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What is the protocol if someone suspects nursing home abuse?

There are many great nursing homes in Kentucky and throughout the country. However, sometimes a nursing home resident may experience neglect, exploitation or abuse by an employee or another resident. Here is advice for anyone who believes that a nursing home resident is being abused and would like to know how to report it.

If a person suspects there is abuse happening in a nursing home, he or she should call Kentucky's Adult Protective Services agency to report the abuse. However, if the nature of the abuse is such that the victim's life is in danger, it is recommended that the person contact local law enforcement officials or call 911 for immediate assistance.

The APS telephone number for reporting non-emergency nursing home abuse is 1-800-677-1116. Reporting can also be done through the agency's website via www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Index.aspx or by contacting a local long-term care ombudsman.

When reporting the abuse, the person must give the name of the victim as well as his or her contact information, address and a full explanation of the alleged abuse. The person should also be prepared to answer several questions regarding the allegations so that the authorities can have a full understanding of the circumstances. For instance, some of the questions could include medical problems the victim may have, such as memory loss or confusion, the victim's social supports or family members and the type of abuse. In some instances, the caller may be asked for his or her name and contact information; however, most states will accept the information, even if a caller wishes to remain anonymous.

Many nursing home residents are incapable of protecting themselves from exploitation and neglect. Because they are entitled to protection under the law, anyone who witnesses or suspects nursing home abuse might consider contacting an experienced medical malpractice attorney about filing a claim.Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living, "Administration on Aging (AoA) What If I Suspect Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation?", September 30, 2016

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