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Jun 29, 2019 11:33 AM EDT

How Children Can Help Prevent Nursing Home Abuse


Children often feel a responsibility for their parents. Caring for a loved one may seem like the responsible thing to do, and in many cases, it is very responsible. But providing all-day care for a parent can be difficult. A lot of children decide that a nursing home may be the best choice for their parents, and it's definitely a good choice - sometimes.

More than 2 million Americans live in nursing homes, but only 1-in-14 cases of elder abuse is reported or investigated.

Children who put their parents into nursing homes, or even if the parent chose to go into a nursing home, can help prevent abuse.

A few of the ways to prevent abuse include:

Keep in Contact Daily

Stay in contact with your parents daily. Your goal is to see how the parent is doing, and to also keep the social aspect of happiness in place. Daily contact is a good way to have a daily list of your parent's activity.

You can be sure that:

  • Medications were taken

  • Daily grooming occurred

Take these daily contacts as a way to judge your parent's happiness, too. Depression and withdrawal are two major signs of abuse, so if you notice these signs, you may want to ask your parent what's wrong.

Keep Tabs on the Facility

You should be keeping tabs on the facility. Research the facility before your parent is enrolled. You also want to keep up with any news of abuse at the nursing home. Google Alerts are a great way to be notified of any new news pertaining to the nursing home.

If someone else has filed a complaint of abuse, you should question the health and safety of your loved one.

Know the Multiple Forms of Abuse

Abuse doesn't always mean physically attacking a patient. There are many forms of abuse, and the more you know about the abuse at nursing homes, the better prepared you will be to fight back.

The forms of abuse may include:

  • Financial

  • Emotional

  • Sexual

  • Neglect

  • Physical

A nursing home staff member may force a loved one to provide their financial details to them. Neglect can occur with your loved one not receiving the care or medication that they're supposed to have administered.

Sexual assault can happen often, and some patients may also be physically harmed by nursing home staff.

Look for all signs of abuse to better protect your loved one.

Signs of Abuse

Multiple signs of abuse can be present, and these signs may include:

  • Bruises

  • Scars

  • Welts

  • Sprains

  • Broken bones

  • Broken eyeglasses

  • Rope marks

  • Fear

  • Loss of weight

  • Increased medical issues

  • Bed sores

  • Withdrawal

  • Depression

A lot of parents are embarrassed or ashamed to admit that they're victims of abuse. It's up to you to keep a close eye on a loved one's health and well-being. If you notice something is amiss, discuss the issue with your loved one.

There have even been cases where children have placed cameras in the facility to tape abuse and then bring legal action against the nursing home.

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