The Vastness of the Law

What To Do When You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing home abuse is insidious, and unfortunately also very easy to pull off as many nursing home residents can't fight back that easily. Plus, it's all too easy for abusive staff to just drug the resident so the resident can't describe what's happening. If you suspect your family member or friend is being abused in a nursing home, you need to act fast, but you need to do so in a legal way.

Go With More People, i.e., Witnesses

First, start taking more people with you when you go to visit the resident. You want witnesses who can see the behavior of the resident, the staff, other residents, and so on. You want to know if others pick up on what you've picked up on. Make sure the others know why you want them there so they can look for small signs. When abuse is a possibility, even a tiny hint can break a case wide open. Learn about local recording laws, too, because recording someone without their permission can be tricky given your state's laws. If one of you pulls out a phone camera and starts to record an interaction, you want to make sure you are following the law.

Take Pictures With the Resident's Permission

If the abuse is physical, ask the resident if you can take pictures of the injuries. Remember that nursing home abuse may not involve people hitting the resident; it could take the form of neglect, with damage being bedsores, unusually cracked or dirty skin, and terrible living conditions. You want pictures of anything that is not normal.

See About Non-Physical Abuse

Nursing home abuse may involve verbal and psychological abuse; make sure the resident knows that you want to help them get out of that situation in case they are worried that saying anything could potentially increase the abuse should the abusive person find out. Abuse can also be financial; it helps to have someone outside the nursing home, like you, help the resident keep track of what money they're supposed to get versus what they actually get.

Contact a Lawyer Immediately

If it becomes clear that there really is something going on, call a lawyer immediately so you can start collecting more specific evidence and build a case. The nursing home abuse lawyer can guide you through the process and help you if the case results in arrests and a court trial.