Would you recognize the warning signs if your loved one was a victim of nursing home abuse? Would you know what to do? Do you know how to give a loved one with dementia a voice when they don’t have one? Read on as I explain what to do if you suspect that your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse.
1. Ask your loved one if they’re being mistreated.
If you suspect that your loved one is being mistreated, the first order of business is to simply ask them, “How are they treating you here? Do you feel safe?” Hopefully, your loved one will answer you honestly, but be aware: Sometimes victims of abuse will keep quiet out of fear of getting their caregiver in trouble, or out of fear of retaliation.
2. Be vigilant if your loved one has dementia.
Alzheimer’s for example, is a progressive disease; symptoms get worse over time. If your loved one has dementia, they may not have the mental faculties to report the abuse. Since dementia patients are at a higher risk of abuse, it’s important that their friends and family are extra vigilant and pay attention to the warning signs. If your loved one has unexplained bruising, ligature marks, or other injuries, you must get down to the bottom of it.
3. Realize the nursing home could be lying.
In a August 2017 NPR article, it discussed a case where an elderly woman was sexually assaulted at a nursing home. After the attack, the home cleaned her off, destroying all evidence of the crime. According to Curtis Roy, an employee of the Department of Health and Human Services, “They went so far as to contact the local police department to tell them that they did not need to come out to the facility to conduct an investigation.” This incident demonstrates that nursing homes can lie, so it’s important to be aware of that.