The following are the steps that you
should take when you suspect nursing home abuse in order to protect an elderly person:
- Talk with the elderly person first - If you suspect nursing home abuse and have spotted signs of potential abuse, then you should speak with the elderly person. In many cases, the elderly person experiencing the abuse won't seek help themselves because they are either embarrassed or they fear some sort of retaliation from their caregiver. By showing your concern and sharing your suspicion, they may be more willing to open up. However, some elderly people may deny abuse even if it is occurring. If you strongly
suspect abuse, you should still report it.
- Reach out to the elderly person's family - If the elderly person isn't your spouse or a close family member, such as a sibling, parent or grandparent, then you should go directly to someone in their family. Have a conversation regarding the suspected abuse. They may be able to stop
whatever abuse is occurring by firing the caregiver immediately and by
reporting the incident to the police.
- Call the police - If you think that the elderly person
is experiencing physical abuse or severe neglect and you think that their
life might be in danger as a result, then you should call 911 right
away. They will intervene to make sure that if any abuse is happening,
that it stops immediately.
- Call the Eldercare Locator - If you suspect elder abuse but you
don't believe it's life-threatening (for example, you suspect potential
emotional abuse or financial abuse), then you should
call 1-800-677-1116 to speak with an operator on the Eldercare
Locator hotline. They will be able to provide information on local
resources as well as additional advice on what to do.
- File a report - You don't need to gather evidence if
you suspect elder abuse. That's not your job. Instead, you'll be asked to
fill out a detailed report once you contact the authorities. You'll need
to provide the personal information of the elder (name, address and
contact information), any information you have on their family supports if
you have it, the name of the caregiver you suspect of elder abuse, your contact
information, specific information regarding the suspected abuse and any
medical conditions the elderly person has that you know of.
Once you have filed a report, it will
be screened by your area's APS (Adult Protective Services) organization. In
emergency cases in which physical or sexual abuse is suspected, a caseworker
may investigate within 24 hours of the report's filing. Local police and
district attorneys may also investigate in such a case. Whatever the type of
abuse is suspected, the APS will look into it.
Even if they come to the conclusion
that there is no elder abuse, they will still coordinate with social and health
services to provide the elderly person with assistance. However, keep in mind
that an elderly person can refuse the services of the APS. Unless they have
cognitive impairments that leave them legally incapacitated, the APS must
respect their decision.
If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect elder abuse, then
you'll want to do everything you can to stop it. Follow these steps to report
any elder abuse that you might suspect.
In the unfortunate
case that nursing home abuse is confirmed engaging an experienced elder abuse attorney
is recommended to protect the abused person's rights. The Law Office of
Gloria Seidule can provide the needed assistance required to hold the
responsible party accountable for their actions. There are no fees unless
there is a recovery.
Facts About Nursing Home Abuse
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
Hollywood Nursing Home Elder Abuse