The kinds of abuse and neglect that occur in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are rarely so obvious that they can be spotted at a glance. Loved ones, for instance, rarely arrive for a visit only to discover that a resident has a black eye from being punched in the face by a caregiver.
Far more often, loved ones discover injuries that are explained away as “fall-related” because that explanation generally allows negligent or abusive caregivers to escape responsibility for their actions.
It can be even harder for loved ones to spot the unlawful mistreatment of residents if those residents are memory care patients. Older adults who suffer from Alzheimer’s, dementia or other conditions that affect their memories – and their ability to serve as reliable narrators – are uniquely vulnerable to abuse and neglect because they cannot generally be trusted to advocate for themselves in ways that others will take seriously.
What can loved ones do?
What loved ones need to keep in mind most significantly is that the rates of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are staggering. As a result, if something seems wrong and the explanation that a caregiver or a facility is providing doesn’t sit right, something is probably amiss.
It is important for loved ones of memory care patients to speak with an attorney if they suspect that their loved one is being mistreated – even if they cannot verify their suspicions. There are ways to discreetly uncover the truth in order to better ensure that residents remain safe and that their interests remain protected.