What Should You Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

Nursing home abuse and neglect

One of the great fears we all have is finding one of our loved ones or eventually ourselves in a nursing home.  Add to those concerns, being in an abusive or neglectful environment.  Unfortunately, age and ill-health may eventually lead to the need for nursing care and a level of attention that we cannot provide ourselves.  There are many excellent nursing homes.

Nursing homes are a heavily regulated industry, and most of those regulations are designed to help insure that patients are properly and attentively cared for.  When our worst fears are realized, here are some of the signs to watch out for, and what to do if you have concerns:

  • Are there unusual bruises, sores or swollen areas on the body, or has there been a sudden and otherwise unexplained change in physical or mental status;
  • When seeking help or assistance, have you notice, or has your loved one noticed, long waits for attention?
  • If your loved one has clear infirmities, are there procedures in place that your loved one understands for going to the bathroom, taking meals or otherwise moving about?
  • All though difficult to assess, simply speaking, does there seem to be adequate staff on or about the premises to attend to your loved one’s needs?
  • Are the premises clean?  Is your loved one clean?  Are the bed clothes, sheets, towels all clean?
  • Finally, do you see any signs of financial exploitation?  Is the nursing home advocating a transfer of assets, changing of a will or a power of attorney that would give the nursing home’s employees some control over your loved one’s assets or income?

If you notice a deficiency in any of the above items, your first task is to make an inquiry of the facility.  In case there continues to be shortcomings, any complaints should be made in writing.  If there is no correction, a call in Missouri should be made to The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.  There is an abuse hotline:  (800) 392-0210.

If there is personal injury, or if your loved one dies as a result of suspected abuse or neglect, you should also consult with an attorney with experience in handling nursing home cases.  Only attorneys with experience in navigating the applicable regulations should be considered.  At Monsees & Mayer, our attorneys have handled nursing home neglect and abuse cases for over 20 years.  Our success is a testament to our experience.