In most cases, elder abuse in nursing homes occurs when the elderly person in their care is not being regularly monitored by family. If the nursing home staff feels that you are not in the habit of coming to visit your loved one, there is more of a chance of them subjecting the elderly person to neglect and/or even more invasive forms of abuse.
Get into the habit “popping in” on your elderly loved one on an irregular basis. Make sure that you are making your visits to the nursing home unannounced and frequent. Create the feeling among the nursing home staff that you can and will materialize at any given time.
In addition to the visits during visiting hours, be sure to make relatively frequent and irregular calls to the nursing home at odd hours. This ensures that your presense and concern is known to the nursing home staff on all three shifts. The staff will have more of a hesitation to neglect or abuse your elderly relative if they feel that you are “always watchful,” and ever concerned… even when you’re not there.
Be sure to let your elderly relative know that you love them unconditionally, and that your visits are not an inconvenience to you. On your visits to the nursing home, encourage your elderly loved one and let them know that it is ok to talk with you about anything and everything — try to slip this type of conversation in while a staff member is present, but don’t be too obvious. Sometimes, if an elderly person is being abused in a nursing home, they will hesitate to tell their relatives for fear of being a burden.
Bone up on nursing home law in your state and be fully aware of what is and isn’t acceptable. Be sure to thoroughly check out the nursing home both before and during your elderly loved one’s stay. Medicare and Medicaid Certified Nursing Homes in the U.S. are regularly policed by inspectors. Their reports are public information. You can access this information by clicking HERE.
You MUST KNOW that nursing home reports from government inspectors are historically understated — DO NOT just rely on a report to tell the whole story. You must realize that elder abuse in nursing homes occurs everyday and can occur anywhere, no matter how “nice” and/or expensive the facility may be. If you love your elderly relative, and you have made the decision to place them in the care of a nursing home, YOU SHOULD do all that you can to prevent them from being subject to nursing home abuse.