My brother is a nursing assistant in a Louisville nursing home. When I went there to take him to lunch the other day, I saw him helping an elderly patient from a wheelchair into the bed. He was being rather rough, and the woman seemed afraid of him. It makes me sick to think this, but I believe he might be abusing her. What should I do?

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You are, without a doubt, in a difficult situation. Here is what I would do:

  1. Talk to your brother about your concerns. Pay close attention to his reaction. Is he surprised? Does he get angry? Perhaps, even if he has been handling the patient roughly, just your bringing it to his attention will cause him to be more careful of the way he treats her.
  2. Tactfully, ask other staff members about how the residents like your brother. Ask them if he seems to particularly like or dislike any of the residents.
  3. If you are still suspicious, talk to your brother again. Suggest that he speak with his supervisor for some suggestions on handling stress or that he see a counselor to get some help with anger management. Point out to him that if his behavior has come to your attention, it’s only a matter of time before someone else notices it, and he may end up getting fired or brought up on charges.
  4. Remind your brother that eventually, he will probably be in a vulnerable physical state, just like his patient is now.

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