Reporting & Investigating Elder Abuse in Alabama
Although new technology in the healthcare industry has led to a growing population with a longer life expectancy, there has also been an increase of elder abuse cases in Alabama. Elder abuse happens when a senior suffers abuse or neglect from a person who is entrusted to care for their wellbeing.
According to the World Health Organization, elder abuse is defined as “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person." In this blog we explain what you need to know about elder abuse and what to do if you suspect it.
What Usually Prompts an Investigation?
The National Center on Elder Abuse says that 1 out of every 10 senior citizens in the United States experiences some form of abuse. However, less than 20% of elder abuse cases are ever reported. Unfortunately, many indicators of elder abuse are similar to the symptoms that are commonly associated with the mental and physical deterioration that comes with getting older. You should be suspicious if you notice any of the following with an elder you are close with:
- Changes in personality or behavior
- Injuries or bruises the elder can’t explain
- Conflicting stories about incidents with a caregiver and a patient
- Nursing home patients who are obviously malnourished, disheveled, in need of medication, or appear to be severely affected by prescription drugs
- Unexplained spending patterns or sudden loss of money and property
- Caregiver who is with a patient at all times and who does not allow others to be alone with them
Methods to Investigate Elder Abuse
You should start by doing what you can to prevent elder abuse from the start. If you are going to put your loved one in a nursing home, you should first conduct a background check on the caregivers working at the facility your loved one will be living at. Verifying the facility’s and caregiver’s certifications and interviewing other residents can help stop abuse before it starts.
If you suspect that abuse is taking place, you can use surveillance products to set up a “granny cam.” You should consult with an attorney to find out what privacy laws apply to your situation. A lawyer will research your case, the individuals involved, and the type of abuse to determine what investigation style you should try. They can also help you find a skilled investigator to document the abuse or changes in behavior that will help your case.
What Should I Do If I Spot Elder Abuse in Alabama?
If you suspect an elder you know is being abused, you should immediately get the authorities involved. File a police report with local law enforcement so that everything pertaining to your case will be properly documented. After you get the police involved, you should speak with an experienced Alabama nursing home abuse attorney to figure out what legal actions you can take against the abuser. You might be able to recover damages for the harm your elder suffered.
Do you think your elder has experienced abuse? Contact our Alabama nursing home abuse lawyer to schedule your free case evaluation. We are located in Enterprise, AL but also serve out-of-state.