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What can you do if you suspect elderly abuse or neglect?

You took your time and did everything right when you chose the assisted living home in Panama City your elderly loved one now lives in. However, you suspect they are being abused or mistreated in some way that has resulted in mild to severe injuries over the course of the last few months. Although you may not want to make any accusations without proof, here are some things you can do to if you if suspect nursing home negligence and abuse.

Watch for signs of abuse

You should visit your loved one often. Make surprise visits so the nursing home staff do not have time to hide any evidence that may indicate abuse and neglect. This may also give you a chance to see staff members interacting with other residents so you can assess whether or not any abuse or negligent activity is occurring.

Try to pay close attention to your loved one's behavior and physical appearance. If you notice bleeding, bedsores, bruises, broken bones, a withdrawn demeanor, or sudden changes in his or her emotional and mental state, there is a possibility that your concerns are valid. You should also monitor finances for signs of recent delinquent bills, missing money, suspicious transfers and changes in estate plans.

How to report your suspicions

Nursing home staff have a duty to report any suspicions they have to the authorities. However, this may not always happen. You may want to document any concerns you have regarding your elderly loved one's care and living environment that could be detrimental to his or her health and well-being. You should describe the issues in detail and take pictures. Inform the nursing home administrator of your suspicions about your loved one's treatment and symptoms.

You should find out the names of the staff and residents that come in contact with your relative. In addition to informing the administrator of the facility, you may want to contact a long-term care ombudsman so an investigation and corrective measures can occur. If your loved one has sustained serious injuries, you may want to consider contacting local law enforcement to make a report.

If necessary, you may want to start planning for your elderly relative to move to another nursing home. You should discuss the situation with him or her so there is a level of comfort about the changes that need to occur. If you feel that your loved one has been neglected and abused in any way during a stay at a nursing home or assisted-living facility, you should speak with an attorney about the situation.

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