It was a hard decision to put your 83-year-old mother into an assisted living facility. You weighed the pros and cons and discussed it with family at least one hundred times. Finally, you saw you were not giving her the attention she needed. You knew this would be better for her. She needed someone to give her full-time care with more medical knowledge than you could ever gather on the internet. You researched facility after facility to make sure she have the best care possible. You decide on a home where one of your childhood friend’s mother is. They are happy with her care, and this way your mom will already know someone.
Moving day was hard, she was putting on a brave face but you knew she was not happy with the situation. You told her this would be a great place for her, you would visit all the time and she would make friends with her new neighbors. You were not able to visit mom for a few weeks but you called at least every other day to check in. There was something not right. You made the time to go over and see her face-to-face. She was thinner and was starting to not look like herself. You were immediately worried, she said she was okay but her ankle was hurting. You lifted the blanket to look at it, it was obviously swollen, and it might even be sprained. How do that happen? Why hadn’t you been called?
Patient abuse is a huge problem in assisted living facilities and comes in many forms. The elderly, disabled, and other requiring extended care are easy victims for abuse. Most cases do not get reported and go undetected for years. Even the nicest facilities can make bad hiring choices.
It is important to be prepared, vigilant, and informed when placing a loved one into a nursing home. It is important to investigate any claims your loved one may make of mistreatment. You can also keep your eye out for warning signs such as:
- Your loved one seem depressed, withdrawn, or unhappy with their care
- Your loved one is uncomfortable with their caregivers or uncharacteristically unfriendly
- There are sudden or unexpected changes in your loved one’s financial situation
- The room or facility seems dirty or unkempt
- Your loved one is suffering from an inexplicable injury or lingering sores
- Your loved one has sudden weight loss with no associated medical reason
- Your loved one seems uncharacteristically unkempt, smells bad, or seems otherwise unwashed
- Personal items such as jewelry go missing
If you have a family member that you suspect is being abused in their facility, it is imperative to speak with an attorney that has handled this type of case before. Neglect and abuse under a medical professional’s supervision is a tragedy that can be prevented for other families when one person speaks up about their issue with an establishment. It is only right to get justice for those who can’t necessarily get it for themselves.