Residing at care homes is not something everyone looks forward to. However, several reasons and situations beyond your control may force you or someone you love to stay at care homes permanently or for a temporary phase. While most care homes conform to a certain standard set by the permissions, sometimes things may go wrong and this is what you must be aware of. The bitter truth is that violations at a care home can happen anytime and in such a situation, you must be aware of the rules and how to protect your rights.
The first step to investigating violations at a care home is to be aware of the different categories of abuse that can take place. The most common of violations is lack of basic courtesy and little respect for human dignity. Keep a watch on how the support staff is treating the elderly or the vulnerable. See if they are cared for regularly and in a timely manner. Vulnerable or dependent residents should not have made to wait for their meals or medicines to be served on time or the bed made at the hour they want.
They should not be made to lie in soiled clothes or linen and should be assisted in their daily grooming. Carers should not try to patronize or intimidate them or remove money from their rooms taking advantage of their vulnerability. Communication should always be polite and professional and not as an expression of favor or pity.
Plan your Investigation
Talk to someone you trust and can depend upon if you are unsure about how to go about the investigation. It is best if you could contact a trustworthy advocate or someone with prior experience. Discuss what you think is going wrong, which rights are being violated and what changes you would like to see. Do not be afraid to seek legal advice whenever in doubt about the rules and regulations.
Try and resolve the issue with the care home authorities if possible. Request your friend / relative / advocate to accompany you whenever you bring up such issues with the permissions. Go for formal complaint if this does not satisfy you.
Lodge your Complaint
Surprisingly, most victims of violation at care homes prefer not to complain for the fear of repercussions. This is because they are either staying permanently and do not want to upset the home authorities or they may have return in the future for want of better alternative. Also, pursuing a complaint is not always smooth and easy … you may have to do multiple rounds of several organizations to get yourself heard before you can file for necessary compensation.
Even then in case you are unhappy with the standard of care meted out to you or your loved person at care homes or nursing homes, you should always contact your national service provider directly and lodge a complaint. You can also complain at the local council level if they are paying for your care. In case you are still unhappy with the way things are being investigated, you can always approach the local government ombudsman for further investigation.
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John A Denver