Nursing home abuse happens to millions of Americans every year, but only a fraction of these cases are reported. If you have loved ones in a nursing home or residential medical center, below is what you should know about talking to them about their care.
How to Ask a Loved One About Nursing Home Abuse
Abuse is a difficult topic to breach, but the following questions can help you initiate the conversation with your loved one, including:
Do you like staying here?
Is there anything you need help with at the nursing home?
Are the people nice here? How do you get along with the nurses and aides? What about the other residents?
Do the people at the nursing home listen to you when you ask for something?
Do they follow your doctor’s prescribed care plan and schedule?
How do you feel since you moved here?
How did you get this injury?
Does anyone ever hurt you here?
Even if you raise the subject, your loved one might be reluctant to discuss it. Abusers often gaslight victims, which means they cause them to question their perceptions, thoughts, and recollections. Over time, people can feel responsible for another person’s abusive behavior. Psychologically, it’s difficult to admit when someone exerts control over you.
To make your loved one feel comfortable talking with you, visit frequently and ask open-ended questions that invite them to share their experiences. Try to keep your emotions in check, even if your loved one tells you something that makes you angry or defensive on their behalf. Responding emotionally can shut the conversation down or make them withhold information.
What Is Considered Abusive?
Abuse can take many forms, from inadequate sanitation services to verbal, physical, sexual, or financial harm. Neglect is one of the most common forms of nursing home abuse. Other examples can include social isolation, intimidation, financial extortion, verbal humiliation, withholding food or medications, healthcare fraud, and misusing restraints. In a nursing home, the abuser can be a doctor, nurse, aide, or another resident.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse?
If you think your loved one is in immediate, life-threatening danger, call the authorities. If you suspect abuse is occurring, report your concerns with Adult Protective Services (APS). APS will investigate the situation.
It can also be helpful to talk with an attorney to learn how you can protect your loved one and hold the responsible parties accountable. Most lawyers will schedule a free initial consultation for cases involving elder abuse.
If your loved one has experienced neglect or abuse at a nursing home in New Mexico, Balderrama Law Firm LLC can help. The law firm has served Carlsbad and the surrounding areas for over 30 years and will help you file a lawsuit to advocate for your loved one. They operate on a contingency fee basis for cases that involve nursing home abuse, which means you won’t owe any legal fees until the firm wins a settlement. To learn more about this firm, visit their website, or call (575) 234-1111 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with a lawyer.