If you have an elderly parent that requires care in a nursing home, you may find yourself feeling concerned about their health and well-being in the hands of caregivers that are not family members. However, logical concerns can quickly catapult into suspicions if you start to notice your parent acting differently, see injuries, or hear them complain about being mistreated or handled roughly. And if you are currently experiencing such suspicions and feel that you elderly parent is being abused by nursing home staff, it is important to know what to do and how to proceed in dealing with the situation.

Consider Installing a "Nanny Cam" in Your Parent's Room

It is important to know that you and your parent have rights in a nursing home setting. You have a right to know how your parent is being treated and you both have the right to film or record the staff in their interactions with your parent to determine if they are receiving proper care and treatment.

As such, when you fear your parent is being mistreated or abused, you may want to consider installing a "nanny cam" device in their room. You want to make sure that the camera does not record anything happening outside of their room as this could be considered a breach of privacy for other residents of the nursing home and will not necessarily capture interactions between your parent and staff members.

Keep copies of any footage that looks like elder abuse or mistreatment. You will also want to document any other signs you see of abuse as well as conversations you have with your parent that would imply or outright accuse staff of treating your parent poorly.

Contact the State Adult Protective Services Office

Once you are fairly certain that your elderly parent is being abused, the next step is to contact Adult Protective Services (APS) in the state in which your parent resides. report the home that they live in as well as the reasons that you believe your parent is being abused. 

APS will begin investigating whether what you are reporting meets their criteria for abuse or neglect. If the circumstances do fit, they will contact your parent directly and may help them to file criminal charges against the nursing home and/or the specific staff members involved.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

Whether or not criminal charges are pursued against the nursing home and staff members, you and your elderly parent do still have the right to pursue civil charges for injuries that your parent has sustained while under nursing home care. This type of case is for financial or monetary compensation for physical and mental injuries that your parent may have sustained due to the negligence or intentional mistreatment of your parent by staff members.

It is important to understand that a personal injury lawsuit is completely separate from a criminal elderly abuse case. You and your personal injury attorney may be able to successfully sue the hospital for damages even if that criminal case is not pursued or is lost.

With these steps in mind, you can be sure that you are handling the potential abuse of your elderly parent in the best way possible.