Reporting Neglect And Abuse
If you witness abuse, first call 9-1-1. It is important to prevent any further harm. Anyone can report abuse or neglect. The U.S. Administration on Aging also operates an elder abuse toll-free hotline, 1-800-677-1116. This number is available from Monday through Friday 9 AM-8 PM (except U.S. federal holidays).
It is a violation of State and Federal law for any person, including facility staff, volunteers, visitors, family members or guardians, or another resident, to neglect or abuse a nursing home or assisted living resident.
- Anyone can and should report neglect and abuse. If you suspect neglect or abuse, or if a resident tells you they are experiencing this problem, it is important to believe the resident and REPORT THE ALLEGATION IMMEDIATELY. This will help prevent further suffering by any resident.
- Many states have laws that require the reporting of abuse and neglect. Find out what your state requires.
- Put your report in writing, date it, and keep a copy. Convey as much information as you can about the situation. Remember to include:
Who – The name of the victim, including age and address; the name of the facility and the people responsible for the victim’s care; the identity of the person who you believe abused or neglected the resident;
What – The nature and extent of harm and any physical signs of abuse or neglect; any previous incidents; what happened;
Where and when – The place where the incident happened and time and date of the incident.
Provide as much background information as possible. A thorough report will help the investigator to address the situation quickly. A Duncan Firm nursing home specialist can review your information to determine if legal action would be appropriate.
Make Your Report To:
- The facility’s administrator, director of nursing, and social worker
- The state or local ombudsman
- The local police or State law enforcement
- A Protection and Advocacy or Adult Protective Services agency
- The state survey agency that licenses and certifies nursing homes or assisted living facilities (often in the Health Department)
- A citizen advocacy group or other church or community group that visits regularly.
Keep trying until you get the assistance you need.
After the Report:
- Follow up with the resident and facility to make sure the neglect or abuse has stopped.
- Follow up with the person or agency conducting the investigation. Ask for written copies of findings if allowed by law.
- If the perpetrator is charged with abuse or neglect, the charge will be referred to the state licensing authority. If the guilty person is a nurse aide, the charge will be reported to the state nurse aide registry. This registry is used by nursing homes to prevent abusive aides from working with the elderly. Nursing homes are required to check the registry before hiring a person.
- If all the safety options fail, you may need to contact the local media, the U.S. Justice Department, or seek private legal assistance. The Duncan Firm has expertise in this area and can help advise you.
For more information, see Questions About Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect.
The Duncan Firm would like to thank the National Citizens’ Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (NCCNHR) for contributing to the above information. NCCHNHR has several publications that may be of interest. Call 202-332-2275 for a publication list or visit their website.
To schedule a free consultation with one of Duncan Firm’s nursing home abuse lawyers, please call or email our Arkansas office today.