What to do if your parent is a victim of nursing home abuse

Having to put your parent into a nursing home can be a stressful and difficult decision to make, especially if you do not know what actually goes on at the homes in your state. Being present as much as you can and speaking with other residents before and after moving in can give you some peace of mind, or can give you the evidence you need to solve the problems occurring at the home, both for the sake of your parent and the other residents.

Unfortunately, elder abuse and neglect occur in even the most expensive and exclusive homes in the country, which is why many states including Massachusetts have developed their own laws to coincide with federal regulations in the attempt to mitigate as many of these problems as possible.

Massachusetts elder laws

There are a few requirements Massachusetts nursing homes must follow to remain compliant. For example, the law requires employees to report any abuse they witness, and there are large penalties for failing to report abuse such as physical, emotional, sexual and financial.

If you suspect your parent is being abused, you must alert management and staff members immediately. Keep in mind that your parent might be hiding what is going on to avoid conflict. Other steps you should take include:

  • Taking pictures of any abuse evidence
  • Collecting incident reports from the facility
  • Writing down the names of staff members that care for your parent
  • Noting any obvious unsanitary conditions or other evidence that you can use to support your case, including the observations of other residents

Filing a claim

If the nursing home staff does not take action quickly enough, contact the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to report the situation, or call their Elder Abuse Hotline. Consulting with a lawyer in these situations is also beneficial as these professionals know how to file a lawsuit if your situation warrants it. Your parent may be able to collect compensation for his or her physical or emotional damages, while helping to prevent the nursing home from abusing other residents.


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