The physical abuse of elderly residents in nursing homes is a serious issue that manifests differently in each case. Nursing home misconduct can include physical, sexual, emotional, or financial abuse. Family members must stay vigilant to the care their loved ones receive in assisted living facilities, as the elderly residents may be vulnerable and unable to advocate for themselves.
There are essential first steps to take if you suspect nursing home abuse of a loved one in a Mesa nursing home or assisted living facility. It is vital to talk to your loved one to ask if they are being mistreated or neglected. Although your loved one may not feel safe admitting that they are being abused, it is essential to trust your instincts in irregular or suspicious circumstances. A knowledgeable attorney with experience handling these types of cases could provide you with the support and legal guidance needed to navigate through this difficult situation.
Nursing home abuse can occur when a nursing home employee is negligent to a patient’s needs or intentionally inflicts physical, mental, or emotional trauma. Out of fear of further punishment or embarrassment, many elderly residents do not inform their families of the neglect. It then places the responsibility on loved ones to be aware of common signs of abuse or neglect that varies from facility to facility. The first step in preventing ongoing harm is recognizing signs of nursing home abuse in Mesa. Some immediate signs of abuse include but are not limited to:
In non-emergency circumstances, it may be necessary to gather information to support the belief that a loved one has been abused. This may require collecting medical records, accident reports, photos of the suspicious injuries or conditions, and witness testimony from other residents or trustworthy caregivers. If a resident’s family notices any signs of abuse, neglect, or exploitation at the loved one’s nursing home, immediate action must be taken to protect them from continued mistreatment.
One of the first things to do if there are signs of abuse is to speak with the Mesa nursing home staff. If there is no reasonable explanation for injuries or suspicious behavior in response to questioning, the family should remove their loved one from the nursing home facility. Although challenging, it is essential to try to remain calm as nursing home staff are more likely to cooperate with family members who stay composed, firm, and respectful. However, if a facility fails to correct deficiencies in care, family members should not hesitate to contact the authorities, file a complaint, and start gathering evidence of abuse.
If a Mesa nursing home resident is in immediate danger, the first step the family makes should be to call the police. Where there is no immediate danger, the family can contact and file a complaint with several state agencies, including the Adult Protective Services, police department, or Department of Health Services (DHS), to initiate an official investigation. Complaints can be filed against several different departments and levels of staff at nursing homes.
Additionally, Arizona law requires that health care practitioners and other mandatory reporters that suspect elder abuse to report the circumstances to a designated agency. If an assisted living facility knew about the misconduct and took no steps to remedy the issue, they may also able be liable for failure to report.
In nursing home abuse cases, it can be difficult to know who to tell or what next steps to take. Experienced attorneys understand what people go through when they find out their loved one was abused at a nursing facility. If your loved one suffered damages, like medical expenses, pain and suffering, and emotional distress, a compassionate lawyer could help you pursue a civil lawsuit to hold the assisted living facility responsible. Contact an attorney today to help you navigate the first steps to take if you suspect nursing home abuse in Mesa.