Elder abuse in a nursing home

If you suspect that your loved one is being abused in a long-term care facility, but you have not observed visible signs, such as bruising, weight loss or bedsores, what should you do?

The experienced nursing home neglect attorneys at Walton Law say the best advice is to ask questions!

Directly asking your loved one and nursing home staff questions can shine a light on the care—good or bad—they are receiving.

Here are a few questions that can potentially unveil neglect or abuse within nursing homes in the Puget Sound area:

Daily activities

Nursing home facilities in Washington must promote care for residents in a manner and environment that maintains or enhances each resident’s dignity and respect in full recognition of his or her individuality. Residents have the right to choose activities, schedules and health care consistent with his or her interests, assessments and plans of care.

Ask about your loved one’s daily routine. Ask staff about the availability of daily activities and whether your loved one participates. Does the nursing home maintain a record of activity participation, and can they generate an activity report for your review? Does your loved one have enough resources to pursue a hobby or an activity of their choice?

Abuse, punishment and seclusion

Nursing home residents—whether they live in Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom or Island counties—have the right to be free from verbal, sexual, physical and mental abuse, corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion.

Promptly take note of any discussions regarding abusive situations or signs of physical abuse. These may include cuts, lacerations, burns, scratches and bruising. Ask your loved one how the injury took place, and then ask the staff how the injury took place. Do the stories match?


General well-being and safety

Ask your loved one a series of indirect questions to uncover potential rights violations. Provided below are several sample questions.

  • How are you treated by staff?
  • Do you feel safe sleeping here?
  • Are you comfortable in your living environment? Do you have what you need here?
  • Who helps you bathe and dress? Is your privacy and dignity respected during those times?
  • Who helps you with food and medications? Are you provided with enough food? Do you receive your medications on time?

If additional advocacy is required, or if your questions are not adequately answered, contact a local long-term care ombuds (https://www.waombudsman.org/) in Washington or contact an experienced nursing home neglect attorney at Walton Law. To schedule your free consultation, call Walton Law at (360) 526-6899 or chat with them online at https://waltonlawapc.com/.

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