Your loved one confided in you that they are suffering abuse at the hands of the people who should be taking care of them. Once you overcome your shock, you may be worried about what to do to end the abuse and ensure justice is served. You need help protecting your loved one from nursing home abuse.
You need experienced and aggressive assistance from a nursing home abuse and neglect attorney who can assess your case and educate you about your options. Once you have notified the police and gotten immediate medical care for your loved one, you should understand how to report nursing home abuse in Tennessee so you can get results.
Reporting the Case to the State
The state of Tennessee takes claims of elder abuse seriously, and they will provide you with help and guidance on what you should do to ensure the proper people are faced with the necessary punishment. It starts by contacting the Tennessee Department of Health. The Commission on Aging & Disability provides very specific steps for you to take:
- If a person is being abused right now and is in danger, your first step is to contact the police by calling 911. It could save their life.
- Call the Tennessee Department of Human Services Adjust Protective Services next. You can do that by calling 888-277-8366.
This will launch an investigation into what is occurring. It is always a good idea to take this step, even if you spoke to the nurse or doctor on duty or reported the abuse to the administrator at the nursing home. You should always involve the authorities since they will take action as quickly as possible.
Once you contact the Tennessee Department of Human Services, the regional office will then contact the nursing home and launch an actual investigation into what occurred. Once this process is complete, they will inform you of their findings and any future actions they will take. This could take some time, but you have the right to contact them regularly to follow up and ensure the case is moving forward.
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Dedication When to Report Nursing Home Abuse
In some cases, nursing home residents may become aggressive or combative. It makes managing them more difficult, and staff often use techniques to calm or restrain patients. This does not constitute abuse when it’s done carefully and with respect. However, there is often a fine line between restraining a resident and committing nursing home abuse.
This line can make it challenging to know when to report the situation to the state. However, abuse typically continues until someone stops it. If it is happening to your loved one, chances are good it is happening to others. Seniors are often afraid or embarrassed to take action themselves because they do not want to get people in trouble.
Yet, it is up to you to ensure your loved one is getting the necessary care they have. If you see any of the following warning signs of neglect, contact the authorities:
- Broken bones or fractures
- Sanitary underwear and bedding that isn’t changed daily
- Unexplained loose skin
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unsafe conditions
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Untreated physical ailments like sores
Signs of Physical and Emotional Abuse
You should also report all signs of physical and emotional abuse, including:
- Administrators refusing to allow visits
- Any bruising, especially on the torso or head area
- Asking to leave the facility
- Begging not to be left alone
- Broken glasses or belongings
- Fear of specific staff members
- Frequent injuries, including injuries from bedsores, falls, or unexplained injuries
- Threatening behavior of any type
In each of these situations, a person’s health and well-being are at risk. Report the situation to the administration, police, and the Tennessee Department of Health immediately. When possible, stay by your loved one’s side until help arrives.
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What to Do While You Wait for Answers
The hardest thing you can do after finding out a loved one may be being abused is to leave them behind in the nursing home. You can empower and protect them by taking steps such as:
- Make sure the nurse and director or supervisor recognize what is occurring. If you know who is causing the risk to your loved one, do not allow that person to be alone with your loved one.
- Take photos of injuries, bruises, broken items, and any other evidence of abuse.
- Record a video of your loved one telling you what happened.
- Call 911 for assistance in the event of an immediate risk or injury.
- Document all your actions.
- Collect any available evidence, such as security or surveillance camera footage, witness statements, and medical records.
Follow up with the person in charge of the facility as soon as possible. Stay on them to find results. The key to remember here is that these organizations must follow state-mandated care guidelines. If they fail to do so, they may be unable to continue to receive payment for their services.
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When you are facing a situation like this, you need all the support and guidance you can get. Instead of waiting for answers, hire a nursing home abuse attorney. The team at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, & Montesi, PLC, can help you begin the process of helping your loved one. That may include:
- Pressuring the authorities to take steps to protect your loved one.
- Pushing for criminal charges if applicable.
- Holding those who did this accountable.
- Helping to get your loved one moved to a safer location, especially if there are limitations due to insurance coverage.
- File a claim for compensation for the losses they have incurred.
The faster you act, the sooner your loved one can escape a dangerous situation. We can help you learn how to report nursing home abuse in Tennessee. We can also help alleviate the frustration and fear you are facing by providing clear, honest, and compassionate care in this challenging time.
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Call a Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorney Today
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused in their nursing home, contact Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, immediately for a consultation. We can speak to you right away about what your legal rights are and give you insight into your next steps. We encourage you not to wait to get help.
Set up a free consultation with our team now.