If you lack the time or skills necessary to care for an elderly parent, you may entrust professionals at a nursing home to provide the care he or she needs to thrive. While many nursing homes do an adequate or even great job, countless others neglect the care requirements of residents.
Nursing home neglect is alarmingly common, with as many as 95% of residents in U.S. nursing homes not receiving adequate care at one time or another. If you suspect your mother or father is receiving substandard care, documenting the neglect may be in his or her legal and financial interests.
Keep a contemporaneous log
Due to staffing shortages and other reasons, nursing home professionals may occasionally neglect the needs of residents. If there is a pattern of neglect, however, you may have little choice but to take legal action. By keeping a contemporaneous log that details the time and nature of the neglect, you may prove your parent’s inferior experience is not an isolated incident.
Talk to your parent
If your parent has dementia or another neurological condition, he or she may not be able to tell you about neglect. Still, regularly talking to your parent about the nursing home experience may give you some idea about potential abuse. Because it may take some time for your parent to discuss mistreatment, you may want to have several conversations over a few days, weeks or even months.
Capture photographic proof
Nursing home neglect often has physical signs. If your parent has bruises, bedsores, cuts or other physical symptoms of maltreatment, be sure to capture photographic or video evidence. Likewise, take photographs of subpar conditions, such as dirty rooms, wet floors or soiled clothing.
If your documentation indicates nursing home abuse, moving your parent to a different facility may be necessary. Ultimately, though, state officials may use your evidence to intervene and protect other residents of the nursing home.