Leeseberg & Valentine

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Defending your parent from nursing home abuse

If you're an adult child of an aging parent, you may have already dealt with various urgent situations regarding your mother's or father's physical or mental health. Like most adult children in Ohio, you likely do whatever you can to provide the care your parent needs for as high quality of life as possible in his or her Golden Years. You may have even spent hours extensively researching nursing homes throughout the state before choosing one that best aligned with your parent's immediate and long-term needs.

Although many nursing homes provide quality care at the utmost level of accepted safety standards, others are subject to investigation and sanction when substandard care results in injury (or death) to residents. Hopefully, you have been satisfied with the care your mother or father has received. If not, the following information may be of relevance as you seek to rectify a particular situation.

Signs of negligence and abuse

Elder abuse in nursing homes is an ongoing problem in many areas. You can only do so much to check out a facility and its staff members when choosing the best place for your parent. Beyond your careful research, you have little choice but to trust the integrity and ethical standards of the officials and employees in the nursing home you choose. Remaining alert to the following signs of trouble may help keep your parent safe:

  • Unexplained weight loss: If your parent has suddenly lost weight, there may be an underlying health issue. However, this is also a sign of nursing neglect.
  • Mood swings or emotional outbursts: Part of aging includes such symptoms, but it is important to note that many abused elders will display a great amount of stress and suffer from unpredictable mood changes, anxiety attacks or similar conditions.
  • Broken bones, bruises or other bodily injury: Perhaps you noticed a severe bruise on your mother's or father's body and were told he or she took a bad fall. This may be true, but if it happens more than once, you will need to investigate further.
  • Frequent illnesses and/or infections: Especially if your parent was a relatively healthy person when residence in the nursing home began, and has begun to suffer unexplained illnesses or infections, it may be a sign that he or she is not being properly treated.

As an adult child, you have every right to ask questions and do what is necessary to gain satisfactory answers regarding your parent's safety and well-being. If you feel something is not right and suspect any form of nursing home abuse, you may contact appropriate authorities.

Support network available

Sadly, some studies show as many as one in six nursing home residents may suffer abuse and/or neglect. If you believe your mother or father is one of them, you may reach out for help from the following people:

  • Adult Protective Services Agency in your area
  • Nursing home administrators
  • Family doctor
  • Medical malpractice attorney

Each of the above persons and/or agencies are able to provide various types of support to help your mother or father get the care he or she needs. A medical malpractice attorney, in particular, can help you file a personal injury claim in a civil court against any and all parties identified as liable sources to seek justice and restitution for the suffering your mother or father has endured.

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