Return to Nursing Home Abuse Neglect Warning Signs
Elder Abuse: What Can you Do to Prevent Elder Abuse?
Provided by: California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform
Join or Form a Residents' Council or Form a Family Council: Organize and voice concerns and provide suggestions on improving quality of care and quality of life. Residents in skilled nursing facilities have a right to participate in a Resident Council. In residential care facilities for the elderly, residents have a right to form a resident council. Families with loved ones in either a nursing home or a residential care facility for the elderly have a right to form Family Councils. (Refer to CANHR's material and new video on forming Family Councils.)
Be Informed: Learn about the signs of elder abuse and the availability of community services and agencies that can help. Know your rights as a resident. (Refer to What is Elder Abuse?, How to Prevent Elder Financial Abuse, and Filing a Complaint.)
Become an Active Participant in Care Plan Meetings: Insist on a personalized and practical plan for care. Make sure that the plan is clearly written so everyone, including direct care staff, can understand it. (Refer to CANHR's Fact Sheet on Care Planning.)
Monitor Care: Follow up to make sure that the plan of care is fully implemented and is working. Keep notes. Look at medical records and even check the physical condition of the resident especially when the person is vulnerable to skin breakdown because of incontinence or being partially or fully bedridden or wheelchair bound. Maintain close contact with the Director of Nursing and the charge nurse.
Visit with a Plan: Families and friends should visit frequently and at different days of the week and at different times. Make sure to visit the facility at meal times, at night and on the weekends.
Stay Connected: Isolation is the breeding ground for abuse. Social isolation increases the risk of becoming a victim of abuse. Maintain and increase your network of friends and associates. Develop a mutual reassurance "buddy system", contacting one another at least once per week.
Seek Help: Contact CANHR at 1-800-474-1116 or the Ombudsman Program at 1-800-231-4024.
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