What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

elderly woman with black eye holding her face

Many nursing homes and assisted living facilities employ dedicated professionals who care about their residents. The elderly, disabled, and others who count on these professionals to take care of them are some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a serious problem in the United States. Our attorneys at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad are dedicated to helping the elderly and families who suspect a loved one is being abused hold the facility and abusive workers accountable. Obtaining proof of nursing home abuse can be challenging, so it’s important to know what to look for as well as actions to take to keep your loved one safe.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

Putting your trust in others to take care of your loved one can be daunting. It’s vital to be aware of the types of abuse and neglect that may occur, including:

  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Withholding food or drink, which can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, and death
  • Failure to provide proper care, such as help with bathing or turning someone with bedsores
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Untreated illnesses or conditions
  • Improper medication administration
  • Failure to seek outside medical support for illness or injury
  • Inadequate supervision, which can lead to falling
  • Lack of an effective emergency plan in case of a natural disaster or public health crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Legitimate injuries and illnesses do happen from time to time, but keeping an eye out for the following signs can help you identify abuse. Indicators of abuse or neglect include:

  • Bedsores and bruising
  • Broken bones
  • Dehydration or malnutrition
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Changes in behavior, such as memory loss, signs of visible fear, or becoming withdrawn
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Reluctance to answer questions
  • Use of restraints
  • Uncommunicative staff and healthcare providers
  • Unexplained or sudden illness or death

Steps to Take if You Believe Your Loved One Is Being Abused

If you suspect someone you love is being abused, protecting their health and safety should be a top priority. Speak with your loved one in private and ask them questions about the care they’ve been receiving and if there are any problems. Let them know they can be completely honest and open with you and that you’re there to help. If nursing home staff refuses to give you time alone with your loved one, take action as soon as possible.

Speak with administrators or management about your concerns. It’s a good idea to write down what you’ve witnessed and your suspicions about what may be happening. Take photos of any injuries your loved one may have and include any poor or dangerous conditions in the nursing home. You may even want to talk with other residents about what they’ve seen and experienced. The more proof you have, the easier it will be to establish that nursing home abuse or neglect is taking place.

If nursing home administrators try to brush you off or stonewall you, contact an attorney. Being persistent can help your loved one stay safe. You can also report elder abuse to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. If you see clear evidence of abuse or believe a nursing home resident is in imminent danger, call the police.

How an Attorney Can Help

Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and compassion. If your loved one is being abused or isn’t receiving proper care, taking swift action may save their life, and a nursing home abuse lawyer can help you hold negligent parties accountable. Although no amount of money can change what has happened to your loved one, financial compensation can allow you to find proper care for them in a facility where they will be treated with dignity and respect.

Exposing nursing home abuse and neglect can also improve the quality of life for other residents in the facility and prevent them from being harmed in similar ways. If you have lost a loved one and suspect neglect, abuse, or negligence played a role in their death, an attorney may be able to help you pursue a wrongful death claim.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that many companies and administrators who run these facilities care more about their bottom line than their residents’ health and safety, so it’s critical to stay vigilant.

Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If you believe your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, our caring team at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad can help. We’ll do everything we can to help your loved one and pursue the justice and compensation they deserve.

Contact us online or call our Bethlehem office at 610-867-2900 to schedule a consultation. We serve clients throughout the Lehigh Valley and Pocono Mountains region with additional offices in Allentown, Stroudsburg, and Topton, Pennsylvania.

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