitled to compensation. You may be entitled to compensation as well, depending on your relationship with them. It is essential to report all abuse, but most abusive facilities resist change unless legal action is taken. No matter how you decide to handle it, never take a wait-and-see attitude. Always act sooner rather than later, as reporting the situation is the only way to put a stop to it.

Shea Law Group

Consulting with Chicago injury lawyers that specialize in nursing home abuse reinforces the seriousness of the situation and ensures that the quality of life for all the facility’s residents will improve. At Shea Law Group, we have handled hundreds of nursing home abuse cases and we are prepared to help you and your family if you ever find yourself in need of legal assistance.