Did you know that a federal investigation found that California had the second highest number of potential nursing home abuse cases go unreported to the authorities? This disturbing fact highlights why we must all remain vigilant against elder abuse. Which measures can you take to prevent abuse and negligence in a nursing home?
How You Can Help Fight Elder Abuse
Can you believe that 25 percent of serious cases of possible nursing home abuse go unreported to authorities? Well that’s what the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General claims in a report it released earlier this year. Investigators found 134 potential abuse cases across 33 states, and what these cases revealed was quite disturbing.
According to federal law, nursing facilities have two hours to report suspected abuse or neglect that results in a serious injury. If the incident does not involve a serious bodily injury, that deadline is extended to 24 hours. However, of the cases examined by HHS, authorities were not contacted within the two-hour time limit in 28 percent of the cases. Considering most of the cases HHS studied required that the nursing home resident receive emergency medical treatment, this is especially disturbing.
HHS is now recommending that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services audit their records to identify more cases of potential abuse, and you can do the same. If your loved one who lives in a nursing facility starts to withdraw from socializing or begins to act strangely, it could be a sign of abuse. Keep your eyes open for bruises, open wounds or sores on your loved one’s sensitive areas. Don’t be afraid to confront nursing staff if you feel something is wrong. Always make sure the authorities are well informed of any developing situation.
You should also consider speaking to an attorney to help protect your loved one’s rights. Experienced counsel can not only help ensure your that loved ones are not taken advantage of in a nursing facility, it can also help you address wrongs committed against nursing home residents.