After making the difficult decision to move an elderly loved one into the nursing home, you should be able to trust the staff at the facility to provide adequate care. Regrettably, nursing home neglect and abuse probably occur more often than you think.  

In a nursing home, neglect happens when professionals do not provide the care your loved one needs. Abuse, by contrast, involves inflicting physical, emotional or financial harm. If you suspect your elderly loved one may be the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you have some options. 

1. Gather some evidence

You may not be comfortable making accusations without concrete facts. Therefore, you should gather as much evidence as possible about the abuse or neglect. Talk to your loved one, other residents and nursing home staff. Also, create a contemporaneous journal about your observations.  

2. Lodge a complaint

Once you determine something is terribly wrong, you should complain to the nursing home administrator. Often, nursing homes have forms for lodging complaints. You also should be certain to keep notes about your interactions with the administrator, including a copy of any reports you file.  

3. Call the authorities

If you believe your relative is in imminent danger or has been the victim of abuse, you should call the police. Otherwise, you may want to file an official complaint with the Tennessee Division of Health Care Facilities. You can file this complaint over the telephone, through an online portal or in writing. If your complaint involves a serious allegation, an official investigation should happen promptly.  

If your loved one’s physical well-being is in jeopardy, removing him or her from the nursing home may be necessary. Ultimately, though, your elderly loved one may be eligible for substantial financial compensation for the neglect or abuse he or she suffers at the nursing home.