Finding a nursing home for a loved one can sometimes be a difficult task. It is not always an easy decision to turn over the care of an elder to an outsider.
There are both state and federal standards in place that mandate the proper operation of nursing homes and ensure all residents have their needs met. Still, nursing home abuse is more common than you may think. Overall, it is estimated that around 10% of all seniors experience some sort of elder abuse.
A 2014 report from the Office of the Inspector General found the “nation’s nursing homes are underreporting or reporting [abuse], but failing to report pursuant to federal standards; and/or inadequately investigating when reports are made.”
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Abuse can manifest in many forms. It might result in physical injuries like bruises or scars, or emotional abuse in the form of intimidation or demeaning behavior. Some elders could be subject to financial abuse, where they might be coerced to reveal sensitive matters like bank account information.
You have the power to take action and work with a personal injury lawyer if you suspect abuse or neglect. Kentucky also has an elder abuse hotline you could contact in order to shed light on any instances of abuse.
However, there are steps you can also take on your own to help avoid nursing home abuse.
What Are Some Of The Steps?
1. Spot the warning signs of a bad nursing home: Before placing a loved one in a nursing home, watch out for some potential warning signs. Some red flags include a high turnover rate for staff or a history of violations. When you visit a nursing home, be on the lookout for foul odors. Odor can sometimes signify a lack of proper maintenance or general neglect.
2. Show up unannounced: Showing up to a nursing home unannounced can be a good way to monitor the quality of care your loved one is receiving. If you are too predictable in your visits, signs of abuse could be covered up before you arrive.
3. Evaluate abuse registries or background checks, if available: The centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have a National Background Check Program you might be able to use to find information on care facilities and providers. You may be able to get access to state abuse registries in order to vet individuals as well.
4. Ensure health care wishes: Ensuring the establishment of wills or trusts, or delegating power of attorney for health care and finances may be able to safeguard against financial exploitation. It will also help ensure quality care if a loved one becomes incapacitated.
5. Promote public awareness: The Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly has a variety of public campaigns concerning elder abuse you can review. The more informed you are about abuse in nursing homes, the more you can influence others about the issue.
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, contact Hunt Law today for a free consultation.