Did you loved one tell you that he had been verbally abused at the nursing home?
Was your grandmother dropped from a lift?
Did your uncle tell you he fell from a Wheelchair?

My experience is that no matter what some one’s mental state, they are probably NOT inventing stories of abuse or neglect. I believe most of these comments are based on actual events.

So what if you do suspect abuse or neglect in a nursing home?

1. ALWAYS KEEP NOTES – of who you talk to, what day, who was on shift, what you told the Administrator etc. Also – find out who the staff person is who was involved.

2. ALWAYS FOLLOW UP – if the DON tells you she will look into it, be sure to ask what she found out? Ask in a letter, reminding her that she promised to speak to staff etc.

3. COMMUNICATION MUST BE IN WRITING – it is fine to complain to staff in the hallways, but if you don’t document the complaints, and their follow up action, no one will remember and your complaints will be unanswered (most often).

4. ASK FOR RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES – if someone suspects staff abuse, ask the Administrator for a copy of the facility’s policies on staff abuse. Then make sure the facility does what the policy says they should do.

5. REPORT THE ABUSE to the local Adult protective services (if the person is still in the facility)

6. REPORT NEGLECT to Department of Health in Richmond.

In many circumstances, these incidents do NOT give rise to a lawsuit, but the most important thing is to protect your loved one. This means making sure they get the best care and you can help that process, by being deligent and organized.

Lauren Ellerman
Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.