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Arbitration and Elder Abuse


One of the most difficult decisions a person can make is deciding when a loved needs to be placed in elder care, and for many families, the decision to choose an elder care facility can be stressful, especially when the necessity to care for older individuals comes suddenly.

The main goal everyone agrees on is ensuring that our loved ones are cared for and not taken advantage of. This can mean many visits to several facilities or finding an elder care home as quickly as possible.

The obvious stress of the situation can cause people to sign without discrimination. Recent reports indicate that “30 percent of nursing homes in the United States – 5,283 facilities – were cited for almost 9,000 instances of abuse over the recent two-year period, from January 1999 to January 2001” (ABC News). The report, which comes from the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee demonstrates some disparaging truths.

We often think that the people we hire to take care of our loved ones do have the best interests in mind, but the truth is that not all nursing homes are equal. Some of them truly do break the law and disregard the rights of patients. The problem is that we simply cannot be with our families every hour of the day, and when something goes wrong, we want to take legal action.

Before that happens, before you sign a contract, read all clauses and make sure you are comfortable with the rules and regulations as outlined by the institution. Also, if you suspect abuse, or if you have clear concerns, ask questions and make your demands heard.

No one wants to distance themselves from a relative, especially in time of need, and people typically don’t want to seek legal recourse. However, by reviewing contracts, making expectations clear, and maintaining communication with your loved ones, you can abate legal action while also being better prepared if you need to file suit.