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How can I protect my parent from nursing home abuse?

Placing your elderly parent into a nursing home in Greenville was no easy decision. You researched your options well and chose a place that you believed was the safest place for your parent to receive the care and support he or she needs. Now that you are aware that nursing home abuse and negligence incidents are on the rise in assisted living and nursing home facilities across the country, you may be wondering what you can do to protect your parent and keep him or her from becoming a victim. 

Do not wait until your parent makes accusations of neglect and abuse. Here are some actions you can take to protect your mom or dad. 

Visit often 

You should visit your parent often. Try to arrive at various times of the day and when you the facility does not expect you so you can assess how the staff is taking care of your loved one. Pay attention to how the staff cares for the other residents. Familiarize yourself with the staff so you can keep track of who cares for your parent. Knowing the staff can also make you aware of when there is an issue with employee retention. A nursing home that constantly hires new staff may have a high turnover rate that could interfere with their ability to provide the standard and quality of care that your parent requires. 

Monitor your parent’s well-being 

Carefully assess your mother or father’s physical health and mental conditions every time you see them. If you notice extreme changes in his or her behavior or mental state, you should find out why. Watch how your parent interacts with his or her caregivers. If they act shy or withdrawn around you or anyone else, there may be a problem. They may feel scared to speak up to inform you about what is going on. Do not discount any suspicions or your gut feeling. If you suspect something is going on, it is better for you to find out for sure and take preventative actions than to ignore it. 

Document evidence and report the situation 

If you see signs of physical abuse on your parent’s body, such as bruising and bedsores, or if you notice they have injuries they cannot explain, take pictures of them. Document the date, time and circumstances that lead to their discovery. Report your findings to the nursing home administrator. You should also contact the authorities to file a police report. You may also want to follow up with the local long-term care ombudsman so a thorough investigation can take place. 

Nursing home abuse may be on the rise, but with careful diligence, you can help to prevent it. If it has happened, you can minimize its impact. If you suspect that your parent is experiencing mistreatment and not receiving the care and support he or she needs from his or her nursing home, consider speaking to an attorney to discuss your concerns.

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