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How to protect your parent in a nursing home

Putting your aging parent in a nursing home can cause you grief and worry, and for good reason, too. Abuse and neglect are common in these facilities. According to the Office for Victims of Crime, the top complaint was for physical abuse from staff, with physical or sexual abuse from other residents coming in second.

When you have no other option but nursing home placement, how can you protect your loved one from such horrors? The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care shares some proactive steps you can take to ensure the well-being of your mom or dad.

Be involved in health care

The best form of protection is to be involved in your parent's care. Make sure initial and subsequent assessments happen and that you attend them. Review and become familiar with the care plan the facility creates for your parent. Get to know all the staff, but particularly those who will be caring directly for your parent.

Visit often

Residents who do not have visitors are most vulnerable to abuse because they have no one to look out for them or to share concerns with. The more you visit your loved one, the less likely abuse will happen, as there is a greater chance you will notice physical, mental and emotional changes in the resident.

Always watch for signs of abuse or neglect to catch them early on. Sometimes change up when you come to ensure treatment is acceptable at all times and not just when you normally are there.

Play advocate

Even if your parent does not experience outright abuse, staff may dismiss his or her wishes or worries, affecting the quality of care. Be the voice for your parent, speaking assertively, respectively and clearly. Hold family councils to discuss matters so everyone is on the same page. If problems continue, utilize the services of an ombudsman or legal representative.

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