The decision to put a loved one in a nursing home is oftentimes a difficult one. You do so with the expectation that the best care will be delivered and the nursing home is a safe place.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case since nursing home & senior abuse is a reality and one that often goes unreported. If you notice any warning signs of abuse, you should report it. Here are four ways to report nursing home abuse.
1. Contact the Adult Protective Services (APS) Office
An APS office is a social service provider that is established by each state and/or local governments nationwide, that in part, investigates and responds to complaints of cases of abuse, neglect or exploitation. They work closely with various healthcare professionals and law enforcement and vary from state to state when it comes to populations served, power of APS and scope of the program.
Once you have located the APS office, make contact and learn about the process of reporting nursing home abuse and how the agency responds. Make your report, which will be screened by a trained professional to evaluate if it meets the statutory requirements for what may constitute abuse, neglect or exploitation.
2. Call 9-1-1
Witnessing nursing home abuse first hand, provides clear grounds for calling 9-1-1. It is your right to call 9-1-1 if you are concerned about a loved one’s physical or emotional health in a nursing home. Don’t worry about repercussions because it is better to be safe than sorry.
Depending on your claim, both the paramedic and the police may show up. Paramedics would likely respond by evaluating your loved one, and if you wish, they’d have him or her taken to the hospital for further assessment and care.
Officers on the scene may take your report, do an investigation and depending on the outcome, would make the appropriate decision regarding what action needed to be taken. You may find that you need a nursing home abuse lawyer to help guide you.
3. Contact your Long-term Care Ombudsman
Each state has an Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman that addresses complaints and advocates for improvements in the long-term care system and residents of nursing homes.
The ombudsman office investigates and resolves complaints involving allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation that may adversely affect the health, safety, welfare, or rights of the nursing home resident.
They are there to be the voice of the voiceless, ensuring that the resident’s rights and quality of care are secured.
4. Talk to a Nursing Home Representative
Report abuse or suspicion of abuse immediately to a representative of the facility. A nursing home administrator, director of nursing, floor supervisor or social worker are all key leadership personnel to assist with reporting incidences of nursing home abuse.
These individuals have an obligation to perform investigations and protect those in their care.
Don’t be afraid to report nursing home abuse. The elderly is a vulnerable group and should be given proper care by those tasked with that responsibility. There are ways to report abuse, from calling 9-1-1 to contacting the office of the APS.
Hesitation could mean the difference between life and death.