Caring for an aging parent or loved one is difficult. And sometimes, it simply is not possible to care for them at home.
Having a loved one in a nursing facility can bring peace of mind in that you are assured they are getting the care they need…
…but it can also be troubling.
The abuse of elder individuals is a real, prevalent, increasing, and disturbing phenomenon.
Elder abuse is defined differently by different states and agencies.
For those living in Florida, elder abuse is:
- Intentionally causing physical or psychological harm to an elderly or disabled adult
- Intentionally committing an act expected to result in physical or psychological injury to an elderly adult
- Actively encouraging another person to commit acts resulting in (or expected to result in) physical and mental harm to an elderly or disabled adult
- Intentionally and unlawfully isolating an elderly or disabled adult or restricting access that person unless it is necessary for the individual’s protection and welfare.
Despite laws designed to protect elders from abuse, it still happens.
Elder abuse is not only a concern, it is a major concern for most Americans. According to the National Council on Aging, up to five million older adults are abused each year.
While elder abuse has not been as studied as other forms of abuse, many agree that the numbers of abuse are actually underestimated – making it more prevalent than statistics would indicate.
Elder mistreatment or abuse can occur in many different ways, It can occur in private homes, rural areas or in institutions.
So if you have a loved one who is in a nursing home and you have concerns about elder abuse, understand that this is not something that should be ignored, and you may want to speak to an elder abuse attorney.
4 Pro Tips Protect Your Loved One Against Nursing Home Abuse
Being aware of the problem is one thing, but what, if anything, can you do about it?
Again, the lack of extensive research in this area means that there is limited evidence regarding the effectiveness of any approach, nevertheless you can take steps to intervene and/or prevent abuse.
The following are 4 tips that can be helpful in preventing and/or addressing nursing home abuse.
- The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Oil. So Speak Up.
An old saying perhaps, but nevertheless possibly the best advice and best approach you can take in this situation.
If you have concerns, don’t hesitate —speak up.
Voice your concerns.
You don’t have to be rude, but you do need to speak up, alert the managers, and get involved.
When it comes to nursing home abuse, it is critical that you take a proactive role.
Many people worry that the nursing home will evict their loved one if they ask questions or point out problems, but asking questions and voicing your concerns is not a valid legal ground for discharging a patient. If you suspect your loved one was evicted because of your concerns, contact our team of nursing home abuse attorneys.
- Show Up. Frequently and Unexpectedly.
If your first tool for protecting your loved one is to speak up, equally effective is your presence in the nursing home. Making frequent visits is one of the best ways to make sure your loved one is getting proper care.
Even more effective is not being predictable in your visits.
Alter the days or times you arrive. This way, you will be able to see what is really going on. Making frequent visits lets the caregivers in the nursing home know that you are involved and are concerned about your loved one’s care. This works much in the same way as our “squeaky wheel” advice above.
- Educate Yourself
To effectively take a proactive role, you must first know what constitutes elder abuse and how to recognize the signs.
Not all signs of abuse show up as bruises or broken bones. Keep in mind that financial abuse can also occur.
It is important to educate yourself about the issue so you will be able to recognize it and report it if necessary.
- Talk to Your Loved One
Finally, if you have any concerns, try talking to your loved one. Many patients are hesitant to discuss abusive conduct before nursing home staff, so be sensitive to your loved one’s feelings and situation. Ask if anything is making them uncomfortable but be aware that they may be afraid to tell you the truth.
Talking to your loved one about financial scams or unusual charges may also be effective for preventing (or detecting) financial abuse as well.
Elder abuse is a horrendous crime. It is up to us to protect our loved ones as best we can. Educate yourself, stay aware, and be vigilant. And don’t hesitate to contact our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers if you need help.
Personal Injury Attorneys in North Central Florida.
John Fagan and his legal team are dedicated to helping those who are injured or disabled. Contact us here or simply call our firm at: 777-JOHN. We serve clients throughout Florida. Our main office is in Orange Park, but we have consulting offices in Palatka, Middleburg, Keystone, Starke, Gainesville, and Ocala.