Elder abuse is the unsung epidemic of today. Tragically, the World Health Organization estimates 2 out of 3 health care providers in nursing home facilities say they committed acts of patient abuse in 2017. Just to emphasize that point, the majority of health care providers admit committing-not reporting-acts of abuse.
The truth is that family members don’t always know what to look for or how to report what’s happening to their parent or loved one. But the Elder Justice Act of 2009 offers protection. If you are suspicious of any kind of abusive activity, from neglect to assault, here are the steps to reporting abuse and stopping the cycle.
Steps To Reporting
- Check in on your loved one often. This can go miles in securing the attention of attendants. If the health care providers know you are checking in, they are less likely to neglect your loved one.
- Look for signs that something is off. Strange bruises, depression or a resistance to talk about their caregivers could all be indications of wrongdoing. It’s a fine line, however-it’s also important not to jump to conclusions.
- Document everything you can. This includes taking photographs and writing down descriptions of suspicious activity.
- Talk to others at the nursing home – both patients and visiting loved ones. What have they observed?
- If necessary, show the evidence you collect to Adult Protective Services. They can investigate your concerns fully.
- If talking to the perpetrator or organization is possible to do safely, proceed with caution.
- If it is not possible to talk to the organization without endangering your loved one, contact the Texas ombudsmen office. This is a state office that specifically works for the rights and benefits of residents in long-term care facilities when complaints with the source fails.
- Talk to an attorney to discuss your legal options. Compensation may be available for victims of nursing home abuse.
If you suspect anything untoward, it’s better to say something than nothing. The problem could get worse.
If your loved one has suffered neglect or abuse, the law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner wants to help you get justice. Call (713) 222-7211 to speak to a lawyer today.