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Nursing Home Abuse
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Where to Get Help for Nursing Home Abuse

Finding out that your loved one has been abused in a nursing home is an upsetting time. You may not be sure where to turn for help. As long as your loved one's life is not in immediate danger, you have several avenues available to you for dealing with nursing home abuse.

Nursing Home Management

Although you may rightly feel that management should already know about abuse occurring in its facility, often it does not. Studies suggest that nursing home abuse is under-reported, so your complaint may be the first the nursing home's manager or administrator has heard of it.

When you meet with the manager, be calm and explain all the facts. Ask how he or she intends to correct the situation. Nursing homes are supposed to have procedures for dealing with abuse. If the manager appears willing to follow them, give them a chance to work. Be sure to follow up and make sure the abuse has stopped.

Of course, if you ever feel that your loved one's life is in immediate danger, dispense with the niceties and call 911.

State Adult Protective Services

Every state has resources for handling elder abuse. Often there will be a separate agency called Adult Protective Services (APS) or Agency on Aging. Sometimes the function is handled within another agency such as:

  • State Department of Health Licensing
  • County Department of Social Services

The investigator will interview you and your loved one, as well as any other relevant parties. He or she may also visit the nursing home unannounced to evaluate your claim. If the state finds support for your claim, it will take appropriate action and offer your loved one any needed services, including:

  • Medical attention
  • Counseling
  • Financial assistance
  • Placement in a different nursing home

The agency may also help with filing orders of protection or finding a lawyer for further action.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

If you are unhappy with the results you have gotten from the nursing home's management and/or APS, you may want to talk with a lawyer about filing a civil lawsuit. If you prefer, you can also have a lawyer help you file your complaint with APS.

Nursing home abuse law is a subcategory of personal injury law, so look for a personal injury lawyer who specializes in nursing home abuse. A lawyer can help you take the appropriate steps to protect your loved one and hold the nursing home accountable for the abuse. If your loved one is being abused, it is likely other residents are as well. Your lawsuit can help them all.

Remember, it is important to report nursing home abuse as soon as your discover it, because most states have a statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit.