Entrusting someone to care for a loved one is not an easy matter. There are many factors to consider when trying to find a nursing home that will be the best fit for them. Moreover, while you are going through this process, you may also worry about the risk of possible negligence and abuse. Nursing home negligence seems to be on the rise, as it has been receiving a growing amount of media coverage in recent years. So how do you ensure that your loved one is safe? And what do you do if you suspect they are being mistreated?
Nursing Home Care
When you are no longer able to provide care for your parents, grandparents or a loved one, you look to a nursing home for help. These skilled professionals are trained to care for and dedicate the time needed to your loved one when you are simply no longer able to so do. This is especially the true in cases of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other illnesses that result in several metal and physical deterioration.
Nursing homes offer our elderly the opportunity to socialize, participate in fitness activities (if able to) and overall, the help the residents to maintain a healthy, quality life. However, it is difficult for you to know everything that happens in the nursing home.
Abuse & Negligence
Improper supervision of residents, medication errors, malnutrition, physical and sexual assault are some of the common acts of abuse and negligence. While some of these may seem too obvious to go unnoticed, keep in mind that not all residents are capable of reporting this abuse. The inability to communicate, embarrassment, fear of retaliation or worse treatment are all possible reasons as to why the abuse may go unreported.
A recent study has shown that reported cases of abuse and neglect by caregivers has increased by 148% since 2011. In 2016 alone there were 2,198 reported incidences of staff-to-resident abuse. As bleak as this sounds, this does not happen in every facility. Furthermore, you can also take comfort in knowing that your loved one is protected by the Ontario Long-Term Care Homes Act. Any licensed long-term care facility must follow a strict set of regulations, which includes the Residents’ Bill of Rights. This clearly states that every resident has the right to be protected from abuse and neglect. It also outlines that every resident has the right to a safe and clean environment, to be properly sheltered, fed, clothed and cared for.
If any of these rights are violated, you can pursue legal action for nursing home negligence.
Making the decision to move your loved one into a nursing home can be worrisome, especially as we hear more and more about nursing home negligence. We all want those we love to be safe, well cared for and content. If you believe your loved one’s rights are being violated, file a complaint with the nursing home directly and/or with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. After that, document everything – take photos of injuries, save medical records, keep accident reports and anything else that can strengthen your case.
It is also advisable to seek professional legal advice. A personal injury lawyer who specialized in cases of nursing home negligence will ensure that your loved one is protected. They can provide legal advice and guide you through the next steps in the legal process.