Nursing homes are a legitimate solution for families in which loved ones can no longer care for themselves. It may be old age that has gotten them to this point, a disability from birth or a recent severe change in their health that led them to the need for complete care. Nursing homes are meant to be a place for people, often the elderly people, who need help caring for themselves. However, there have been reported instances of nursing home abuse in which a resident is harmed.

If you suspect nursing home abuse, this is a serious issue. When a loved one to be abused, rather than cared for in the best possible way, it is something that never should happen. Nursing homes are required to uphold a level of care that is exemplary and failure to do so, or negligent acts on behalf of nursing home workers, could result in a resident’s injury or premature death. Here are next steps to take if you suspect nursing home abuse of your loved one.

You’ll want to determine if the loved one’s abuse was a breach of contract or if it went one step forward and actually defines criminal culpability. When a loved one is placed in a nursing home, the nursing home resident’s rights are to be upheld and a contract is signed between the resident, or caretaker, and the nursing home. It outlines their duties under the contract and also under the law. If a law has been broken, and injuries rendered can help to determine this, a full investigation into conduct should occur.

The saddest part of this is the abuse is happening to people who can’t otherwise care for themselves. Sometimes this means mental inefficiencies, which can make it hard for the resident to communicate what’s happening to them or they may not understand it themselves. A nursing home resident’s family member could be the first to notice that something is wrong. Seeking damages is often a good reminder to those who abuse nursing home residents that it is not tolerated behavior.