How an Attorney Investigates Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

Why Abuse Goes Unreported

About one-third of assisted living and care type facilities in the U.S. have been cited for abuse, but only a small percentage of cases get reported. Some residents don’t have family members to tell about their abuse. Others tell family members but aren’t believed. Their allegations of abuse are dismissed as “making up stories” or exaggerating, perhaps out of lingering resentment for being put in assisted living in the first place.

What to Do If You Suspect Abuse

If a loved one tells you he or she is being abused or neglected, you should take these complaints seriously. But sometimes nursing home residents try to hide their abuse, even from family members. They may be afraid that abuse will worsen if the nursing home staff finds out they told. They may also think their children will not believe them or will think they are developing dementia.

You should always be alert for signs of possible abuse or neglect and receptive to reports of mistreatment from your family member. Even if you don’t have definitive proof that something is wrong, an Ohio nursing home abuse lawyer can help you investigate and confirm your suspicions.

How a Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Will Investigate

Your Ohio nursing home abuse lawyer will act quickly to begin his investigation and to document signs of abuse or neglect. Injuries can heal, and if the nursing home resident has mental illness or memory loss, he or she may be unable to remember the event shortly after it happened.

Your lawyer’s investigation techniques will depend on the specific type of abuse or neglect being alleged. The most direct investigation involves interviewing the resident or other residents who may have observed abuse or neglect (or even experienced it themselves). However, sometimes residents are unwilling to discuss the subject of abuse, so evidence will need to be gathered in other ways.

Photographs of bedsores, unchanged bandages, soiled sheets, and other unsanitary conditions can be used to demonstrate neglect. Elderly abuse victims will often have unexplained bruises, fall injuries, and the like.

Nursing home administrative staff may try to hide abuse, so interviewing them for the purposes of evidence-gathering may not be particularly helpful. However, as a preventative measure, you may want to notify administrators right after abuse is suspected. It could be that they are unaware of the abuse and will work to correct the situation or fire the responsible employee.

Your Ohio nursing home abuse lawyer may hire a doctor or nurse to review the resident’s medical records. They might notice errors or inconsistencies in the nursing home’s files that may be indicative of covering up abuse. They may also compare those records with records from a hospital or a previous nursing home. Radical weight loss, sudden dehydration, or other unexplained rapid deterioration in the resident’s condition could be indicative of abuse or neglect.

If you suspect a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse, don’t shrug off your intuition or ignore your loved one’s complaints. Contact an Ohio nursing home abuse lawyer at Slater & Zurz to discuss your options. Please call us toll free at 1-800-297-9191 for a confidential and free consultation or send us a Blog Message to schedule a time to talk that is convenient for you.

To learn more about nursing home abuse and neglect in Ohio nursing home and care facilities, please visit

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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