Agencies Target Elder Abuse at Nursing Homes - 8 News NOW

Andrea Bond, Reporter

Agencies Target Elder Abuse at Nursing Homes

Posted: Updated:

(July 19) -- Allegations of elder abuse are being leveled at a local nursing home. A Las Vegas woman says she noticed large bruises on her grandmother after she placed her in Delmar Gardens in Henderson. It recently became so severe that her grandmother had to be hospitalized. Henderson authorities are investigating the case and at least two others.

When loved ones reach their golden years, you want them to be comfortable and cared for. If you can't help out yourself, you may have to turn to a nursing home and hope that someone there does.

Attorney Mark Morrow specializes in elder abuse cases. "You've got to understand you're entrusting the care of a loved one to a stranger, and you want to make sure you're placing them in a facility that adequately meets the needs of your loved ones," he said.

A sad and scary statistic is that 40 percent of nursing home residents end up experiencing some sort of abuse. Debbie Nestor learned that the hard way. Her grandmother suffered severe bruises after she was placed in a home. "I think everyone needs to be careful to do a good check and then keep it up," Nestor said.

One of the most important steps you can take when choosing a long-term care facility is to visit the site. Use your senses -- your eyes your ears, your sense of smell -- to make sure everything's OK. Once you've chosen a site, you'll want to come back regularly to make sure things continue to be in check.

A good time to visit a facility is during meal time. It gives you a good idea of how the staff interacts with the patients, how much of the food is eaten; also if the patients are up and dressed, well groomed and cleaned.

Other things to keep your eyes on are individual rooms. Is there an emergency cord in sight? Is it close to a hallway where staff members can look in? Also, does the facility have scheduled activities to keep residents happy?

You'll definitely want to check the records. Each facility is required by law to post its most recent state inspection report. Ask to see it.

You can also call the Attorney General's Office and the Bureau of Licensing. Both keep records. Most importantly, be persistent. Don't just do one check and forget. You should make it a habit.

Here are some ways to watch for elderly abuse or neglect:

  • Do you notice continued signs of dehydration or malnutrition?
  • Is the resident less active or less able to move?
  • Have you noticed emotional changes, mood swings, fears or anxiety?
  • Are residents dressed appropriately for the season and time of day?
  • Are the resident's medical conditions being treated in a timely fashion?
  • Has the resident been experiencing frequent falls or broken bones?
  • Are the caregivers speaking of the resident as a burden?
  • Does the caregiver react defensively to routine questions about resident care?

Here are offices to call if you suspect abuse:

  • Ombudsman's Office, Las Vegas (702-486-3545)
  • Ombudsman's Office, Reno (755-688-2964)
  • Las Vegas Metro Police Dept. Neglect and Abuse Unit (702-229-3364)
  • Attorney General's Office (702-486-3111)
  • Bureau of Licensing, Las Vegas (702-486-6515)
  • Bureau of Licensing, Carson City (775-687-4475)
  • Bureau of Licensing, Reno (775-688-2888)
  • Nursing Home Justice Center: (702) 385-HELP

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