Nursing home abuse is a distressing fact of life that affects much of our vulnerable elder population. If you suspect that a loved one is experiencing nursing home abuse, it is crucial to take immediate and appropriate action to ensure their safety and well-being. This guide outlines the steps you should take if you suspect nursing home abuse, including how to advocate for your loved one’s rights and hold accountable those responsible for their care.
Recognize the signs of nursing home abuse
Before taking action, it’s essential to recognize the signs of nursing home abuse. These signs may include unexplained bruises, fractures, sudden changes in behavior, emotional withdrawal, poor hygiene, unexplained weight loss, or financial exploitation. Educating yourself about the various forms of abuse, such as physical, emotional, sexual, and financial, will help you better identify any potential red flags.
Prioritize your loved one’s safety
If you suspect nursing home abuse, prioritize your loved one’s safety above all else. If they are in immediate danger or require urgent medical attention, call 911 or seek medical assistance right away. Ensuring their physical safety is the top priority before proceeding further. If necessary and safe to do so, remove them from the facility.
Document your observations
Gathering evidence is crucial when addressing nursing home abuse allegations. Document any signs of abuse you’ve noticed, including dates, times, descriptions, and photos if applicable. Maintain a detailed log of incidents, conversations, and any changes in your loved one’s physical or emotional state. This documentation will be valuable if you need to legally escalate the situation.
Talk to your loved one
Initiate a conversation with your loved one about your concerns. Approach the conversation with sensitivity and empathy, assuring them that their well-being is your top priority. Encourage them to share their experience and feelings. Keep in mind, however, that they may be hesitant to speak up due to fear, shame, or cognitive limitations.
Speak to nursing home staff
Address your concerns with the nursing home staff, including administrators, nurses, and caregivers. Request a meeting to discuss your observations and get their perspective on the situation. Ask for an explanation of any concerning incidents and inquire about the steps they plan to take to address the issue.
Contact the nursing home ombudsman
Every nursing home is required to have an ombudsman, an advocate for residents’ rights. Contact the ombudsman to report your concerns and seek assistance. They can provide valuable guidance, mediate between you and the nursing home, and ensure that your loved one’s rights are protected. You can find your state’s ombudsman here.
Report to state regulatory agencies
If the nursing home is unresponsive, or your loved one is in immediate danger, report the abuse to state regulatory agencies. Every state has a regulatory agency responsible for overseeing nursing homes, and you can file a complaint with them. You can find these agencies through a simple internet search. Provide as much detail as possible in your report. This can trigger an investigation into the facility’s practices.
Seek medical attention
Arrange for a medical evaluation of your loved one to assess their physical and mental well-being. A physician can identify any injuries or health issues resulting from abuse and provide necessary treatment. Additionally, these medical records can serve as crucial evidence in a potential legal case.
Support your loved one
Experiencing nursing home abuse can take a severe toll on a resident’s emotional and mental health. Ensure that your loved one receives the emotional support they need, whether through counseling, therapy, or social activities. Reassure them that you are advocating for their well-being and that their voice is being heard.
Consult a nursing home abuse attorney from Garcia & Artigliere
If you suspect nursing home abuse and believe legal action is necessary, consult with an experienced attorney specializing in elder abuse cases, like those at Garcia & Artigliere.
One of the primary contributions of our nursing home abuse attorneys is the ability to conduct a thorough assessment of the situation. Drawing on our understanding of elder abuse laws, regulations, and negligence standards, we can carefully evaluate the unique circumstances of your case. This assessment enables us to offer you informed guidance, outlining your available legal options and advising on the best course of action.
Our nursing home abuse attorneys can also launch an investigation. Through meticulous evidence gathering, including the examination of medical records, interviews with witnesses, and documentation, our attorneys build a compelling case that substantiates your claims of abuse or neglect.
We also identify all liable parties. In cases involving different parties, such as staff members, administrators, and the nursing home facility itself, we can pinpoint the responsible entities.
We can help you and your family navigate the legal side of things, providing valuable guidance. We will explain your loved one’s rights, potential outcomes, and every part of your claim or lawsuit. This gives you the power to make well-informed decisions about your next steps.
The legal professionals at Garcia & Artigliere manage the necessary paperwork, ensuring that all deadlines are met and that the case is meticulously documented. This attention to administrative details contributes to building a strong and compelling case.
Beyond administrative responsibilities, our nursing home abuse attorneys are skilled negotiators. In many cases, we engage in negotiations with the opposing party representing the nursing home’s insurance company. We aim to secure fair settlements that adequately compensate victims for their physical injuries, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and any other relevant damages.
In situations where negotiations fall short, we will take your case to court. We present the case, skillfully question witnesses, including expert witnesses, and provide compelling arguments that advocate for the victim’s rights and interests. You can read about our many successes here.
Throughout the entire legal process, we remain dedicated to protecting your loved one’s rights. This commitment extends to shielding victims and their families from intimidation, manipulation, or any attempts to undermine their claims. By acting as staunch advocates, we ensure that the legal journey is conducted with integrity and respect for your loved one’s rights.
Has a member of your family experienced nursing home abuse? The attorneys at Garcia & Artigliere want to help. Reach out to us today by giving us a call or filling out our contact form and telling us a little bit about yourself. We serve clients throughout the country from our offices in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Phoenix, New Orleans, and Louisville. Our services are available in both English and Spanish.
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Stephen M. Garcia represents victims of elder and nursing home abuse and is known as one of the leading civil litigators in the country. He is Senior Partner at Garcia & Artigliere, where the firm’s practice is focused on elder abuse, nursing home abuse, and wrongful death of the elderly.
Find out more about Stephen M. Garcia