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Uncovering elder abuse or neglect at a nursing home

Elderly residents staying in a New York nursing home may not always display signs of abuse. Unlike physical signs of neglect, such as bruises or sores, some forms of abuse may escape notice. However, unseen mistreatment such as emotional abuse or neglect may lead to serious physical or emotional injuries.

As noted by the National Council on Aging, abused or neglected elders face a risk of death 300% higher than those who do not experience maltreatment. Whether a caretaker lashes out with verbal insults or steals money from an elderly patient, a family has the right to put a stop to their loved one’s mistreatment.

Taking an active approach in a loved one’s care

Regular visits to a residential facility may help identify which caretakers appear careless or neglectful when treating patients. Asking a loved one an open-ended question about his or her daily routines and care may uncover instances of mistreatment. Encouraging a possible “silent victim” to open up about his or her care may enable family members to intervene before serious harm occurs.

An abused nursing home patient may feel either reluctant or fearful of discussing abuse or substandard care. Visiting relatives may need to probe beyond normal family talk to build a sufficient degree of trust. Learning the names of all the staff members involved in a loved one’s daily routines may also be helpful when discussing the quality of care.

Holding the facility responsible for negligence or abuse

Medical malpractice or caregiver neglect or abuse may require legal action. New York’s public health laws may find the nursing home liable when a residential care facility patient suffers a preventable injury or emotional harm. Awarded damages may include compensation for the patient’s pain and suffering.

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