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I visited my grandpa over the holidays at his nursing home and something didn’t seem right. What should I do if I suspect abuse?

 

A:

While nursing homes are the one place we place our elderly loved ones to receive care, sometimes they are harmed at the very hands of those we entrusted with our relatives. Because most people don’t suspect abuse is going on or that their loved one would be harmed in a nursing home, they don’t even look for nursing home abuse signs.

Because you have already allowed yourself to be open to the fact that something isn’t right with the way your grandfather is being treated, you may be able to save him from further abuse—if that is indeed what is occurring. If you noticed soiled sheets, poor hygiene, bruises, wounds, broken bones, a sudden change in his personality, or unexplained injuries, your assumption may be warranted.

If you aren’t sure what to do after suspecting nursing home abuse, here are some things you can do:

  • If your grandfather is coherent and able to speak, ask him if he is being harmed by anyone. Be aware that your grandfather may be embarrassed or afraid to report the abuser. For this reason, make sure you stay calm and let him know you love him and want to protect him and keep him safe.
  • Document the signs of abuse by taking notes. Also, take pictures of all the visible physical injuries before any injury heals and disappears.
  • Discuss your concerns with your other relatives to see if they have noticed any signs of abuse.
  • Approach the nursing home administrator with your concerns and documentation, such as pictures.
  • Contact the police if your grandfather reveals he is being abused.
  • Speak with an attorney to find out about filing a legal claim against the nursing home facility.

To learn how to better recognize signs of nursing home abuse, download a complimentary copy of our book, The Florida Nursing Home Abuse Handbook: Ways to Recognize & Prevent Abuse and Neglect.