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Steps to take to help guard against nursing home negligence, theft, abuse

Visit your loved one frequently and vary your visits. Depending on the nursing home’s visiting hours, how strictly they’re enforced, and how far you live or work from the facility, try to have friends and family visit at least two or three times a week— on different days and at different times, so staffers are never sure when to expect visitors. Nursing home residents who rarely or never get visitors may be more likely to become victims of negligence and abuse.

Make yourself known. When you visit, let the nursing home’s director and relevant staffers know that you’re there, once again, to see your loved one. Mention his/her name and room number, so they’ll take note of your concern. Notice who is visiting the other patients, and become familiar with those you see frequently. It is helpful to compare notes on the level of care, and have another set of eyes to watch for anything amiss.

Take close-up photos of your loved one, whenever you visit. Look for and photograph any bruises, scratches, bedsores, fractures, etc. Include the front page of that day’s daily newspaper, to mark the date. If a lawsuit should ever prove necessary, some dated photos, showing how your loved one looked before and after an incident of negligence or abuse, could prove invaluable.

Become friendly with your loved one’s attendants. The more they like you, the more they’re likely to take good care of your loved one. Be cheerful, and encourage your loved one to be polite but wary. (If your loved one is a particularly difficult person, encourage them to be selectively critical and focus complaints on truly urgent matters!)

Take note of your loved one’s surroundings, personal property and (if possible) finances. When visiting, look around you. Notice if, for example, the room is too hot, too cold or drafty…if window coverings are torn or missing…if there are enough pillows and blankets…and if there’s a reasonably safe place to keep your loved one’s wallet or purse, checkbook, credit cards and petty cash. If you have access to his or her monthly credit card and checking account statements, see if there are any suspicious payments, charges or deductions.

If you have a question about nursing home abuse, neglect, or negligence in a New York nursing home, or if you want more information, and a free, no-obligation phone consultation, please call Leitner Varughese PLLC at (855) LV LAW NY (855-585-2969), or visit our website at

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