Neglect or Abuse is sometimes difficult to immediately identify. An Elder Law Attorney will help you understand clearly the elder parents’ rights based on the questionable situation you find your loved one in:
- Rights and responsibilities of the care facility
- How to recognize the signs of neglect or abuse of a loved one
- To “speak up” for your vulnerable loved one when they cannot speak for themselves
- Assist in litigation or mediation to rectify damaging treatment of your parent
- To understand your rights as an advocate, and make sure that your voice is heard
There are several red flags of abuse by caregivers that are signs a professional should be consulted. These include a misuse of promised services and their outcomes:
- Regular meals – dramatic weight loss.
- Conversation and interaction – lack of communication from nursing staff resulting in needs not be accommodated.
- Cleanliness in the environment and with regular bathing – severe infections such as MRSA is commonly contracted through unsanitary conditions in Nursing and Hospital Facilities. Diseases like this can become fatal to your parent.
- Low ratio of care giver to patients – unsettledness in parent may lead to high ratios.
- Regular exercise and free roaming environment – wrist marks from restraints, unexplained bruises, bed sores, etc.
- Listed caretaking obligations on marketing flyers and in lobbies – lack of performance constitutes more than half of all reported cases of elder abuse. Active or passive abuse based on ignorance or denial that an elderly patient needs additional care.
- Happy and uplifting environment for all – described as humiliating or threatening verbal abuse; and/or belittling or demeaning emotional abuse. Look for a sudden change in personality.
- Enjoy a regular “care conference” that keeps you apprised of your parent’s well being is required. Include representatives from all areas of a care facility, including diet, nursing, social services, occupational and physical therapy. Make sure this promised service is being regularly scheduled by you!
Find an Elder Law Attorney in your local area. The National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) will guide in identifying this specialty in local attorneys. Look for one that specializes in Nursing Home Neglect.
- A Power of Attorney gives you a strong influence in the care of your parent. Make sure that proper legal documents are in place.
- Have a written record of incidents of your suspicion of abuse, which includes dates, and key specifics of the events.
- Make sure you get names of caregivers that you suspect have wronged or neglected your loved one.
- If you have had meetings with caregivers or care conferences, request copies of all documents or patient logs.
- Do you specialize in Elder Abuse or Nursing Home Neglect?
- How long have you been in practice? How many cases have you resolved?
- As you discuss your situation, is the professional listening to your concerns and fears?
- Is patience and compassion being show?
- Describe a most difficult case and how it was resolved.
- What are the steps you would take to help us now; and in the future?
- What are the steps we should take now to help our loved one?