What to do if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect

Lauren Morgan Ellerman

Written by

Medical Malpractice Attorney

Contributor Level 13

Posted almost 5 years ago. 4 helpful votes

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1

Be Organized

If you know of numerous incidents where meals have been missed, medication errors occurred, etc., WRITE IT DOWN. Being organzied is a great way to keep tract of your complaints. I am grateful when clients call and say "I kept a journal and Mom was not given her medication 7 out of 15 days in April."

2

Complain to the Facility, in Writing

It is not enough to tell the nurse you have a complaint. She will forget it and act surprised in her deposition when I say "Isn't it true that Mrs. Smith's daughter complained about the medication errors before March 5th?" If you are going to complain, follow it up with a KIND, to the point, written complaint and keep a copy.

3

Do not make idle threats

Please don't tell the nursing home you are getting legal counsel. Don't make threats you cannot keep. If you want to move your loved one - don't threaten, just do it. They seem to do a great job of writing down threats from resident's families.

4

Don't wait, be proactive

If you think a physician consult or 911 call is necessary, don't expect the nursing home to do it. Initiate these important medical decisions yourselves. I have families often say "they didn't call 911 until I insisted." Yes, well many nursing homes have a policy not to call 911 unless it is life or death - so you call!

5

Call your local Adult Protective Services and State Health Dept.

It is always nice to have a formal investigation done by local health professionals. If they find abuse, they will let you know.

Additional Resources

http://www.nccnhr.org/

Formerly National Citizens Coalition for Nursing Home Reform

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