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Ways to minimize risks of nursing home neglect

Too many people make the mistake of thinking that patients in a nursing home facility have no family members who want to care for them or have no family whatsoever. But the fact is that nursing home residents often have family members who love and care for them very much.

While relatives may not be able to serve as a care provider for an elderly loved one by themselves, they can be vital advocates and protectors to ensure a nursing home patient is being properly cared for.

Unfortunately, nursing home residents are vulnerable and may be at risk for being abused or neglected. Their mental capacity may be diminishing, their physical strength may be depleted and their emotional and psychological state may be greatly compromised by medication, depression and other illnesses. This can make them a target for ruthless, opportunistic people who may be the very same people tasked with providing care.

While family members and loved ones cannot keep an eye on these patients all day every day, there are important ways that they can act as protectors. In order to minimize the risk of neglect or abuse, family members can:

  • Visit frequently and pay attention to any physical problems like bruising or cuts
  • Discuss care procedures with providers and ask questions to stay informed
  • Monitor the financial resources of a loved one as much as may be appropriate and report any unusual activity
  • Observe any behavioral changes that may be troubling
  • Routinely check on amenities and services promised by the facility and make sure they are in place

Checking in on the well-being of a loved one and keeping abreast of the care they are receiving can be the best way to ensure they are safe. If there is reason to be concerned, attentive family members can address the issue before it gets worse.

Another way to defend elderly loved ones and get them out of a potentially dangerous situation can involve taking legal action on their behalf. Filing a claim against a negligent or abusive facility or nursing home worker can not only put a stop to horrific treatment, but it can also draw attention to what may be widespread negligence and protect other patients as well.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Nursing Home Abuse Claims," accessed on May 5, 2015

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