What To Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

nursing home abuse

Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect

Many older Americans spend at least some of their retirement years in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Unfortunately, seniors can sometimes be the victims of nursing home abuse and neglect. As we age, we may not be able to stand up for ourselves or communicate as well as we used to, and abuse could occur without the family knowing. That is why it is so important, as a relative, to watch closely for potential signs of abuse when visiting your loved one.

Below, learn about the steps to take if you believe your loved one is suffering nursing home abuse. Then our nursing home abuse lawyers in Illinois at The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens can answer your questions and potentially represent you in filing a claim or lawsuit.

Evaluate The Situation

Before you report the possible nursing home abuse, think about why you want to do so. Some of the questions you should ask yourself before moving forward are:

  • Did you see your loved one abused or neglected in a nursing home?
  • Have you noticed signs of neglect and abuse, including unusual cuts and bruises?
  • Did your loved one complain to you about how they are being treated?
  • Do you know which resident or staff member abused your loved one?
  • When did the alleged abuse occur?

The more you understand why you think there has been abuse, the better you can discuss the matter with the appropriate people and agencies.

File A Complaint With the Illinois LTC Ombudsman

After you fully understand why you think there has been nursing home abuse or neglect, the next step is to file a complaint with the state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. The Illinois Department on Aging administers the program, and you can find your local ombudsperson by visiting the Department’s website.

File A Complaint With the Illinois Department Of Public Health (IDPH)

Next, you should file a complaint with IDPH. Before you file the complaint, obtain a copy of the complaint form on their website. You can send the form by mail or fax. Some of the questions that you will need to answer on the IDPH complaint form are:

  • What is the name of the nursing home resident who was abused or neglected?
  • What happened in the alleged nursing home abuse or neglect incident?
  • When did the alleged abuse happen?
  • Where is the nursing home or assisted living facility located?
  • How was your loved one harmed or possibly harmed?

Understand that the IDPH is legally required to look into your complaint, and the investigation must be finished within seven days of the submission. Any other investigation has to be completed within one month.

Speak To Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers In Illinois Now

Following the steps in this article is a good start to dealing with a potential nursing home abuse incident. However, you should also contact an attorney to ensure your loved one’s rights are respected. Our nursing home abuse lawyers in Illinois are determined to stand up for the rights of seniors in the state who suffer nursing home abuse. Contact the The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens today at (847) 395-2200 for a consultation.

Understanding Elder Abuse as Part of Nursing Home Negligence

Personal Injury AttorneyAccording to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 6 people aged 60 or older experienced nursing home negligence, or abuse at a community setting across the globe. In 2017, 2 out of 3 staff members in many of the nursing home, long-term rehabilitation or care centers admitted committing some form of abuse, which lead to both serious injuries and traumatic consequences for their patients. Considering our population of elders can reach 2 billion by 2050, it is important to understand what elder abuse is and how we can protect our loved ones in nursing homes and care facilities.

According to the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, all residents in a nursing care facility should be made aware of their rights and all staff should adhere to policies their administrators provide to ensure no violations happen. If a guardian or spouse observes neglect or abuse, they should immediate seek an explanation and seek compensation for damages or possible death. Contacting a competent personal injury attorney can help navigate the complex process and file applicable lawsuits against the nursing home facility.

Some possible types of elder abuse that need careful observation include:

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse includes forcing elders to sign contracts, wills, using their financial information, and processing unlawful payments without their consent. Because many elders may find it difficult to read, write, or see properly, their information can be used to process someone else’s security benefits. Any abrupt change in financial assets or will, unexpected use of credit cards, increase in unpaid bills or unexpected transfer of funds should be investigated.

General Neglect

Neglect is the failure to fulfill the needs of an individual, or intentionally refusing to provide services. It also can include refusal to provide medication, water, food, clothing, comfort and safety on time or when asked. Irregular dehydration, lack of hygiene, malnutrition and unclean living conditions are other signs of neglect. At times, staff assigned to an elder can also abandon or desert their duties or refuse to perform them.

Abuse

Elders may also be subject to physical abuse, sexual abuse and psychological abuse. Elders might face verbal abuse, insults, forced labor, harassment and humiliation from staff. A nursing home can also refuse to provide elders with mental health services when asked, leading to trauma, stress, anxiety and refusal to communicate.

Personal Injury Attorney

If you wish to find out elder abuse at nursing homes and unusual injuries in Illinois, schedule a free consultation, contact the offices of Robert Edens at (847) 395-2200 to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

How is Neglect Different from Other Types of Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse is an issue in an alarming number of nursing home facilities throughout the country. Nursing home abuse comes in many varieties, such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial exploitation, and sexual abuse. Abuse can occur for many reasons and when an individual suffers from nursing home abuse, he or she can suffer from serious physical, emotional, or financial distress.

Not all abuse is committed out of malice, though. Unlike the types of abuse listed above, which occur when a caregiver has a specific need to fill such as a desire for control over a resident or a financial hardship that he or she attempts to overcome by stealing, nursing home residents can also suffer from neglect. Neglect is the absence of the care that an individual needs. It can be the staff’s failure to give a resident the medication he or she needs on a daily basis, the failure to give the resident nutritious food or enough water, the failure to clean him or her and the room regularly, or the failure to simply lift the individual out of bed and give him or her the opportunity to move around. All forms of neglect can cause an individual to suffer physically and mentally.

Symptoms of Nursing Home Neglect

  • Bed sores, also known as pressure sores. These injuries under the skin occur when an individual does not move from one position for a prolonged period of time;
  • Dirty conditions in the resident’s room
  • Dehydration;
  • Dirty hair or skin on the resident;
  • Weight loss;
  • A worsened medical condition;
  • Changes in the individual’s demeanor; and
  • Physical injuries, which can indicate a lack of care after an accident such as a fall.

Why Does Neglect Occur in Nursing Homes?

Neglect can often occur because nursing home staff is overburdened. Providing 24/7 care to the residents of a nursing home is stressful and many facilities try to save money by limiting their staff size. Although staff burnout is no excuse for neglect, it is a common reason why it happens. If you suspect your loved one is being neglected in his or her nursing home, speak with the staff there about your concern. Simply by being a consistent presence in your loved one’s life, you can help to keep him or her safe from neglect. Always follow up with his or her doctor after he or she receives a medical procedure and do not be afraid to speak up about changes you observe in your loved one.

The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C.

Work with an Experienced Grayslake Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

Although we trust that our loved ones will be well cared-for in their nursing homes, the truth is, abuse and neglect do happen in these facilities. If your loved one suffers physically or emotionally from neglect at the hands of his or her caretakers, be an advocate for him or her and work with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer to file a claim. To get started with our firm, contact The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. today.