As an alternative to a nursing home, some families choose to obtain in-home healthcare services for their elderly loved one. While such services can be costly, they do typically come with benefits:
- Of course, one of the chief benefits is that the elderly individual is able to remain in a home setting with his or her loved ones;
- The senior citizen’s loved ones are nearby, (theoretically) able to intervene much more quickly in the event the senior citizen’s health deteriorates or there are problems with the caregiver; and
- The caregiver tends to deliver much more personalized care and attention (and for longer periods) to the senior citizen than the senior citizen would receive in a nursing home or similar facility.
However, just as a nursing home employee can inflict physical abuse on a resident of the facility, so too a home healthcare worker can easily physically abuse a senior citizen for whom he or she is caring. Just as a nursing home resident’s family’s attentiveness to the signs of abuse can lead to early intervention and the prevention of additional harm, so too attention and care on the part of a senior citizen’s loved ones can prevent elder abuse in the home.
Tips for Preventing and Detecting Abuse from an At-Home Healthcare Worker
A senior citizen’s loved ones are at an advantage when attempting to prevent elder abuse in the home. However, because home healthcare workers can be personable and because many families feel comfortable leaving their elderly loved one at home with the healthcare worker – sometimes for extended periods of time – some in-home elder abuse can occur. Families should consider taking the following steps to protect their elderly loved one:
- Insist on background checks, including criminal records checks: Some home healthcare agencies may attempt to save money by not performing background checks on their employees. Before inviting someone into your home to care for your loved one, make sure a background check has been performed and the prospective healthcare provider has nothing concerning in his or her background.
- Be informed: Talk with the healthcare provider about what care and services your loved one will be receiving. Check with other resources to see if these services are appropriate given your loved one’s age and condition(s). Ask questions of the provider and others so you can learn what type of care is typical – and what type of care is not. Be suspicious if the provider is giving your loved one care or services that are not recommended for a person with your loved one’s conditions.
- Be vigilant: Keep an eye out for the traditional signs of abuse: unexplained injuries, drastic and sudden changes in health or wellbeing, and attempts by the provider to limit your access to your loved one.
If you or an elderly loved one have been injured by a healthcare provider, contact your Southern California elder abuse attorneys at Case Barnett Law immediately. You or your loved one may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and suffering. Call our firm at (949) 861-2990, or contact us online, and let us inform you and your family of your legal rights and how our firm can assist you in protecting those rights.