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How Can Visits from Family Reduce Nursing Home Residents’ Risk of Abuse or Neglect?

December 26, 2023

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For many families, making the decision to move a loved one into a nursing home is a difficult and emotional choice. We want to believe that our family members will receive the care and attention they deserve—especially when they are being cared for out of our sight by people who are often complete strangers to us.

Unfortunately, the reality is not always so rosy. Nursing home neglect and abuse cases are more common than we'd like to admit, but thankfully, families aren’t helpless when their loved ones move into care facilities. One proactive step that families can take to protect their loved ones living in nursing homes is to schedule regular visits.

In this blog, we'll discuss the importance of family visits in reducing the risk of nursing home neglect and abuse.

The Importance of Family Involvement for Nursing Home Residents

Regular visits from family members can serve as a lifeline for nursing home residents while providing many benefits to their health and well-being:

  • Monitoring Care—Family members can observe the quality of care provided and assess their loved one's well-being during visits. It also makes it easier to tell if there are any extreme changes in their loved one’s health or behavior between one visit and the next. If there are any concerns, family members can address them promptly with the staff.
  • Emotional Support—Being in a nursing home can be emotionally challenging, and feelings of loneliness and depression are common. The presence of family members can provide comfort, companionship, and a sense of security that residents desperately need.
  • Deterrent to Neglect— The knowledge that family members are actively involved and regularly visiting residents can deter nursing home staff from engaging in neglectful or abusive behavior.

Preventing Neglect Through Regular Visits

The benefits of regular family visits are not just anecdotal; research supports their impact in reducing neglect cases. Here are some ways in which family visits can help prevent neglect:

Increased Oversight

Regular visits from family members can help ensure that staff are providing the necessary care. When there's a consistent presence of loved ones, the staff may be more vigilant and attentive to their duties. Knowing that someone is watching can motivate staff members to perform their jobs with care and compassion.

Prompt Reporting

Family members who regularly visit their loved ones are more likely to notice signs of neglect or abuse, even subtle ones. These signs may include unexplained injuries, poor hygiene, or behavioral changes. If any concerns arise, family members can report them to the nursing home administration, potentially preventing further neglect or abuse. If the source of concern is not addressed between visits, families can then escalate the issue with the help of an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer.

Improved Mood and Outlook

Emotional well-being in nursing home residents is just as crucial as physical well-being. Regular family visits provide comfort, emotional support, and a sense of belonging that residents may lack in their care facilities. A happy and emotionally supported resident is less likely to experience neglect or abuse, as they’re often more likely to speak up when mistreatment begins.

Building Relationships

Family visits allow residents to maintain relationships with their loved ones and those who care for them. Staff members are more likely to treat residents with respect and kindness when they see they have a strong support system and know their family members. Building positive relationships with staff and other residents can reduce the risk of neglect.

When family members actively participate in the lives of nursing home residents, they are better positioned to protect their rights and interests. In cases where neglect or abuse occurs, family members can be crucial in pursuing legal action to hold the facility accountable.

Our Ohio Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers Advocate for Vulnerable Residents and Their Families

The importance of family visits in reducing nursing home neglect and abuse cases cannot be overstated. These visits offer residents emotional support, oversight, and a vital connection to the outside world.

If you have concerns about a loved one in a nursing home, regular visits are a practical and proactive step you can take. They not only benefit the resident's well-being but also contribute to the prevention of neglect and abuse.

Unfortunately, regular visits don’t always prevent abuse or neglect from occurring. If you suspect your loved one is being mistreated at their nursing home, the Ohio nursing home abuse attorneys at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy are here to help. Contact us anytime for a free case review.

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