In August 2017, National Public Radio (NPR) published an eye-opening article
on nursing home abuse entitled:
“Serious Nursing Home Abuse Often Not Reported To Police, Federal
Investigators Find.” In the article it said, “More than one-quarter of serious cases
of nursing home abuse are not reported to the police, according to an
alert released Monday morning by the Office of Inspector General in the Department
of Health and Human Services.” This is serious, no one should have
to suffer in silence, especially our most vulnerable.
If your loved one was a victim of
nursing home abuse, would you recognize the warning signs? Would you know what to do? What
if your loved one has dementia, do you know how to give them a voice when
they don’t have one? Read on as we explain what to do if you suspect
that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse.
1. Ask your loved one if they’re being mistreated.
If you suspect that your loved one is being mistreated, the first order
of business is to simply ask them, “How are they treating you here?
Do you feel safe?” Hopefully, your loved one will answer you honestly,
but be aware: Sometimes victims of abuse will keep quiet out of fear of
getting their caregiver in trouble, or out of fear of retaliation.”
2. Be vigilant if your loved one has dementia.
Alzheimer’s for example, is a progressive disease; symptoms get
worse over time. If your loved one has dementia, they may not have the
mental faculties to report the abuse. Since dementia patients are at a
higher risk of abuse, it’s important that their friends and family
are extra vigilant and pay attention to the warning signs. If your loved
one has unexplained bruising, ligature marks, or other injuries, you must
get down to the bottom of it.
3. Realize the nursing home could be lying.
In the NPR article, it discussed a case where an elderly woman was sexually
assaulted at a nursing home. After the attack, the home cleaned her off,
destroying all evidence of the crime. According to Curtis Roy, an employee
of the Department of Health and Human Services, “They went so far
as to contact the local police department to tell them that they did not
need to come out to [sic] facility to conduct an investigation.”
This incident demonstrates that nursing homes can lie, so it’s important
to be aware of that.
4. Contact a nursing home abuse lawyer.
If you suspect nursing home abuse or
neglect, you want to listen to your gut. Contact a nursing home abuse attorney
promptly for legal advice. Ask them about Georgia’s laws regarding
placing hidden cameras in nursing homes. Also ask about the state and
federal reporting requirements for nursing homes that learn of abuse.
If you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse in
Woodstock or Marietta, we urge you tocontact Jones & Swanson right away to schedule a free consultation.