For more than a year, adult children of nursing home residents faced restrictions related to visiting their parents. The COVID-19 pandemic placed a wedge between them and their aging parents who became more isolated and their relatives more worried about their health and well-being.
Slowly, throughout the country as well as Alabama, nursing homes are opening up, allowing for visitations with a number of safety guidelines. You greet this news with some happiness along with some apprehension. The latter is confirmed upon your visit. You notice the vacant look in your father’s, his skittishness and even a bruise on his cheek. You suspect neglect and abuse.
Talk to administrators, lodge a complaint
Whether it is unexplained bruises, bedsores, loss of weight, fractures or fear, neglect and abuse at nursing homes remains shocking. Many nursing home residents are vulnerable and dependent on staff for their day-to-day activities from bathing, walking and eating to medication and nourishment.
An audit conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services disclosed that more than 25% of cases involving suspected physical and sexual abuse of nursing home residents were not reported to authorities.
Protecting your parent remains your priority. Here are some things to pursue if you suspect neglect or abuse:
- Have a private conversation with you parent. He or she may provide details related to the abuse.
- Document everything related to your discussions with your parent and your visits to the nursing home. Take photos. Observe the staff.
- Install a camera in your parent’s room. This will record who enters, who leaves and what actions have affected your parent.
- Disclose your suspicions to administrators of the nursing home and persuade them to make necessary changes. They are now on alert.
- Contact the Alabama Department of Public Health and report the incident.
- Remove your parent from the facility.
If you sense something amiss at your parent’s nursing home, it is time to take action.