With over 300 nursing homes and 4,000 assisted
living facilities in the state of Wisconsin, there are plenty of facilities to
choose from for your loved one.
Unfortunately, there were also more than 7,300 reports of neglect, abuse, and financial exploitation in the state in 2017.
Because of COVID-19 health and safety
restrictions, nursing home neglect can be even more difficult to detect than
usual. However, it is still possible and can still be addressed.
If you suspect your loved one has suffered from neglect in a Wisconsin nursing home, call Boller & Vaughan at 608-268-0268 or fill out a form online to set up a free consultation with an attorney.
Neglect is defined by the U.S. federal government as “failure to provide goods and services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness.”
Abuse is defined as “the willful infliction of
injury, unreasonable confinements, intimidation, or punishment with resulting
physical harm, pain, or mental anguish.” Nursing home residents have the right
to receive proper care, free of abuse and neglect.
With that definition of neglect in mind, what
are some signs that your loved one may be experiencing it in their nursing home
or long-term care facility?
Look to your loved one first to observe any
changes. Remember that these are possible signs of bad care, not solid
evidence. Some signs, like weight loss or odd bruises, may be due to an illness
At the time of writing, Wisconsin currently allows visitors to nursing homes and eldercare facilities that have reopened in the wake of COVID-19.
Outdoor visits are allowed if guidelines are
followed (such as mask-wearing and physical distancing), while indoor visits
are limited to compassionate care situations.
This is a win for elders who may have been
feeling isolated and lonely while stay-at-home orders were in effect earlier
this year. However, the limitations can make it more difficult to detect signs
Since you cannot go inside the facility except
in specific situations, you may not know if cleanliness and safety has
declined, if the residents seem happy, or if there are enough staff members
What can you do to check in on loved ones
while visits are still limited? Ask them how they’re being treated and how
they’re feeling during your visits. Observe what you can when you visit the
facility. Make note of anything you see or anything your loved one mentions
that seems alarming.
You might also call the facility and ask to
speak to someone in charge. You can find out what COVID-19 changes the facility
has put in place in the news or on their website, yes, but you can also learn a
lot from what a staff member tells you over the phone.
Have questions ready for your call, such as:
Observe any background noise during your call,
as well as how the staff member sounds and what answers they give you. If you
want further assurance, ask to speak to someone else in management or
What if you suspect your loved one is being
neglected? What can you do if you’re unable to go inside the facility to gather
evidence or speak to someone in person about it?
First, talk to your loved one about it
privately. You might talk to them during an outdoor visit or on the phone. Stay
calm and be patient; they may find it difficult to talk about if they are
suffering from neglect.
Consult other family members who have visited
the facility. You might find that a warning sign has a simple and harmless
explanation behind it.
Or you might find that they’ve noticed other
warning signs you’ve missed. After you speak to facility staff or management,
take detailed notes of your suspicions. Take photos of what you can, even if
you can’t go inside the facility.
If you believe your loved one is in danger and
needs to be removed, call the police so they can intervene.
Call the elder adult protection agency in your state to report abuse. The Wisconsin Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program takes anonymous reports. You can also call the county’s Elder Adults At-Risk Help Line.
To protect your loved one from further neglect
and/or abuse, contact an experienced and trusted attorney. A lawyer can help
you gather evidence and file a claim to seek the compensation your loved one
deserves for their pain and suffering.
If you suspect nursing home neglect at a facility in Wisconsin, Boller & Vaughan can help. Call our Madison office at 608-268-0268 for a free consultation, or fill out an online contact form. For more news resources on elder abuse in Wisconsin, like and follow the Boller & Vaughan Facebook page.
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We live in Friendship, Wisconsin, and Boller & Vaughan came to our doorstep to discuss our mother’s wrongful death claim on a Saturday morning. Not only were we pleased with the large recovery, we were so thankful to have lawyers who were willing to explain to us every twist and turn along the way. It is great to know there is a law firm that will fight for the rights of elderly people all over Wisconsin.
Mr. Boller and Ms. Vaughan were incredible in working on my case and my daughter’s case. I was out of work and in the hospital with a new baby. Mr. Boller and Ms. Vaughan protected our rights and it was a pleasure to work with them. I hope never to be in another motor vehicle accident, however, if I am and I am injured, I will contact Boller & Vaughan immediately.
I was referred to Michelle through a friend. I have never had a better experience. It took a little over a year to get my settlement but the staff there stayed in constant contact and kept me in the loop. Oh, and Michelle actually got me MORE money than we discussed. I will refer anyone to this firm. Words cannot do justice the thanks that I have for Michelle and her staff (Mary especially) thank you guys so much!
After my husband died as a result of a motor vehicle accident, Boller & Vaughan spent countless hours talking with me, meeting with me in person, and making sure that I was okay. The drunk driver who hit us did not have any insurance, and we had to make a claim through our own insurance. Boller & Vaughan was fantastic at explaining the law to me and the handling of our claims.
After my son was injured in a daycare setting, Ms. Vaughan took the time to thoroughly investigate our case and my son’s injuries. Michele was approachable and had answers to our questions. Talking with her helped to relieve many of our anxieties.