You have knowledge that upsets you to your core and keeps you up at night. You have reason to believe that someone in an Iowa nursing home is being abused. Whether that person is your loved one or a stranger, you need to do whatever you can to protect him before the abuse results in a serious injury or in his death.
You Need to Report the Suspected Abuse
How you report the suspected abuse will depend on how much immediate danger you believe is present and how you think the nursing home administration will respond to your concerns. You could, for example:
- Call 911. If you believe that there is an imminent danger to any nursing home resident, then you should call 911 so that emergency personnel can come to the nursing home immediately.
- Talk to the nursing home administrators. While nursing home administrators should know what is going on in their facility, there are times when they don’t know exactly what is going on. If you think that talking to the nursing home administrators will end the abuse and result in safety for the patients, then you should do so. You should make sure, however, that you document your communication efforts.
- Contact the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Your local long-term care ombudsman can investigate your concerns, resolve complaints, and advocate for residents’ safety.
- Contact the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA). This agency can conduct on-site visits to the nursing home and determine whether the facility is in compliance with state and federal safety regulations.
Many nursing home residents cannot speak up for themselves. They may have medical conditions that prevent them from advocating for themselves, or they may be too afraid of the potential consequences. Thus, if you suspect that a resident is being abused in an Iowa nursing home, we encourage you to take at least one of the steps described above and to do what you can to help that nursing home resident, and possibly others, live with dignity and without fear.