Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is far more common than anyone would prefer. In fact, the fear of nursing home abuse is often at the forefront of anyone’s mind as they start the process of finding the right place for a loved one to live out their final days. Even though you may feel powerless against the risk of nursing home abuse, personal injury lawyers know that there are ways to protect your older loved ones.
Keep a Paper Trail
One of the best ways to protect loved ones against nursing home abuse is to commit yourself to keeping detailed documents about anything and everything related to the nursing home. This is especially important if you begin to worry that your loved one may be experiencing abuse in the nursing home.
Here is what you should document:
• The names and positions of any staff member that you encounter interacting with your loved one in any capacity.
• Your loved one’s mood and disposition any time you talk to them or see them. This will help you chart more accurately whether or not they are experiencing a sudden change in mood or disposition.
• The physical state of your loved one and their lodging when you see them. Oftentimes, the first signs of nursing home abuse are neglect of the elder’s physical hygiene or the cleanliness of their living space.
• Take careful notes if your loved one ever mentions a staff member that they dislike. Even if the matter is entirely personal, when it comes to your loved one’s safety, you are better safe than sorry.
What to Do if Things Look Dire
If you have kept careful notes, you will notice when your loved one’s situation changes. At that point, you have a few options. If you truly do not believe that abuse is happening, you may want to speak with a staff member.
Try the following conversation prompt: “I’ve noticed that my grandmother’s room has been dirty the past few times I have visited and that her hair has not been cut. Is there a situation going on that I should be made aware of?”
Sometimes, you will find out that the situation is completely out of the staff’s control. However, if you believe that abuse is possible, your first step should be to call a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate the legal aspects of your case.