Making the decision to move a parent, grandparent, or another elderly loved one to a nursing home is not an easy decision. Once the decision has been made, family members often worry about the quality of care their loved one is receiving. Most of the time, those worries are unfounded; however, the harsh reality is that nursing home abuse and neglect happens more often than most people realize. If you believe that an elderly loved one has been abused or neglected, an Indianapolis elder law attorney at Frank & Kraft explains how to file a complaint and what other legal steps may be available to you.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
As the older population in the United States continues to swell to historic proportions, more and more people need nursing home care. Even when a nursing home has the best of intentions, abuse and neglect can occur because the facility is understaffed, staff members are not properly trained, or supervisors look the other way instead of addressing potential problems. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), up to five million older Americans are abused every year, and the annual loss by victims of financial abuse is estimated to be at least $36.5 billion. Experts estimate that one in 10 older Americans experienced some type of elder abuse or neglect each year and that fewer than one in 24 instances of elder abuse are reported. If you are concerned that an elderly loved one is being mistreated in a nursing home facility, these statistics are undoubtedly disturbing. Sadly, they do support your decision to report your suspicions and take additional legal action if warranted.
Filing a Nursing Home Complaint in Indiana
Ideally, you should try to confirm your suspicions before taking further steps if you are concerned that a nursing home resident has been abused or neglected. Unfortunately, your loved one may not be able or willing to provide that confirmation. Many elderly nursing home residents make especially vulnerable victims precisely because they are unable to tell anyone about the mistreatment. Even when a victim can speak up, they often do not because they are embarrassed or ashamed to be in such a vulnerable position. If your loved one cannot provide additional information, it may be worthwhile to try and discuss your concerns with the administrative staff; however, they may also be less than forthcoming. Regardless of how you arrive at the decision to pursue the matter, you can file a complaint against a nursing home in Indiana with the Indiana Department of Health and/or the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
To file a complaint with the Indiana Department of Health you simply navigate to the website and you can fill out the form online or you can call the complaint line at 800-246-8909. Your complaint will be kept confidential. Within 7-10 business days you will receive a letter to verify your complaint was received and after the investigation is complete you will be informed of the findings.
To file a complaint with the Long-Term Care Ombudsman you can navigate to the online complaint form or email a complaint to email@example.com. A complaint can be filed anonymously; however, if you provide your contact information someone may contact you for additional information. Regardless, your loved one in the nursing home will be contacted.
In addition to filing the above-refenced complaints, the alleged abuse or neglect may rise to the level of a criminal offense in Indiana and/or may form the basis of a civil lawsuit against the facility. Consult with an experienced elder law attorney to discuss your legal options.
Do You Need Help Handling a Complaint Against an Indiana Nursing Home?
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions about how to file a complaint against a nursing home in Indiana, contact an experienced Indianapolis elder law attorney at Frank & Kraft by calling (317) 684-1100 to schedule an appointment.
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