Elder abuse worries anyone who has a loved one reliant on someone else for daily care. The vulnerability of seniors makes it vital for people to stay aware of what is happening around their friends or relative, so they can act if something seems suspicious. Everyone should know what to look for and what to do if they suspect problems at a skilled nursing facility in Virginia.
Discuss the concerns
Anyone concerned about a personal injury that happened in a nursing home should understand how to report these concerns. Not every injury is a sign of abuse. Seniors may fall, and people may lose weight from illness or emotional issues. The staff may have already corrected a problem. Reporting issues in a fair and organized manner can avoid false accusations.
Explain the concern to the nursing staff and ask for an explanation. If problems continue or the nursing staff does not respond as expected, take the complaint to the facility social worker, directors, or supervisor. Consider taking your loved one to their doctor for a checkup and discuss all concerns. Encourage seniors to talk about their experiences.
Notice red flags
A bump or bruise may mean nothing, but when these injuries appear along with other issues, it could signal elder abuse. Knowing the signs of elder abuse can help stop the problem sooner. Sudden depression, fearfulness, and withdrawal from family and friends may occur. People may look dirty and unkempt or have medical needs going unmet. Some will show physical signs like bruises or scars and not have an explanation for how they happened.
Take immediate action
Families should remove seniors from a suspected unsafe facility as soon as possible. File a complaint with a state licensure office or another agency overseeing nursing facilities. If a traumatic injury occurs, call 911 and file a police report. Call senior advocacy groups to find more local resources for elder protection.
Families rely on nursing facilities to care for their elders when they cannot. Placing someone in a home to keep them safe and having them experience abuse in that residence is inexcusable. People should never ignore their instincts or believe staff excuses over the visible injuries on a loved one.