Life circumstances force many families to consider an assisted living facility for their elderly loved ones’ care. As the American population ages, more people will have to entrust their senior members to a nursing home setting.
If an elderly adult in your family has fallen victim to the dangerous conditions of a negligent nursing home environment, the personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Nessler & Associates can help you hold the responsible parties accountable. Contact our nursing home lawyers to document all emotional and physical injuries and pursue your legal rights under state and federal regulations.
What is the Definition of Nursing Home Negligence in Illinois?
Nursing home negligence occurs when a nursing home or its staff fails to provide adequate care to residents, resulting in physical or emotional harm. There are many ways in which nursing home negligence can occur.
According to the Illinois Department of Health, nursing homes must meet specific standards of care to protect residents’ health and safety. When these standards are not met, nursing home negligence may occur.
Types of Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse
From indifference and verbal abuse to emotional agitation and substandard medical care, there is a wide range of harm that negligent parties can inflict on assisted living facility residents.
Mental Harm and Emotional Abuse
Nursing home psychological abuse is a serious problem that can have devastating effects on the lives of residents. Although mental abuse can take many forms, it generally refers to any behavior that causes psychological harm, such as threats, humiliation, and coercion.
Unfortunately, nursing home emotional abuse is all too common, with two in three staff members admitting to having committed an act of abuse in the past year. Victims of emotional abuse often suffer from anxiety, depression, and insomnia and may also become withdrawn and isolated. In extreme cases, they may even attempt or succeed in harming themselves.
If you suspect a loved one is being emotionally abused in a nursing home, it is essential to take action immediately. You should contact the facility’s administrator if they have your trust and express your concerns.
If the situation is not resolved, you may need to file a complaint with the state licensing board or contact law enforcement. A nursing home abuse attorney can help you pursue appropriate legal action. Emotional abuse is a serious matter, and your loved one should not have to suffer in silence.
While most cases of abuse involve neglect or emotional mistreatment, physical abuse is also a serious concern. Physical abuse can range from pushing and shoving to hitting, slapping, and even sexual assault. In many cases, the abuser is a caregiver or staff member with authority over the victim.
However, other visitors can also be responsible for physical abuse in nursing homes. Broken bones and hip fractures can result from a malicious nursing home staff member bullying an elderly patient and shoving or pulling them violently.
If you suspect a loved one is being physically abused in a nursing home, it is essential to take action immediately. Contact law enforcement authorities if you believe they are in imminent danger, and ensure your loved one gets the help and legal protection they need.
Nursing home sexual abuse is a serious and underreported problem. According to the WHO study, as many as 1.9% of nursing home residents reported being victims of sexual abuse, but the percentage is believed to be higher. This underreporting problem is often compounded by the fact that many victims of nursing home sexual abuse are elderly or have dementia, making it difficult for them to report the abuse or even understand what is happening.
In addition, nursing home staff may be reluctant to believe or report allegations of sexual abuse, fearing that they will lose their job or be sued. If you suspect a loved one has been the victim of nursing home sexual abuse, it is essential to contact a qualified attorney who can help investigate the allegations and ensure that your loved one receives the justice and compensation they deserve.
Nursing home neglect can lead to several problems that can potentially be dangerous for residents with underlying conditions. For example, negligence can cause dehydration, malnutrition, injuries, and infections. In severe cases, neglect can even lead to death.
If you suspect your loved one is being neglected, it is essential to take action. First, try to talk to the nursing home staff about your concerns. If they are unresponsive or unwilling to address the issue, you may need to contact an attorney or file a complaint with the state licensing board. Only by taking action can you keep your loved one safe and recover the compensation necessary to provide them with a better life.
Unfortunately, many elderly residents cannot protect themselves from financial abuse. They may be cognitively impaired, physically frail, or simply not have the financial resources to combat it. As a result, they can be easy targets for financial exploitation by people that work at the nursing home facility.
A long-term care facility resident may need medical treatment for various underlying conditions. Unfortunately, doctors and negligent nursing staff can make medication errors, giving patients the wrong medication or incorrect doses. They can also fail to diagnose new illnesses and offer the appropriate treatments, putting the residents’ lives at risk.
What Are Some Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Recognizing the warning signs of negligent and abusive behavior can help friends and family of residents get the patient out of harm’s way as quickly as possible. It can also help your nursing home abuse lawyers pursue maximum compensation for injuries and damages the resident has suffered at the hands of negligent doctors, nursing staff, and other caretakers.
Also known as pressure ulcers or pressure sores, bed sores form when a person is confined to a bed or wheelchair for an extended period. Without proper care, the constant pressure can cause the skin to break down, eventually leading to an open wound. Bed sores are widespread among elderly patients, who may be unable to move independently or have other health conditions that make them more vulnerable.
While bed sores can be treated, they can also be extremely painful and difficult to heal. In some cases, they may even lead to serious infections or death. As a result, nursing homes need to take steps to prevent bed sores from developing in the first place. This includes regular repositioning of patients and carefully monitoring those at risk. When bed sores occur, prompt treatment is essential to prevent further damage.
Patients in nursing homes often experience neglect, active aggression, and physical harm. Signs of neglect can include malnutrition, unexplained weight loss, and poor personal hygiene when the nursing staff doesn’t assist residents with limited mobility.
Another cruel form of neglect is applying physical restraint to patients and leaving them isolated in a room. Bruises on wrists, arms, and ankles can be signs of physical restraint; an abusive treatment where malicious staff members tie a resident in place so they can ignore the helpless elderly victim.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
It is crucial for family members and friends of nursing home residents to be aware of the signs of sexual abuse, which can include:
- Injuries in the genital area
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Blood on undergarments
- Sexually transmitted diseases
Signs of Financial Abuse
There are a few red flags that can indicate financial abuse is taking place in a nursing home. For example, if there are sudden changes in a resident’s bank account or credit card activity, this may be a sign that someone is accessing their funds without permission. Additionally, if a resident suddenly has new friends always asking for money or gifts, this could be another sign of financial abuse. If you see any of these red flags, you must speak up and get help.
Compensation for Nursing Home Negligence
In Illinois, nursing home residents and their families are protected by several laws designed to ensure that residents receive quality care. These laws complement existing federal statutes and provide a way for residents and families to seek compensation if they believe negligence has occurred.
On the federal level, the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act provides a framework that ensures assisted living facility residents receive the quality of care they need. On the state level, the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides your nursing home injury lawyer with the legal tools to pursue justice on your behalf.
If you believe that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home negligence, you may be able to file a claim against the facility. In some cases, you may also be able to seek compensation from the state if the facility is found to have violated state regulations. An experienced attorney can tell you how much your case is potentially worth and what damages you can claim, including:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
You may also claim compensatory and punitive damages if you prove that the negligent party acted willfully and egregiously.
Contact an Illinois Nursing Home Negligence Attorney
Contacting an experienced nursing home neglect attorney can help you put a stop to elder abuse and help you pursue a lawsuit for financial compensation against the responsible parties. When you contact the law firm of Nessler & Associates, we will discuss the details of your nursing home negligence case with you. Our nursing home attorneys will help gather the patient’s medical records and other evidence to support your claim.
If you’re concerned about hiring a personal injury attorney due to legal fees, we work with elder abuse victims on a contingency fee basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless you recover compensation for your injuries.
Call us today at (800) 727-8010 for a free consultation and determine what legal action you can take against a negligent nursing home facility.