Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

How to Detect Nursing Home Abuse the Next Time You Visit Grandma

When your grandma is in a nursing home, you will not be there all the time to make sure that she is properly cared for. Unfortunately, some elderly people are abused in these facilities. If you suspect that your grandma is being abused in her nursing home, you can take these actions to detect and report the abuse.

Talking to Your Grandma

If your grandma does not suffer from severe dementia, ask her about how she is treated. She may be able to tell you if someone on the nursing home’s staff is hurting her or yelling at her. Even if your grandma has dementia, do not write off complaints of mistreatment. Report them to the administration, her doctor or the regulating authority of nursing home facilities. This could be the health department or another entity.

Set Up a Nanny Camera

Consider setting up a nanny camera in your grandma’s room. These cameras are disguised to blend into the surroundings so that the nursing home’s staff is not aware of their presence. The cameras could look like a teddy bear, clock or a trinket on your grandma’s dresser. Place the camera in a location that offers a full view of the room. You can download the data from the camera each time you visit.

Ask Grandma How She Feels

Without embarrassing your grandma, you can ask her how she is feeling. Many older people complain of feeling cold or achy, but feeling pain in a new place is not normal. Nursing home abuse or neglect falls under the category of medical malpractice, so make sure your loved one is safe. You may want to ask your grandma if anything new is hurting her since the last time she saw the doctor or since the last time you were able to visit her. New or worsening pain should be medically evaluated.

Taking Grandma to the Doctor

If your grandma speaks of pain, consider making an appointment with the geriatric physician or family doctor who knows her. The doctor will be familiar with the physical and mental signs of elder abuse. A doctor can also differentiate between bruising caused by typical bumps or medical procedures and bruising or injuries caused by abusive actions.

It is your right to protect your grandma and ensure that she is safe in the nursing home. When you suspect that she is being mistreated or abused physically, mentally or financially, contact the police, her physician and the regulatory agency that licenses and inspects nursing homes. A prompt medical exam and video evidence can document the abusive actions.

Tim Esterdahl

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