How to Report Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect
Reporting Nursing Home Abuse: How to File a Complaint
You did the research and chose the best possible nursing home for your loved one. You go to visit them and it seems as if they are not being properly taken care of. What do you do?
Nursing home abuse can be a complex issue. Many nursing home abuse cases go unreported either because the elderly patient’s abuse goes unnoticed or the problems are attributed to failing health.
If you are going to report nursing home abuse, you need an attorney that is experienced in nursing home abuse cases. If you or a loved one have experienced nursing home abuse, contact the DKR office for a free consultation.
How to Report Nursing Home Abuse
If you are considering reporting a nursing home for abuse of your loved one, there are a few important steps you must take. Most importantly, you need to document evidence of the abuse and you must be specific about the signs of abuse you are witnessing.
Upon noticing signs of possible abuse, contact the nursing home facility. Document the time and date of your contact with the nursing home and file the complaint in writing.
If the abuse is physical, take photos of the abuse. If the patient is able, get written statements from the patient.
Typically, a representative from the nursing home will speak with you. If the situation can be resolved through the nursing home, the facility will investigate and provide action items to improve your loved one’s living arrangements.
If the incident is not resolved or the nursing home does not take action, your next step is filing an official report with the Department of Health. Also, begin making new living arrangements for your loved one. It can be detrimental to your case and to your loved one if they remain in the care facility after an abuse complaint has been filed.
Where Should I Report Nursing Home Abuse?
In New Jersey, the Department of Health takes online complaints or you can file by phone at 1-800-792-9770.
You can also mail or fax a complaint to the NJ Department of Health.
Also contact your loved one’s primary health care provider or elder patient advocate for advice and specific guidance tailored to your case.
Include the following in your report:
- Written descriptions of the patient’s condition or injuries
- Dates and times the conditions were witnessed
- Documentation of complaints filed to nursing home
- Photographic evidence (if available)
- Written statements from the patient (if possible)
Who Can File a Complaint?
According to nursing home laws in New Jersey, either the resident or a family member may file an abuse report. However, all citizens are able and responsible to file reports if they witness or suspect abuse or neglect within a medical facility.
What Kind of Nursing Home Abuse Can I Report?
Nursing home abuse can be difficult to prove. If you believe the warning signs of abuse are present, you should report it and keep your eyes open. Any kind of abuse should be reported, but most types of nursing home abuse can be grouped into the following categories:
- Physical Abuse – An elderly person who is experiencing physical abuse will likely show signs such as bruising, scratches, cuts or torn clothing.
- Nursing Home Neglect – Neglect can be harder to prove, but usually presents itself in the form of infections, lack of cleanliness or malnutrition. If the nursing home is not providing a quality standard of living with nutrition, medicine, socialization and hygienic care, you may have a case for neglect.
- Emotional abuse – Psychological abuse occurs when nursing home employees insult, threaten, intimidate or humiliate the patients. This can manifest in terms of personality changes, depression or unexplained anxiety.
- Sexual Abuse – This type of abuse covers any time the patient gives or receives a sexual act that they did not consent to.
- Financial Abuse – If the nursing home facility or a certain employee makes changes or withdrawals to a resident’s bank account, it can be classified as elderly financial abuse.
Why Should You Hire an Attorney?
Dealing with the repercussions of nursing home abuse or neglect can be incredibly stressful and highly emotionally-charged. After reporting a case of serious or repeat nursing home abuse, it is wise to hire an attorney to help you navigate the sensitive details and legal realities of filing a lawsuit against the facility.
At Dansky | Katz | Ringold, we treat you and your loved ones like family. We will stand up for your loved one to demand respect and fairness in all nursing home facilities. You can arrange a consultation to discuss the possibility of a nursing home abuse case at our toll-free number: 800-609-5755.