Newark, NJ- If you have noticed your aging loved one exhibiting the numerous signs of nursing home abuse, such as depression, dehydration, unexplained bruises or weight loss, you may be reaching panic mode. Not only are you concerned about the safety of resident, but you are also probably very angry.  You may not know what to do next or who you should report the abuse to.

Nursing home abuse and neglect can cause harm to a resident, often putting them in danger of suffering unnecessary injuries and chronic health problems. Abuse and neglect also erodes the mental health of nursing home residents so it is important that you take the necessary action.

Under federal law nursing home administrators are required to address all concerns you have about your loved one’s care.  If you suspect they are being abused by a staff member or their needs are being neglected, that facility must look into your claims.

When your suspect abuse, you should ask your relative about the incident, in some cases they may be willing and able to tell you if they are being mistreated in any way. However it is important to bear in mind that many nursing home residents are reluctant to tell even their family members if they are being abused. They fear they will be retaliated against or subjected to further abuse so many residents just suffer in silence.

Even when your loved one cannot or will not tell you there are being abused, your next more should be to raise concerns with management of the facility, unless your loved one’s life is in imminent danger, then you should contact 911. This is also the time to consider moving your loved one to a different facility.

When you confront the facilities management it is crucial you remain calm and remember they have the presumption of innocence and should be given the opportunity to investigate your allegations.

This is also the proper time to ask if you can utilize a hidden camera to capture the abuse if you so choose. These hidden cameras can give you proof that your elderly loved one is being harmed, but you may need to speak with the nursing home abuse attorney to determine if these cameras are legal in your state.

After you have notified administrators at the facility you should also contact Adult Protective Services who will record your complaint and forward it to the agency tasked with investigating such allegations. But be forewarned, in some states these investigations can take a long time to initiate, substantiate and follow up on.

Once you have lodged a formal complaint with facility management and the proper agency in your state, you are also advised to speak with a nursing home abuse attorney to determine if civil action is the appropriate step to take. In many cases, you can seek compensation for medical bills and the emotional suffering your loved has endured as a result of their treatment.