Sadly, if you have a loved one that is currently receiving care within an Alabama nursing home, there is a strong possibility that your loved one will suffer from nursing home abuse at some point. In fact, elder abuse is so common that the National Council on Aging reports that approximately one in 10 Americans age 60 and above have experienced some form of elder abuse. It is also estimated that a large percentage of nursing home and elder abuse cases are never reported.
If you suspect that a loved one of yours is suffering from nursing home abuse, taking action to end the abuse and protect your loved one is crucial. Here are some steps to take if you believe abuse is occurring within a nursing home:
In a situation where you believe that your loved one is at risk of imminent harm or death, you should not hesitate to call 911.
Speak with a Nursing Home Manager or Supervisor
In the event that bodily harm or death does not seem to be an immediate risk, speaking with a nursing home manager or supervisor about the suspected abuse should be your first step. You should address any concerns you have, and ask for a resolution. For example, if you believe that the nurse who primarily cares for your loved one has emotionally abused your loved one as a result of teasing, taunting, bullying, or intimidation, you can request that a new nurse be assigned to your loved one. Sometimes, talking about the problem and clarifying the issue can be the solution.
Call a Hotline or File a Complaint
If speaking with a nursing home manager or supervisor does not solve the problem, the next step may be to call a nursing home abuse hotline in Alabama or filing a complaint with the appropriate agency. The following lists resources available when you suspect nursing home abuse–
- Call the ElderCare hotline at 1-800-356-9596;
- Email the Alabama State Survey Agency at NHComplaints@adph.state.al.us;
- Write a letter of complaint to:
Alabama Department of Public Health
Bureau of Health Provider Statistics
201 Monroe Street, Suite 700
Montgomery, AL 36103
Attention: Complaint Unit
- Contact Alabama Adult Protective Services at 334-242-1310; or
- Contact Alabama’s Long-term Care Ombudsman at 1-800-AGE-LINE (243-5463).
Document Suspected Abuse
In addition to taking the steps above to ensure that abuse is stopped, it is also important that you document any suspected abuse during the process. Keeping a through record of abuse or signs of abuse can be helpful when filing your complaint, and can also be helpful in both a civil and criminal case (should it come to that).
Contact an Alabama Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
In addition to contacting the above agencies to halt abuse, you may be able to bring forth civil or criminal charges against the nursing home for abuse. In a civil suit, you can seek damages for harm by holding a nursing home liable. In order to do this, you will need an experienced Alabama nursing home abuse attorney on your side who understands a nursing home’s duty of care, how to gather evidence, what constitutes abuse, types of damages and how to valuate damages, concepts like malpractice, liability, and negligence, how to file a lawsuit, and more.
At the law offices of Burge & Burge, PC, we understand that suspecting nursing home abuse of a loved one can leave you with a sinking feeling of fear, anger, and distrust. If you suspect nursing home abuse, talk to your loved one, learn more about the signs of nursing home abuse, and don’t overlook the options listed above.
If you are ready to contact an attorney, our compassionate Alabama nursing home abuse attorneys will be by your side to help. You can call us at 205-251-9000 to schedule a free consultation, or send us an online message today.