How can you talk to your loved one about potential nursing home abuse

If you have a senior family member who lives in a nursing home, you put your trust in the staff and the facility to care for him or her. Unfortunately, some facilities will take advantage of senior patients and can cause injury, illness, and psychological damage.

If you suspect physical abuse or neglect, you should try to bring it up to your loved one first.

Be gentle with your questions

When you approach your loved one to discuss potential abuse and neglect, remember that pushing the subject can cause additional trauma. Expect your family member to be resistant at first. Most people experience shame in what happened to them and may also be afraid to speak out against their abusers.

Go to a confidential and quiet area to have a discussion. Explain to your loved one your concerns and let them know why you feel concerned. Ask about his or her care, if he or she participates in activities or feels bothered by any of the caretakers.

Read between the lines

Sometimes, you must gather evidence from what your loved one does not say. First, look for signs and symptoms of abuse. If your loved one has poor hygiene, mysterious bruises or acts unusually withdrawn, it may be a sign of abuse and neglect. Additionally, watch out for how he or she acts around caretakers. Do any caretakers cause a sudden shift in behavior?

If your loved one suffered nursing home abuse from caretakers or staff, you have the right to file a complaint and request an investigation.