When you hire a home health agency to provide in-home care for your aging loved one, you expect them to treat your family member with the utmost care. However, the sad truth is that some of these paid professionals engage in elder abuse — which is not okay. If you know an agency representative that you suspect is abusing your loved one, make sure you know what to do.
Signs of Abuse
Learn how to look beyond the typical signs of abuse, such as bruising or physical injury. If you do not think the agency representative is treating your loved one well, there are other signs to look out for, such as if your loved one seems anxious or timid whenever the individual is around. Changes in your loved one's behavior, such as withdrawing from family and friends, or sudden depression can also be signs of abuse.
After you have researched the matter and are confident abuse is occurring, you need to make your accusations official. The first step in this process should be sitting down with an attorney to discuss your concerns. The attorney will then help you file a police report and file an official complaint with the agency the healthcare worker represents to outline your claims. Not until this paperwork is filed will your claim be considered serious.
Although the healthcare worker who is in the home with your loved one may be directly causing harm to your loved one, the agency they represent can also be indirectly responsible. It is the responsibility of an agency to screen their workers and to train them on how to safely and properly care for the people they take care of. If the agency failed at either step and the abuse of your loved one is the result of their negligence, they may be liable.
Solutions and Settlements
In terms of a solution or settlement of an elder abuse claim, there are a couple of things that can happen. Depending on the specifics, the abuser can be criminally charged and prosecuted in a court of law and/or the agency that employs the individual could be forced to compensate your loved one for any damages they have sustained because of the unsafe actions. Whatever the case, an attorney can help your family reach a resolution.
If you suspect abuse, you must act. Be sure to speak with an elder abuse lawyer to learn more about what you can do in this situation.