Nursing home abuse is sadly not uncommon and can be physical, sexual, psychological, or financial, and can also include neglect. If you or a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, you need to report it. Here are some of the options.
If you are seeing signs of nursing home abuse, you can file a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services. To file a complaint, download the consumer complaint form from the department’s website and fax or mail it to the office. Alternatively, you can contact someone directly over the phone at 1800-462-5540.
Note that if you are not the elder’s medical power of attorney, you can report the abuse, but you may not be able to get information on the outcome of the investigation. To ensure you can access that information, talk with the elder about becoming their power of attorney or ask them to sign a HIPAA form that allows you to access their medical records.
You should formally report nursing home neglect or abuse suspicions to facility administrators. Submit your report in writing and keep a copy, along with the date you reported the abuse and to whom you reported it. This information can be invaluable should you decide to bring a claim against the nursing home for the past or continued abuse of your loved one.
In many cases, elders have healthcare providers who are not part of the nursing home staff. You may want to talk with these professionals about your concerns. In particular, consider talking with the elder’s primary care doctor or social worker. Many nursing homes also have a long-term care ombudsman on staff to help with these issues.
In cases where your loved one is not living in a nursing home, you can report abuse to the elder abuse hotline. For instance, if you believe that a home healthcare provider or a relative is abusing your loved one or an elder in your neighborhood, you should contact Elder Protective Services. You can call EPS directly at 1-800-922-2275 on behalf of people over the age of 60.
If you witness someone assaulting an elder, this is considered an emergency situation, and you should call 911 or contact the police as soon as possible. You should also contact 911 in any case where an elder is in immediate risk of harm or injury. This can be the fastest way to get the authorities to intercede in the issue.
Elders deserve respect, but unfortunately, in many cases, these vulnerable people are being abused. If you believe that a loved one is dealing with elder abuse, report the situation and consider getting legal help. Contact the law firm of Mazow | McCullough, PC at 855-693-9084.