Preventing Elder Abuse in the Nursing Home

We are frequently asked how nursing home neglect or abuse can be prevented. There is no magic answer, but there are things one can do to lessen the odds that a loved one will be subject to physical neglect, financial abuse, or suffer the decline in health caused by poor care. The California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform have published a guide for preventing abuse in long-term care facilities. How does one increase the odds there will be no abuse or neglect?

1. Be very supportive of the transfer to a nursing home. Under most circumstances, the initial entrance to a nursing facility will engender feelings of loss or abandonment. Visit frequently to help with the adjustment.

2. Make the most of visits. Visit frequently, and at different times. Also visit during meal time. This will give you a more complete picture of care and the performance of staff.

3. Get to know the staff. Building personal relationships with the caregivers can be an excellent way to ensure good care.

4. Participate in care planning meeting. No one knows your family member better than you. The care plan meeting will give you an opportunity to alter the course of treatment to meet the needs of your loved one.

5. Be an advocate! Do not be afraid to advocate for the rights of your loved one. All residents have basic rights (click here) and you need to fight for them without fear of retaliation.

Don’t try to do this all alone. Enlist other family members and friends to help, and communicate often. Most nursing homes can provide good care; it’s just a matter of making it happen.

The law firm of Walton Law Firm LLP is based in Southern California, and represents individuals impacted by neglect and abuse in the nursing home and residential care setting. Cases are accepted in all Southern California counties.