Although 77% of Americans 50 and older want to age in place, almost 43% of those 65 and older will reside in a nursing home at some point in their life. Relatives of nursing home residents trust their loved ones to attendant care facilities hoping that they will receive proper care and be safe and happy.
Finding out that your elderly family member is experiencing physical or mental abuse at the hands of nursing home staff members can be disturbing and upsetting.
If you suspect any wrongdoing in a nursing home in Illinois, trust your instincts and report it to the Regional Ombudsman, Senior Helpline, Illinois Department of Health, Illinois State Police Medicaid Fraud Unit, or the Healthcare and Family Service for Supportive Living Facility Complaints.
Even if you only suspect abuse or neglect, our nursing home abuse lawyers at Nessler & Associates can help ensure your loved one gets the care they deserve. We will ensure that negligent parties are prosecuted and pay restitution if abuse occurs.
How Prevalent is Nursing Home Negligence?
The National Center for Victims of Care (NCVC) reports that 1 in 10 older adults residing in care communities fall victim to elder abuse. This translates to millions of nursing home abuse cases across the United States.
Coupled with the results of a World Health Organization survey from 2020, where 64.2% of nursing home employees admit to some degree of assisted living care neglect or abuse highlights the prevalence of the issue.
If you suspect someone you love is a victim of nursing home neglect, contact our law firm for a free, confidential consultation with one of our nursing home attorneys to discuss your loved one’s legal rights.
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45) establishes that residents have the right to the following:
- Remain free from abuse and neglect
- Right to mail, phones, and visitors
- Right to be free from restraints, unless requested by their doctor and documented in their medical records
- Right to manage their own financial affairs
- Right to refuse treatment
- Right to wear their own clothes and keep their personal belongings in their room
- Right to religious freedom
- Right to be cared for by their own doctor using their own insurance
- Right (or their guardians) to access their medical records
Types of Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing home negligence involves actions that fail to fulfill an elderly individual’s basic needs while in a care facility. Besides harmful actions, negligence can also arise from the intentional or unintentional failure to act in a way that helps the elderly person remain healthy.
Failing to provide adequate hydration, personal hygiene care, nutritious meals, and proper medical care can lead to a host of issues that can threaten a resident’s life. Some nursing home employees exert violence, hitting, and even sexually abusing vulnerable residents.
Some malicious nursing home staff members can place physical restraints on residents, resulting in bodily harm. Other nursing home staffers, especially in understaffed long-term care facilities, use chemical restraints to sedate residents of nursing homes.
Emotional abuse can be as harmful as physical abuse to a senior citizen. Verbal abuse and indifference by nursing staff is very taxing on elderly citizens. Failing to offer emotional support and creating a hostile environment can be cruel and damaging to the elderly.
People with dementia or Alzheimer’s can deteriorate further if not monitored for delirium, a serious mental disturbance that irreparably worsens a patient’s state. Failing to have an emotional connection with residents can prevent a timely diagnosis of potential cognitive decline.
Some nursing home employees can take advantage of their residents financially. They can steal the resident’s personal items or commit identity theft, resulting in financial exploitation.
Common Warning Signs of Neglect and Abuse
It is essential to recognize the potential signs of nursing home neglect and abuse so you can act quickly to help your loved one. Common signs of abuse include:
Unexplained injuries can stem from falls and violence against elderly residents. Falls can result from failing to provide the necessary assistance a senior citizen with mobility issues needs for walking.
They can also result from a malicious staff member shoving a resident or violently pulling on a frail resident. Fractures, head injuries, and bruises are signs of falls.
Nursing home residents with severe mobility problems cannot move around in their beds. Lying in the same position indefinitely can cause the skin to develop sores. If left unattended, bedsores can become infected, even threatening a nursing home patient’s life.
Stage 4 bedsores, also known as pressure or decubitus ulcers, form severe lesions when constant pressure is exerted on the patient’s skin. Pressure ulcers can affect large areas of a neglected elderly resident’s body, with the skin seeming like it is rotting away.
Dehydration and malnutrition
Excessive weight loss can result in malnutrition, while headaches, lightheadedness, dry mouth, and darker-than-normal urine may result in dehydration.
Substandard medical conditions
Medication errors signify that nursing home patients are receiving inadequate care that can compromise their health and well-being. An unexpected change in your relative’s health that is not justified solely by their underlying medical issues can point to neglect by the facility’s medical professionals.
A wrong dose of medication or inadequate medical equipment maintenance can affect your loved one’s quality of care. Unsanitary conditions that cause actual harm can leave care facilities accountable for failure to provide a safe environment.
Physical impairment and mental dementia can leave elderly patients vulnerable to nursing home staff members who are sexual predators. Signs of sexual assault include torn or stained undergarments, pain in the genital area, and STD symptoms.
Wandering, also known as elopement, is when a resident leaves the facility without giving notice. People living with Alzheimer’s are particularly prone to wandering, making it a considerable threat to their safety.
You may be able to pursue financial compensation if the nursing home fails to follow proper procedures and standards of care, leading to your loved ones wandering injury.
While assisted living patients may be frail and closer to the end of their lives, the unexpected death of an elderly loved one could be the effect of neglect or abuse. Closely examining the circumstances of a relative’s unexplained death with our law firm’s experienced nursing home abuse lawyers can help you determine if negligence is to blame.
Medical records and other evidence can shed light on a resident’s unexpected passing. If elder abuse is the reason for your loved one’s death, an experienced lawyer can help you hold the responsible parties accountable by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Contact a Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer
Contact Nessler & Associates to speak with our knowledgeable nursing home abuse attorneys. Our seasoned lawyers can help you pursue legal action within the statute of limitations of two years. Our nursing home lawyers are compassionate and effective advocates for nursing home victims and their distraught families.
We strongly believe falls, broken bones, bruises, wandering, medication errors, and wrongful death injuries deserve investigation. Our skilled lawyers will investigate your case and gather evidence to meet the burden of proof you need to recover the monetary damages for medical bills and any therapy necessary for your loved one’s rehabilitation.
We will ensure that we uncover any violations of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45) and federal regulations to maximize your compensation and get justice for your loved one.
We have recovered millions of dollars for nursing home abuse and neglect victims across central Illinois. We also have extensive experience with wrongful death claims and ensuring the nursing facility is held accountable if neglect is the cause of your relative’s passing, so your claim helps prevent future injury and neglect.
Call us today at (800) 727-8010 to request a confidential, free initial consultation. Our nursing home abuse attorneys can review the circumstances surrounding any injuries and other common signs of negligence and determine your next legal steps to protect the rights of your elderly loved one.