Report: One-quarter of serious abuse cases are unreported

Our elderly loved ones may require more care and services than family or friends can provide. Under these circumstances, it can be necessary to place them in facilities that are equipped to handle the needs of people who may be very sick, immobile, unable to communicate or suffering from dementia.

Unfortunately, despite promises of excellent care and trained staff, there are facilities where these vulnerable patients are neglected and abused. And according to a recent alert from the Department of Health and Human Services, these tragic situations go unreported far too often.

What is the problem?

The report notes that nursing home facilities are failing to report severe cases of abuse or neglect. These incidents are supposed to be reported to police within two or 24 hours, depending on the presence of bodily injury. However, at least 28 percent of severe incidents involving trips to the emergency room were not reported.

Why is this happening?

There are several reasons why facilities might fail to report abuse, and none of them isacceptable. Some may do it in an effort to conceal a history of misconduct; others may not report instances to police to shield someone from facing criminal charges; there are also facilities who do not file a report because they don't know they are supposed to.

Whatever the reason may be, failing to report serious abuse to the authorities is a very real problem. And in fact, failing to report abuse suspicions to local law enforcement is a violation of federal law. 

What to do if you suspect your loved one is a victim of abuse

Addressing misconduct can be up to the family of a nursing home abuse victim. Victims are often scared and they may not be willing or capable of reporting abuse or neglect. As we can see from this report, we cannot count on workers at a facility to report abuse and/or neglect.

If you suspect neglect or abuse in a Ohio nursing home, it is critical that you report it. If your loved one suffered damages as a result of this devastating mistreatment, then you can speak with an attorney on his or her behalf to learn about the legal options available. 

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