What To Do if You Suspect Neglect in Assisted Living

Caring for aging parents can mean making difficult decisions. Sometimes people are left with no choice but to turn to others to take full-time care of an elderly parent because they need round-the-clock attention from professionals. Finding the right assisted-living home can be a challenge, but once you have found a place, it will be left up to you to monitor the treatment of your parent. Federal, state, and local agencies tasked with policing the assisted-care industry have not caught many instances of neglect. So how do you know if your loved one is being neglected, or even abused, in an assisted-living facility, and what can you do about it?

Signs of Neglect

Regular visits to the assisted-living facility are the best way to keep an eye on your parent. You want to look for personality changes and physical evidence, such as bruises or bedsores. If your parent becomes depressed, it’s time to ask questions. If you are hesitant to approach the topic with the staff, you need to involve another family member that is not hesitant. You are paying for a service. That service should include a certain level of care. If that is not being met, you need to talk to the manager or owner of the facility.

assisted living

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If you believe there might be neglect happening, you can research the facility to determine if there is a pattern, and you can file a report with multiple agencies. You can start by contacting your state’s licensing agency and ask them about their reporting process. Medicare has a webpage that allows you to compare nursing homes and view recent inspection reports. The National Center on Elder Abuse has a comprehensive list of agencies in each state that take and investigate reports of neglect in nursing homes.

When filing a report with any agency be prepared to provide examples of your suspicions. If you can get photographs of physical signs of neglect to include with the claim, it can be very helpful. Follow up on your report on a daily basis.

The Next Step

Once you suspect neglect or abuse, you have to decide whether you will move your elderly parent. That can be complicated and costly. You may be able to request that certain employees not be left alone with your loved one until you can get them transferred. Sometimes assisted-living facilities have good policies and procedures in place but a few bad employees are not following the rules. In that case, the manager or owners should be eager to figure out who is responsible and get them out of the nursing home for good.

No elderly person should be neglected. There are standards of care that you should be able to count on in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities. If you suspect neglect, speak up. You have to listen to your instincts and be a tireless advocate for your elderly loved one.

John Davis is writing for Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers Golomb and Honik, P.C, a boutique law firm specializing in commercial and consumer litigation, class action litigation, personal injury law, and medical malpractice law.

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