How Can Abuse in Nursing Homes Be Prevented?

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Nursing homes exist so that people can have the care that they need. Preventing abuse is critical to this mission.

Our Greenville nursing home abuse attorney shares the ways that abuse in nursing homes can be prevented.

Methods of Abuse Prevention in Nursing Homes

     1. Follow state and local regulations

Nursing homes are regulated by state and federal law. These regulations cover many topics, including staffing, incident reporting, resident medical care, provision of basic services, resident rooms, and common areas. Nursing home regulations are based on collected data, incident reports, and identified areas of concern. They are meant to promote resident safety. Following applicable regulations is an important first step in preventing abuse.

     2. Avoid isolation

Resident isolation may give a perpetrator the opportunity to abuse a resident. Nursing home residents should never be left without a way to seek help. Caregivers should check on them. They should be engaged in the community to the extent that they are able. Family members should be encouraged to visit.

     3. Train workers appropriately

Workers need adequate training. They need training that is specific to their job, whether it is fall protection, assisting with resident transfers, dispensing medications, or providing meal service. They need to understand the signs of abuse. Expectations should be clearly communicated to workers. With comprehensive training, workers may recognize signs of abuse, and they are clearly told that abuse is unacceptable.

     4. Provide adequate staffing and resources

Those tasked with providing care to nursing home residents need sufficient resources to do their jobs.

That means having enough workers to provide personalized attention. When the work is stressful because of short staffing or a lack of resources, abuse may occur.

     5. Conduct background checks

A person should work at a nursing home only if they are qualified to do so. The facility should conduct a background check before hiring an applicant. The background check should be thorough enough to determine if the applicant poses a risk of perpetrating abuse. When a background check is incomplete, incorrect, or if the results aren’t acted upon, residents may be at risk of harm.

     6. Conduct audits

Audits help identify non-compliance so that changes can be made. They may identify abuse that is already occurring, or they may identify areas where procedures can be reinforced to prevent abuse. An audit may involve reviewing records, and it may involve watching activity. Regular and unannounced audits can ensure that workers follow regulations and meet performance targets. These measures can help prevent abuse.

     7. Terminate workers when necessary

When a worker shows signs of concern, they should be coached, retrained, or terminated. A worker displaying elevated risk factors for abuse should not be allowed to stay in a position where they can harm residents. Facility leadership must be proactive in addressing problematic behavior before it escalates to abuse.

     8. Welcome feedback from residents

Residents should be encouraged to make suggestions and report their concerns. They are often the ones in a position to notice areas for improvement. Residents should know who they can talk to and how to make suggestions.

     9. Take complaints seriously

Too often, when complaints are made, they’re not taken seriously. It may be easier to move someone to another assignment than to make a report or terminate an employee. Those responsible for investigating may not want to interview witnesses, document evidence, or take the time to respond. However, to prevent abuse, complaints need to be taken seriously. They must be investigated, and results must be acted upon appropriately.

     10. Identify unusual activity

Often, the first sign of abuse is something unusual. Financial records, medical records, patient caregiving reports, and other information kept by the facility may reveal potential abuse. A discrepancy in records, unexpected activity, and other warning signs may be subtle. However, when something seems out of place, the appropriate people should seek more information.

Talk to a Lawyer for Nursing Home Abuse in South Carolina

Too often, nursing home abuse could have been prevented. If you or a loved one has been harmed, we invite you to speak to a lawyer. We can investigate what happened and what could have been done to prevent the abuse.

Bobby Jones Law helps people who are victimized by nursing home abuse and neglect. Call or message us to discuss your case with a lawyer.

The team at Bobby Jones Law LLC works tirelessly for the injured in South Carolina. His achievements include:
  • More than $60 million collected for our clients
  • Multiple recoveries exceeding $1 million, including an eight-figure settlement
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  • Selected as Legal Elite of the Upstate 2021–2023
We’re humbled to be considered one of the top firms in the Upstate and invite you to learn what sets our award-winning legal services apart. Call or request a consultation online.
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