No matter how much time and care goes into the search for nursing home care for your loved one, bad things can happen. You should not only be sure of your choice, but you must continuously monitor the facility and your loved one and be attuned to changes in conditions. Unfortunately, loved ones suffer from abuse and neglect far too often. Read on for information about what to look for and how to take legal action – both civil and criminal.

What are Abuse and Neglect?

You never want to imagine that your loved one could be a victim of either neglect or abuse. When it comes to neglect, it can be far more difficult for loved ones to identify the root cause of the problem. Your loved one may appear to be well cared for when you visit, but you might notice some unexpected busing or injuries when the cause was easily preventable. For example, it doesn't take much to break the hip of someone with osteoporosis, but when your loved one is supposed to be confined to a bed or a wheelchair that sort of injury should never happen. If your loved one's mood or demeanor changes and you begin to note anxiety, fear, and a depressed state, it might be due to ongoing neglect caused by the nursing home staff.

Signs of abuse can be more obvious, but not always. You should be aware that abuse comes in many forms. For example, be sure to monitor your loved one for the following problems:

  • Financial abnormalities: When you notice that your loved one's bank account, cash or credit cards have unexpected transactions.
  • Emotional changes: When your loved one informs you that they are yelled at, lied to, threatened, or other bad behavior.
  • Sexual abuse: When your bedridden loved one is diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease or other signs of sexual activity against their will.
  • Physical harm: When you loved one has unexplained broken bones or other injuries.

Reporting the Abuse

As soon as any indication of abuse or neglect arises, report it to the facility manager – but don't stop there. To ensure that a full investigation is performed, report issues to the police right away. Additionally, make reports to these agencies:

In addition to filing criminal charges, you may be entitled to seek personal injury compensation on your loved one's behalf. Preserve as much evidence as possible and speak to a lawyer about your loved one's case. Even your car accident lawyer may be able to give you important information that might help. You may not be able to make the harm go away by seeking financial compensation, but you can help ensure that others are not harmed by calling attention to it.