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Reporting nursing home neglect

Many different emotions usually play into a decision to place a loved one into a nursing home or assisted care facility. Feelings of guilt, abandonment, sadness and sorrow are usually involved, as well as anger and frustration. However, what most people don't anticipate is the fear and worry that accompanies a suspicion of nursing home abuse or neglect.

Nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious problem in many assisted care facilities in New Jersey and throughout the country. But many families, wary of stirring up trouble or of making a false accusation, hesitate to raise the allegations to home managers or law enforcement. However, those who suspect that their loved ones may be suffering abuse at the hands of nursing home staff should always act on their fears. This is especially true if the patient in question suffers from a disease such as Alzheimer's, has suffered a stroke, or has had his or her communicative abilities otherwise hampered.

Suspicions of nursing home abuse should first be reported to administrators at the care facilities. Some situations may warrant reporting the suspected abuse directly to a government authority such as a state Department of Public Health. Such an agency may be able to launch an investigation into the home, and take punitive action if it determines that abuse has taken plane.

Many families may be concerned that reporting wrongdoings could result in additional mistreatment of their loved ones. If this is a fear, it is important to remember that inaction will not help to improve the situation. Investigations against nursing homes are thorough, and any abuse uncovered will likely cause a home to adopt more effective measures of curbing neglect and mistreatment, which may save other nursing home residents from similar abuse.

Source: InjuryBoard, "How Should I Report Nursing Home Abuse? What Are The Risks?" Shayna Slater, 12 May 2011

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