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What can I do to help reduce Nursing Home Abuse in Tennessee?

Elder abuse often is the result of a caretaker’s inability to handle their duties. A key part to prevent nursing home abuse in Tennessee involves a careful decision making process in choosing the right caregivers. Prevention also involves keeping elders in a state of optimal physical, mental, and emotional health.

Risk Factors That May Increase Elder Abuse

Elder abuse refers to intentional harm that is inflicted on an elderly, or disabled, person by someone who they have an expected level of trust with. Abuse can take many different forms; therefore, it is important that loved ones understand the factors of abuse.

Risk Factors to Know About

As a nursing home abuse lawyer in Tennessee might explain to you, the mental health and life situation of a caregiver can influence their potential of committing some kind of abuse. For example, caring for elderly people is a challenging, even stressful, responsibility. This is one that no one should take on without the right mindset, training, support, and preparation. If the caregiver can relate to any of the below factors, they may be at a heightened risk to commit abuse. The caregiver:

  • Is financially or emotionally dependent on the elder
  • Possesses poor coping skills
  • Is overworked and/or underpaid
  • Has negative beliefs related to elders or aging
  • Suffers from a mental illness
  • Abuses drugs or alcohol
  • Has limited or no training
  • Was abused or traumatized

In other words, caregivers who may be dealing with their own mental health issues, or who have high amounts of stress, may be more prone to physical outbursts, neglect, financial exploitation, abandonment, or other forms of abuse.

Facility Risk Factors

As a Tennessee nursing home abuse lawyer, we know that it is not always the caregiver who is completely at fault for abuse or neglect. Nursing home facilities can also pose unique risk factors. All too often, these facilities overwork their caregivers or are understaffed. These situations can lead to rushed care, burnout, exhaustion, and intense frustration. If you notice any of the following, your elderly loved one may be at risk for abuse:

  • Inadequate hiring practices
  • High turnover rates
  • Stressful working environment
  • Lack of administrative oversight
  • Rude or “cold” staff

Many people may believe or feel that they are powerless to help protect their loved ones and friends against nursing home abuse or neglect, but this is not true. There are a variety of ways you can help to reduce or even stop the abuse in nursing homes without even needing the help of a Tennessee nursing home attorney at The Higgins Firm. Legal action should only be considered when all other options have been tried and have been unsuccessful.

What Are Some Nursing Home Abuse Prevention Ideas and Tips?

There are many ways to help reduce and prevent nursing home abuse and neglect not only in Tennessee, but also across the country. Some of these tips may include but are not limited to:

  • Visiting often during different times of the day (i.e. morning, evening, holidays, weekends)
  • Question care of patient or loved one
  • Suggest training program ideas to the staff
  • Notifying Tennessee Nursing Home Authorities
  • Being Actively Involved in your loved one’s care

Many times nursing home abuse or neglect occurs because the staff may be improperly trained or overworked. If you visit often and question the care of a loved one, they are more likely to improve the quality of care that your loved one receives or at the very least take notice of it. If you are an active member of your loved one’s care, then you should have the nursing home authorities notified of any concerns. This will give everyone, even the nursing home staff a chance to speak up and it will help improve the conditions of the nursing home.

What Authorities Can I Contact to Report Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?

Many people may want to report or abuse but may not know where to go or who to call. You can contact any of these agencies and authorities for help about nursing home abuse. They are:

  • Tennessee Board of Nursing Home Administrators
  • Tennessee Adult Protect Services (APS) at 1-888-APS-TENN
  • Knoxville, TN APS at (865) 594-5685
  • Chattanooga, TN APS at (423) 634-6624
  • Nashville, TN APS at (615) 532-3492
  • Tennessee Ombudsman at 532-1572 for Nashville-area nursing home abuse
  • Tennessee Ombudsman at (800) 264-0904 for nursing home abuse outside the Nashville area
  • Tennessee Department of Health at 1-800-778-4504

These agencies may file a claim of nursing home abuse or neglect, or may give the nursing home a citation because of the abuse report. Nursing homes may also be given fines and closed until their conditions improve under the law. Tennessee law requires that any person capable of reporting abuse should do so.

Many of these businesses can take your call 24 hours a day or allow you to record a message and return your call within one business day. If you are still unsure of how to report nursing home abuse, you can always consult an experienced nursing home abuse attorney at The Higgins Firm.

When You Discover the Worst

If the worst scenario occurs, and you find out your elderly loved one has been abused in a nursing home, you should take the following steps:

  • Take your loved one out of the situation
  • If you believe your loved ones’ life is at risk, or they need immediate help, call 911
  • Report the abuse to the Adult Protective Services (APS), the police, or your Tennessee nursing home ombudsman
  • Call a nursing home abuse lawyer in Tennessee

Elder abuse is devastating for anyone involved. You are not alone. To find out whether or not compensation is available, please call a Tennessee nursing home abuse lawyer from The Higgins Firm. Fill out our short nursing home abuse form or give us a call toll-free at 800.705.2121.

What Our Clients Say
When my mother was neglected in a nursing home I was referred to The Higgins Firm for help. They did a great job representing my family and obtained a significant settlement. Hopefully, this will keep someone else's parent from being mistreated in the future. Angie S.
I have a large collection practice and don't handle personal injury cases. Instead of simply declining a case, I referred it to The Higgins Firm. They handled everything. My client got a large recovery and I got a large co-counsel fee. The client and I were both very happy. Attorney Bo Melton
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