How to Contact the State for Nursing Home Abuse

by Genevieve Van Wyden

You have been picking up on disturbing signs that your elderly parent may be the target of abuse in his nursing home. You've observed unexplained injuries as well as unusual personality changes in him. When you've stopped by unannounced, you've picked up on unusual tension between your parent and one of his nurses. You've also caught this staff member acting in an overtly controlling manner and making belittling statements toward him.

Begin to document times when your elderly parent has been abused. Include dates and times of abuse, type of abuse, whether your parent was injured and, if you have this information, the name of the person who abused him. Reassure your parent that you will protect him from any feared retaliation.

Quietly round up names and contact information of persons who have witnessed the abuse incidents. Speak to these persons privately about the abuse your parent is experiencing and obtain their commitment to help you stop the abuse and bring your parent's abuser to justice.

Call (800) 677-1116, the number for Eldercare Locator, where you can report your findings and get a state or local reporting number. Remember that some people are "mandated reporters" in your state, meaning they are required to contact Adult Protective Services in your state to file a report of abuse or neglect of your parent. This process will initiate an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the abuse of your parent.

Visit the nursing home administrator and tell him of your documented findings. Demand that he remove his abusive staff member from caring for elderly residents, particularly your parent. Follow up in person and by phone, several times a week to ensure steps have been taken to protect your parent and ensure your parent's abuser has no more contact with him.

Items you will need
  • Documentation of incidents of abuse
  • Witness(es) to abuse


  • Elder abuse can take many forms: financial exploitation, physical abuse, emotional abuse or sexual abuse.
  • Look for personality changes in your parent.
  • Be alert for signs of tension between your parent and a potentially abusive caregiver.


  • Be prepared to report allegations of abuse to local law enforcement should your parent's abuser begin to make threats against him or you.

About the Author

I have always loved to write (developing an idea, research, putting the people, situations and setting onto the paper or keyboard). While I chose social work as my first career, I have always maintained the dream in my soul of writing "someday". My social work career ended, and after some years bouncing around in different fields, I decided to follow my old dream and returned to school. I earned my Journalism degree in December, 2006. I am currently in the process of outlining my first book and eagerly grabbing every chance I can to practice my craft. One of those opportunities is to submit a short story -- I am modifying the beginning of my book into a suitable short story, and I hope to submit (and see it in print) before very long.{{}}