When you place an aging loved one under the care of someone else, you assume that he or she will be well cared for. And, while that is sometimes the case, it is also true that many elderly people suffer from abuse by their caregivers. In fact, the National Council on Aging reports that about one in every 10 Americans aged 60 or older will experience elder abuse.
With the sad reality that abuse of elderly people is so prevalent, it is important to know how to protect your loved one. If despite your efforts to prevent it, they do suffer abuse, you’ll have a better understanding of how to stop the abuse, and your legal options.
If your loved one was abused, is being abused, or is at risk for abuse, call 911 immediately. Explain the situation in detail and don’t be shy or hold back from sharing pertinent information. The law enforcement authority that responds can assess the situation and make a formal report. Be sure to get a copy of the police report so that you can provide it to a lawyer like a personal injury lawyer Harrisonburg VA trusts should you decide later on to file a claim or lawsuit.
Voice Your Suspicions to a Healthcare Professional
If you suspect that elder abuse is occurring to your elderly loved one in a residential care facility, tell a nurse or other healthcare professional on staff about your suspicions. However, this is typically only the best option if you live in a “mandated reporting” state. Check with an elder care attorney to be sure.
- These are states in which certain professionals, including healthcare professionals, are required by law to report any suspected abuse to the appropriate authorities.
- Follow up to make sure they carried out their responsibility to report it and they should provide you with proof of having done this.
Document Evidence of the Abuse
No matter how you choose to address the abuse that you suspect, be sure to document any potential evidence you may have. Taking photos of the injuries or getting written statements from the victims and/or the witnesses of the abuse can go a long way toward helping you and your loved one get the justice that you deserve.
Once you have appropriately reported and documented the abuse, be sure to seek the help and advice of an elder care or personal injury lawyer experienced with handling these types of cases. It’s important that you consider seeking legal counsel so that the abuse case is handled appropriately and your loved one can recover their damages.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from MartinWren, P.C. for their insight into nursing home negligence and elder abuse cases.