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Four tips for protecting loved ones from nursing home abuse in Kentucky

Nursing home abuse is an all too common occurrence throughout Kentucky, but by taking certain steps, people may better protect their loved ones.

Due to their health, age and other factors, people in Kentucky may have to make the difficult decision to move a loved one into a nursing home. Often, those who reside in these types of facilities require specialized or around-the-clock care. Unfortunately, residents in nursing homes are all too often abused or otherwise mistreated by the very staff members or professionals who are entrusted with their care. There are steps people can take, however, to help protect their loved ones and prevent them from such abuse.

Watch for signs of mistreatment

One of the most important things people can do to help safeguard their loved ones from elder abuse is to watch for potential signs. Some of the physical indicators of mistreatment may include bruises, broken bones and unexplained weight loss. The development of bedsores, poor hygiene, and their medical needs being left unattended may also point to abuse or neglect. Watching for these signs, as well as a sudden and inexplicable onset of dementia, health deterioration or withdrawal from normal activities, allows people to immediately spot and address concerns of mistreatment.

Visit often and irregularly

Staying involved and visiting regularly can be vital to helping people ensure their loved ones who reside in nursing homes get the care they deserve. However, if their visits are expected, they may only see what the facility or staff wants them to see. Therefore, while they should drop in regularly, it is advisable that people vary the times and days they visit.

Keep thorough records

Once a plan of care has been developed for their family members, some people leave their care and records in the hands of the facilities where they reside. It is a good idea, though, to maintain their own records. This should include the care plan and any pertinent admission documentation, as well as the dates and details regarding any requests, complaints and incidents that occur while their loved ones are residing there.

Reporting suspicions of abuse

If people suspect their loved ones are being mistreated in a nursing home, it is essential that they take swift action. They should report any incidents or concerns first to the facility management or administration. If the elder abuse is not adequately addressed at that level, people may choose to file a report with Adult Protective Services or the Office of the Inspector General. In situations when the harm or threat of harm is serious and imminent, they should immediately contact their local law enforcement.

Seeking legal counsel

Suffering mistreatment at the hands of those charged with their care may be devastating for nursing home residents and their families. Due to abuse or neglect, people may suffer injuries, worsened medical conditions or death. Thus, people whose family members have suffered elder mistreatment in a nursing home, or who suspect abuse or neglect may be occurring may benefit from obtaining legal representation. An attorney may help them protect the rights of their loved ones and guide them through the process of holding those responsible for the mistreatment accountable.