Nursing Home Abuse: What Should You Do If You Suspect Neglect?

If you suspect that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, there are many steps you can take to help resolve the issue even before contacting an attorney. The litigation process is not always the most effective way to deal with these issues. Sometimes, a more informal grievance process is a better suited course of action.

Legal action really should be the last recourse against abusive Tennessee nursing homes. Instead, you should try to help prevent the conduct from occurring in the first place. There are several steps you can take to help protect your loved ones.

How to Reduce Nursing Home Abuse:

Often times abuse and neglect take place because the nursing home staff isn’t held accountable for their actions. Employees feel they can cut corners without anyone noticing. One way to prevent this is to make unannounced visits to your loved one at the nursing home. Frequent visits will force the nursing home staff to be more alert and do their jobs the right way or else face the consequences of cutting corners.

Another way to protect your loved one from abuse or neglect is to plan visits on different days of the week and during different shifts over the course of a day. Make sure you have an understanding of the level of care your loved one will be receiving during the mornings, evenings, weekends, etc. You may find that the staff operates differently at different times.

Finally, you can speak directly with the nursing home staff. The staff knows the most about the care your loved one is receiving and can be a great source of information. Don’t be worried about potentially approaching the responsible party. Your comments might fix the problem altogether, or you might even find someone willing to speak out against the nursing home’s practices.

Notify Tennessee Authorities:

Tennessee’s branch of the United States Department of Health is responsible for regulating the state’s nursing homes. However, it is the Tennessee Board of Nursing Home Administrators that actually investigates complaints, issues citations, and imposes fines. If you suspect that your loved one has been abused or neglected by a Tennessee nursing home, you should contact the Tennessee Board of Nursing Home Administrators.

There are several other state agencies that may be able to offer you some assistance, many of which will take your calls twenty-four hours a day. Some important numbers to know include:

  • Tennessee Adult Protective Services: (888) APS-TENN

  • Nashville Adult Protective Services: (615) 532-3492

  • Knoxville Adult Protective Services: (865) 594-5685

  • Chattanooga Adult Protective Services (423) 634-6624

  • TN Dept. of Health: (800) 778-4504

  • TN Ombudsman: (800) 264-0904 or (615) 532-1572

It’s important to remember that pursuant to Tennessee law, all persons capable of reporting suspected abuse are required to do so.

If none of the above steps adequately resolve the problems you are facing, the next step is to contact an attorney. Call The Higgins Firm today to speak with our highly qualified Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys.