You’ve done your research, you’ve talked to your loved one, and you’ve made note of the red flags, the classic warning signs of abuse. It’s easy to say, “if you suspect abuse, report it,” but how does the process work, and who should you report it to if you want to see results? Too often, family members don’t realize that there is a wealth of resources out there to help them deal with an abusive situation and perhaps, prevent further abuses from happening to someone else and their family.

If the abuse is to a point where serious harm or death is imminent, never be afraid to contact local authorities or dial 911. If it has not reached that critical stage, the first place that you can start is with the nursing home itself. Filing a formal complaint with the nursing home about suspected abuse starts a paper trail and gives the facility time to investigate and rectify potential problems.

To file an effective complaint with the facility, be sure to submit a written complaint to those in authority. It is best to addresses the grievances with specific examples and facts. Be sure to include dates, times, witnesses, caregivers involved, and detailed information about the abusive incidents. While it can be painful to see the abuse written out in words, try to keep emotion out of your statement and stick to accurate and specific facts.

Be sure to include your personal information and how you may be contacted. Let the facility know that you will be expecting follow-up communication from them about their findings and give a date that you will be contacting them if they fail to provide you with an update about their investigation and what steps they are going to take to solve the situation.

Filing a formal complaint with the nursing home starts the paper trail, but sometimes it may not be enough to get results. A facility may be reluctant to investigate or may cover up the incident to avoid lawsuits or government penalties. However, there are other resources available in Kentucky to help those who suspect nursing home abuse.

One of those resources is called a long-term care ombudsman. A long-term care ombudsman is a type of advocate for nursing home residents. The ombudsman helps residents address complaints and concerns with nursing home staff members, caregivers, or the facility itself. Not only do they offer residents emotional support and valuable advice, but they also have access to resources that can help a resident deal with their abusive situation.

For more information on the Kentucky Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, take a look at these websites:

When a child is clearly in trouble, concerned citizens and mandatory reporters turn to CPS or Child Protective Services, an agency that can investigate suspected abuse. However, many people fail to realize that there is an Adult Protective Services agency, as well. If you suspect abuse is happening to an elderly adult in a Kentucky nursing home facility, you can make a report by calling the department or filing an online report. The agency will be able to take the information and investigate the source of the suspected abuse or neglect.

The Kentucky Office of the Inspector General is another resource for reporting suspected abuse and neglect of nursing home residents and elderly individuals.

Another place that you can turn for help if you suspect abuse or neglect is an experienced Kentucky nursing home abuse attorney. At Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, LLP, we have the knowledge and the resources available to not only investigate claims of abuse but also to hold negligent caregivers and facilities accountable for their actions.

For more information on how we may be able to help you and your family member, contact us today by calling (859) 550-2900. The initial case evaluation is free. Give us a call, and let’s talk about how we may be able to help.