If you have an elderly loved one who currently resides in a nursing home or assisted-living facility in New York and you have concerns about nursing home abuse, it is essential to learn more about making a report. A large percentage of nursing home abuse cases likely go unreported every year, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA). Indeed, some researchers suggest that only about 1 out of every 14 cases of elder abuse is reported, which would mean that more than 90 percent of all instances of nursing home abuse and neglect are not properly reported. Friends, family members, and seniors themselves can make a difference and can report abuse.
Reporting nursing home abuse and neglect can hold facilities accountable and can help to prevent similar instances in the future. The more that nursing home abuse is reported in New York, older adults will be less likely to sustain serious and life-threatening injuries in facilities that do not put patient safety and care first. The following are steps you should take in order to report nursing home abuse or neglect in Albany, Rochester, Syracuse, or elsewhere in New York State.
Recognize the Symptoms of Elder Abuse and Document It
In order to properly report nursing home abuse or neglect, you need to be able to identify signs and symptoms of that abuse. If you cannot recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse, you will not be able to adequately report it. While many people assume that nursing home abuse only involves physical injuries, there are actually many different types of elder abuse and neglect, and the signs might not always be so obvious unless you are looking for them. If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect, you should take steps to document it. The NCOA cites the following types of nursing home abuse and neglect, and accompanying signs and symptoms:
- Physical abuse: Many instances of nursing home abuse are physical, and signs and symptoms may include bruises, broken bones, burn marks, abrasions, physical evidence of restraints (such as marks around the arms or wrists), cuts, and any other unexplained physical injuries.
- Emotional or psychological abuse: This type of nursing home abuse can be more difficult to identify because it may not be accompanied by obvious signs or symptoms. Emotional abuse symptoms can include but are not limited to depression, difficult relationship between a senior and a staff member, senior appearing scared, senior appearing withdrawn, and a change in the senior’s interest in normal or everyday activities.
- Verbal abuse: When a senior at a nursing home or assisted-living facility is subject to verbal abuse, you may see some of the symptoms associated with emotional abuse cited above, and you also might learn of threats or belittling language used toward the senior.
- Neglect: Passive neglect does not reflect a nursing home or its staff members’ intention to cause harm, yet poor staff numbers and overworked nurses can result in injuries from neglect. Common signs of neglect include bedsores, lack of necessary medicines or medical devices, poor hygiene, malnourishment, dehydration, and unexplained weight loss.
Know Who to Call or Contact
The next step in reporting nursing home abuse is knowing who to contact and actually making the report. Once you have identified signs or symptoms of nursing home abuse, you should not delay in contacting the appropriate authorities or agency. You can do one or all of the following:
- Call the local police department;
- Contact a long-term care ombudsman;
- Call your elderly loved one’s doctors; and/or
- Report the nursing home abuse to the New York State Department of Health.
As the NYS Department of Health explains, “all complaints and incidents received about nursing homes are reviewed by the Department,” and investigations are conducted when appropriate. An investigation can involve interviews with witnesses and employees at the nursing home, reviewing medical records, and performing other actions at the nursing home.
Seek Advice from an Albany Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Once you report nursing home abuse to the appropriate authorities, you should also report the abuse to an experienced and compassionate nursing home abuse lawyer. A nursing home abuse attorney in New York can discuss your options for filing a lawsuit against the nursing home facility, its owners, or a staff member.
Contact Our Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys for Help
At Powers & Santola, LLP, we routinely assist individuals and families alike with nursing home abuse and neglect claims in New York State. We know how vulnerable the elderly population of New York remains, and we want to do everything we can to help you hold a nursing home accountable for elder abuse injuries. Nobody should have to worry about sustaining injuries as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect. Our Albany nursing home abuse attorneys can speak with you today about your options for filing a claim. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP to learn more.