Who Investigates Nursing Home Abuse?

Published on May 21, 2024 at 7:17 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

Who investigates nursing home abuse

When you make the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home facility, you expect them to be treated with respect and dignity. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is a prevalent problem in Kentucky and around the United States.

Unfortunately, we have seen many heartbreaking cases of nursing home abuse from our clients at Peterson Law Office.

According to one World Health Organization report, about two in three nursing home staff members self-reported that they have abused their charges. With those unsettling numbers, it is up to family members, friends, and other concerned residents to promptly report any suspected abuse.

Once you make a complaint, who investigates nursing home abuse?

In this blog, we will discuss the agencies and organizations that will investigate these cases. Everyone has the responsibility to ensure that Kentucky’s most vulnerable residents remain safe and protected from harm.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

The signs of nursing home abuse can be obvious or subtle. Abuse can include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual assault and abuse
  • Neglect
  • Financial exploitation

No matter the situation, if you notice unusual physical signs or see a change in your loved one’s behavior, it may be time to investigate the problem. Once you suspect there is an issue, there are few agencies that will handle the case.

Investigating Agencies

There are several agencies and programs that can provide help. Depending on who you contact, the investigation can happen at a local level or on a federal basis. Here are some of the organizations and agencies that will handle your complaint.

Nursing Home Administration

If you suspect any abuse in a nursing home, you may want to consider reporting it to the administration of the facility. They should launch an internal investigation into the matter if you do so. Most of the time, they will remove the suspected worker. In some cases, they may even decide to remove your resident loved one from the facility if allegations are serious enough. However, that is not always the case. Once this investigation is completed, you will have a better idea about whether the facility believes the allegations are true or unfounded.

For many family members, they feel the need to remove their loved ones from the facility. Often, when there is an allegation of abuse, they may feel that their loved one will experience retaliation for the complaint. Residents can relocate to another facility if they think their safety has been compromised.

Law Enforcement

Any incidents of physical abuse, sexual assault, financial theft, or neglect are criminal behavior. If you believe a loved one in a nursing home suffered from any of these actions, you have the right to report it to law enforcement. While the nursing home may have an internal investigation, law enforcement will investigate all the criminal aspects of the case. They will talk to staff and residents, collect evidence, and file criminal charges.

Adult Protective Services (APS)

In every state, Adult Protective Services (APS) is available to protect the most vulnerable residents, including those in nursing homes. If there are allegations of exploitation, neglect, or abuse, you may want to contact them. Once they receive a complaint, they will also launch an investigation and take measures to make sure the person remains safe from further harm.

During this time, the APS will talk to staff members, other residents, and even police to determine if the allegation has merit. If they find out there is a suspected case of abuse, then the agency will act quickly to help the resident with medical and housing services. Anyone can contact the Kentucky APS to report a suspected case of abuse or neglect by phone at 877-597-2331 or by filling out an online form.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program advocates for residents of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. When residents or their families raise concerns or complaints, they will step in. Their team will investigate alleged violations.

This program mediates between residents, their families, and facility staff. They work to resolve conflicts related to care, treatment, living conditions, and quality of life. Every state has its own Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. These programs operate at the state or regional level.

For those residents of Kentucky, you will need to contact the Ombudsman for your county. After you have made a complaint, they will investigate the issue and determine if there is validity to the allegations.

Office of Inspector General (OIG)

The OIG is an independent federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In some cases, they will also investigate any suspected acts of neglect or abuse.

This agency will make sure that these nursing homes comply with the Social Security Act and the Code of Federal Regulations. With a complaint, the OIG will investigate issues related to inadequate staffing, poor hygiene, and unsafe conditions. When violations are substantiated, they will collaborate with law enforcement and legal authorities to hold accountable those who violate federal laws and regulations.

If you ever suspect any abuse, make sure to report it. These investigations help protect vulnerable residents in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Kentucky Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

In addition to the above-referenced entities, it’s not uncommon for concerned family members who suspect that their relative is being abused in their nursing home in Lexington or other parts of Kentucky to reach out to a lawyer to discuss their concerns. This actually happens to us a lot at Peterson Law Office because individuals don’t know who it’s best to report their concerns to. Not only do we provide those who reach out to us with the contacts listed above, but we’re there for them to conduct an additional investigation to ensure they meet the grounds for filing a lawsuit to hold liable parties accountable for inflicting harm.

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