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How Being a Legal Guardian Can Protect an Elder’s Finances and Care

Elder neglect and abuse are more common than many of us care to admit. However, it isn’t always a family member who perpetrates abuse on elders unable to speak for themselves, but sometimes it is the very institution they’ve been placed in to see to their care. Sometimes it is a matter of being charged for services or amenities not being provided and other times it is a matter of abuse or neglect. In either case, being neglected or overcharged can have huge implications on the years they have remaining, so perhaps it is time to have someone named guardian to oversee their care.

Most Common Types of Abuse and Neglect

According to information provided by Romanucci & Blandin Law, the most common types of abuse and neglect in nursing homes are the result of being left for extended periods of time without the services of aides or nurses. Sometimes they are left in bed or sitting up uncomfortably in a chair for hours on end. They are ignored to the point when they have an ‘accident’ and there have been times when staff was so enraged by their own lack of responsibility that they yell, hit or shove the patient who couldn’t hold a bowel or bladder movement.

There are cases on file where security cameras actually showed the nursing staff roughly handling patients because they made ‘more work for them.’ Some of these videos have hit television networks and others made the rounds of social media. Consequently, when it’s caught on camera there is no denying that they’ve acted in a way that constitutes abuse stemming from neglect.

What Being a Legal Guardian Entails

If you’ve consulted with a law firm in an effort to protect your loved one in a nursing home, for example, you will probably be advised to file for guardianship. There are several requirements that must be met and those can also be thoroughly explained by your lawyer who can also represent you in your petition for guardianship. Sadly, even your loved one’s doctors can’t discuss their treatment or any other medical issue with you unless you have been named guardian.

Being named a legal guardian gives you the right and responsibility to act in your loved one’s best interest. You could file a claim against the nursing home on their behalf, speak with doctors and lawyers and make decisions as to their care. You may need to have that loved one declared incompetent, but if it means saving their life, then it’s well worth the time and effort going before a judge.

The Most Common Excuse

The most common excuse for neglect is that the facility was extremely short staffed. That is no excuse. Some nurses and doctors have historically alerted the health officials in their district to seek help alleviating this shortage. Sometimes the edict passed down reduced the occupancy rates to better correspond to the number of staff employed there.

At some point you may wish to move your parent or grandparent to a different nursing home that has great reviews. That law suit you filed against the current facility can give you the much-needed funds to move that patient to a better-quality nursing home. Since many of these abused and neglected patients have also been swindled out of money that they so painstakingly saved all their lives, demanding just compensation is in order.

This is not something you ever looked forward to doing, but it may be up to you as the sole survivor who is able to give voice to the voiceless. Many of our elders cannot speak for themselves, their needs and desires. If this falls squarely on your shoulders, help is out there. Every community has caregivers’ groups you could join to find the encouragement you need to move forward. Just as you wouldn’t leave your loved one alone in this life, so too are their groups of others like you who are committed to providing strength to other guardians like themselves.

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