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What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse - A Guide

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The decision to place your loved one in a nursing home isn’t taken lightly. Naturally, we feel a responsibility to our parents, in-laws, grandparents, and aging aunts or uncles. But unfortunately, we don’t always have the time, money, or ability to care for them as well as we might like. 

In these circumstances, nursing homes and assisted living facilities provide an outlet to the benefit of all involved. That said, not every nursing home or caregiver is up to the task.

Nursing Home Abuse on the Rise Nationwide & in Birmingham, AL

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing home abuse has been on the rise. Strained caregivers, little oversight, and staffing shortages have continued to plague the industry at the expense of our loved ones and ourselves. 

Shockingly, the World Health Organization estimates that upwards of 16% of people over the age of 60 have experienced some form of community abuse. Over 60% of nursing home staff have admitted to some form of abuse (major or minor) in the past year.

So, what can you do if you suspect nursing home abuse?

Nursing Home Abuse - Next Steps & How You Can Help

Abuse in nursing homes may be more common than we think, but that’s no guarantee that it’s happening to your loved one. If you’ve suspected nursing home neglect, or even considered hiring a personal injury lawyer, there are a few next steps you can take before accusations are made.

The nursing home abuse attorneys at Low Cost Lawyer understand your aggravation. That’s why we charge an industry-low 30% fee (10% less than standard) to seek justice for you and your loved one. 

If you suspect elderly abuse at your loved one’s nursing home, call us today at 855-595-8889. Until then, here’s how you can strengthen your case. 

If you fear for your loved one’s imminent safety, don’t hesitate to contact state and local authorities. You may also turn to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Observe & Document

Rushing to judgment or being quick to confront nursing home staff may only hurt your cause. As your loved one’s primary point of contact and confidant, there are steps you can take before making accusations.

Possible Signs of Abuse

The first step in establishing a pattern of neglect or abuse is looking for the signs. Don’t be afraid to speak candidly with your loved one about their mood, physical appearance, or any injuries they may have. 

If you notice frequent cuts or bruises, ask your loved one how they happened. If your loved one appears less hygienic than usual, see if you can get them to talk about it. Untreated illnesses (such as respiratory infections, colds, or others) could also be a sign that they’re not getting the care they need. 

If you have access to your loved one’s financial records, you might also be on the lookout for unusual transactions and sudden or drastic withdrawals. Finally, changes in mood may indicate that their living situation is more stressful or hostile than before.

Each of these signs on its own may be perfectly explainable. But when taken together, these instances might paint a picture of abuse. 

Potential Evidence You Can Gather

With your loved one’s cooperation and consent, you can begin building a portfolio of potential evidence on their behalf. When possible, speak to your loved one and use photos, medical records, recorded discussions, or written testimonies to document the following:

  • Rapid weight loss or drastic shifts in mood & outlook
  • Bruises, cuts, bedsores, broken bones, illnesses, & STIs
  • Suspicious withdrawals or unusual payments to unfamiliar parties
  • The use of physical restraints
  • Written or recorded statements about abuse or neglect

Even if your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s important to take their statements seriously. By documenting these possible signs of nursing home abuse as they happen, you’re helping to establish a pattern that could prove invaluable later on.

Gently Interview Caregivers

As your loved one’s primary point of contact, it’s completely reasonable that you would be interested in their care and their progress. Don’t be afraid to request documentation, arrange meetings with caregivers, or otherwise inquire about your loved one’s health and happiness within the nursing home or assisted living facility. 

As you speak to staff, make sure to jot down names and take extensive notes. If your loved one has friends within the community, you might also speak to them and document their experiences. The same is true of their loved ones and family. Every resource can get you closer to understanding the situation fully.

If the staff is evasive when questioned, hostile, or dismissive of your concerns, that could be a sign of abuse or neglect in itself. If you’re given the runaround when asking for documents or otherwise put off when questioning the care your loved one receives, you may have to take your suspicions a step further.

Contact the Alabama Department of Senior Services

Each state has a nursing home ombudsman (also called a long-term care local ombudsman)—a dedicated, consumer representative who solves issues with care facilities on behalf of the general public. 

Alabama is one of a handful of states to have its own local care ombudsman within the Department of Senior Services. The ombudsman can work with you to resolve issues, protect your loved one, and investigate complaints. They can also educate you and your loved one on your rights and offer further guidance. 

Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

The local long-term care ombudsman plays a vital role and can bring many resources to bear in your pursuit of answers. But in order to definitely establish a pattern of abuse or neglect, you may need a legally-empowered investigator to research the matter on your behalf. This is where a nursing home abuse lawyer comes in.

A nursing home abuse attorney can review your case, look over your evidence, listen to your observations, and recommend next steps. As your legal representative, a nursing home abuse lawyer can demand answers from staff and nursing home management. 

Finally, a nursing home abuse attorney can help you seek damages and compensation for the mistreatment of your loved one, turning the page on an unfortunate situation and making you and your loved one feel whole. 

Do You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect in Birmingham, AL?

If you’ve noticed any of the potential signs of neglect listed above, or if your loved one has outright accused nursing home staff of physical or mental abuse, don’t hesitate to contact Low Cost Lawyer today. With 30 years of experience in personal injury law and nursing home abuse law, we know what it takes to crack open the layer of secrecy and get you the answers you deserve. 

By leveraging technological innovations in our office, we’re able to save on daily expenses and pass those savings on to our clients. With an industry-low 30% contingency fee, we leave more for you and your loved one to recover with after nursing home abuse or neglect.

Call Low Cost Lawyer today at 855-595-8889 or contact us online.

Observe, Document, Interview, & Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer.

At Low Cost Lawyer, we understand how maddening it can be to suspect physical or mental abuse in your loved one’s nursing home. But before you rush to judgment or confront staff, make sure your case and your evidence are as strong as possible. If you suspect abuse, don’t hesitate to call 855-595-8889 or contact us online. We’ll advise you on next steps, use our experience to guide your observations, and help you seek justice for the suffering of your elderly loved one.

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