Like most in Kew Gardens, you likely would not trust the care of your elderly or infirm loved one to a nursing home or care center unless you felt completely comfortable with a facility and its staff. Yet your satisfaction may not diminish his or chances of experiencing abuse. If your family or friend confides in you that abuse is indeed happening, or if you suspect that it is, who should you report those concerns to?
Your first impulse may be to trust your instincts about the facility and share the information with its managerial staff. Yet consider this statistic: Data shared by the Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse and Neglect shows that in a documented year, almost 379,000 complaints of elder abuse were shared with caregivers that were never passed on to Adult Protective Services. These numbers seem to indicate that in many cases, nursing home administrators would prefer to settle claims of abuse “in house” rather than involving outside parties.
The reason behind this apparent lack of reporting may be concerns about negative publicity. Those fears may be well-founded given that if your loved one is experiencing abuse, the chances are high that other residents may be, as well. Thus, rather than opening up an investigation that could become widespread, nursing home officials may simply want to treat your case as an isolated incident.
Knowing this may help you understand why nursing home administrators have every reason to not involve authorities in abuse cases. Therefore, your best course of action may likely be to remove your loved one from the facility, and then share your concerns with the appropriate state agency. While this information should not be taken as legal advice, it could save your loved one and others a good deal of pain.