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What to do when a loved one dies in a nursing home

Placing a loved one in an assisted care facility can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Perhaps your family is unable to provide the level of care required, or maybe you have an aging parent who could benefit from the socialization offered by a senior living environment. No matter what lead to the decision, you have entrusted the wellbeing of your loved one to the professionals at the facility.

You would be appalled to learn that the staff you trusted has mistreated your parent. Unfortunately, however, this is more common than you may suspect. Many deaths that occur in nursing homes may have been preventable. You should know the following if your loved one has passed away in a facility: 

Determine cause

Your loved one's cause of death will be determined by a medical examiner based on physical evidence as well as information reported by staff. The latter, however, can be unreliable—which means it is important to further investigate whether the cause of death is indicated. Gather whatever information you can from your loved one's records and medical files to ensure the version of events you are told is true.

Consider context

There are countless cases every year of elder abuse in nursing home facilities, and some are more egregious than others. ABC News details one of the worst, in which staff caused and attempted to conceal the death of a resident. If you suspect that your loved one's death may have been caused by staff, consider the context of the event and whether the official narrative matches up.

Seek recourse

When dealing with an issue as serious as elder abuse, you cannot afford to let the problem go unreported. There are several options for seeking justice, but notifying law enforcement of this criminal activity is imperative. Consulting with an attorney to determine your legal rights and learn more about legal recourse can also be helpful in attaining recourse after a loved one's wrongful death.

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