Elder Abuse Faqs: How Common Is Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect
The neglect and outright abuse of elders in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities is a growing epidemic that has heartbreaking impacts on elderly people and their families.
Its estimated that as many as 2.1 million older Americans suffer nursing home abuse each year, according to the National Institute of Justice. Many more cases likely go unreported because elder abuse and neglect isnt always apparent.
Illinois State Laws Designed To Protect Patients From Nursing Home Abuse
Several state laws govern the care that a nursing home resident receive in these facilities:
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act outlines certain rights granted to nursing home residents, which include the right to manage one’s financial affairs, to use one’s personal property, to be offered respect and privacy, to be free of physical and chemical restraints, and to be protected from unlawful discrimination.
The Adult Protective Services Act defines “neglect” as a caregiver’s failure to provide an elderly person with the necessities of life, including food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and more.
Employee suspecting that a resident is the victim of abuse, neglect, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, psychological harm, financial exploitation, sexual abuse, or self-neglect must report the abuse to the Department of Public Health.
The Illinois Act on the Aging outlines the services provided to older adults in nursing facilities. They must receive assistance with bathing, grooming, toileting, nail care, respiratory services, exercise, and positioning.
They must receive at least three meals a day, routine housekeeping services, personal laundry and linen services, assistance with daily living activities, medication management, and money management. A nursing facility must also provide 24-hour security for its elderly residents.
Situations Involving Abusive Care
The term ‘abuse or neglect’ associated with nursing home care has become somewhat overused in recent history.
The reality is that when most people refer to nursing home abuse or neglect, they are referring to a situation where their loved one was injured during an admission to a care facility.
Below are some common cases we prosecute on behalf of families after a loved one has suffered an injury at an Illinois nursing home:
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How To Spot Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect
There is nothing worse than finding out that a loved one has not been properly cared for. However, its not always easy to notice that someone in your family is in danger. Most nursing home cases are not obvious to the persons loved ones. Keep in mind that every case is different, and we need to be vigilant if a close relative or friend is staying in a nursing home or long care health facility. There are many reasons why we might at first miss signs of abuse. Some people are too proud to ask for help, and they will not speak up since they do not want to cause a burden for their children or family. In other situations, its common for nursing home residents do not know they are the victims of careless or malicious acts.
Its important to watch for signs of nursing home abuse if you have a loved one in a long term care facility. While they can be sometimes difficult to notice, some signs that your loved one is not receiving the care they deserve include:
- Unexplained injuries such as broken bones or bruises
- Damaged items such as eyeglasses
- An unwillingness of the caregiver to leave you alone with the person receiving care
- Sudden and unusual changes in behavior
- Unsafe living conditions such as lack of heat or running water
- Being improperly dressed for the weather
- Missing cash or valuables without an explanation
- Lack of medical care even if the person in need has the money to afford it
- Improper or inconsistent doses of prescription medication
Kane County Advocates For Victims Of Nursing Home Accidents Neglect And Abuse
Families struggle every day with the need to place elderly and vulnerable loved ones into the care of nursing homes. These for-profit institutions have a legal duty to provide the supervision, attention and care that family members can no longer provide. That duty and trust are betrayed when loved ones are injured or killed by negligent staff or indifferent corporations. If your family has been a casualty of nursing home negligence, you need an experienced lawyer to fight for you.
At Kinnally Flaherty Krentz Loran Hodge & Masur, P.C., standing up for the weakest in our society is a special responsibility that we take very seriously. For decades, our lawyers have been helping the victims of nursing home negligence throughout Chicagoland. We understand the care that nursing homes are supposed to provide and the human consequences when they fail to provide it. Injuries to seniors have a disproportionately severe impact. They have less to lose to begin with such that any loss or diminution is more consequential. Understanding this vulnerability is essential to appreciating the full impact of an injury. and therefore ensuring that fair and just compensation is received. Our job is to protect your loved one through the legal system when caregivers fail to protect them in the nursing home.
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Nursing Home Abuse Does Happen
Sadly, even with the governmental agency regulations, more than one million instances of nursing home abuse occur every year. These instances can include either active abuse or negligence. It doesnt matter if the abuse or negligence takes place over a period of time or it is a one-time incident the victim of the abuse may be entitled to compensation. If the nursing home staff is found guilty, they may lose their certification, which means losing federal funding, all because of a failure to provide the level of care expected.
How Do Nursing Home Faculty Members Take Advantage Of The Elderly
Elder citizens that are living in nursing home facilities are often in a state where they are fragile, physically and/or mentally. Additionally, these citizens are dependent on the help of nursing home staff members for eating, getting out of bed, getting dressed, receiving health care, and many other needs. This power dynamic makes elderly residents vulnerable and sometimes at the mercy of nursing home staff members. In unfortunate instances, staff members will use the fragility and vulnerability to take advantage of residents physically, emotionally, sexually, or financially. If you have experienced an instance of abuse or are suspicious of foul play in your elderly loved ones nursing home facility, you need to take action as soon as possible.
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What Are Common Types Of Nursing Home Abuse Claims
The following are some examples of nursing home abuse or neglect claims:
Bed Sores and Decubitus Ulcers
Bed sores are injuries caused by prolonged pressure on the body that appear either on the surface of the skin or the underlying tissue. Bed sores, like their name implies, occur when a person spends too much time laying down in one position. In a nursing home, this could only happen because of negligence since its the staffs responsibility to shift, move, and exercise an elderly personespecially someone that is bedridden.
Dehydration or Malnutrition
Dehydration and malnutrition is especially dangerous for the elderly. It can lead to unintentional weight loss, reduced physical and cognitive function. In serious situations, malnutrition and dehydration can lead to death. Elderly residents not properly cared for may suffer from malnutrition and dehydration when staff members fail to assist them or monitor them at mealtimes or throughout the day.
Physical and Sexual Abuse
Physical and sexual abuse is one of the most heinous acts a person can do to an elderly person in their care. In recent years, Chicago area nursing homes have seen an alarming increase in abuse reports.
Bed Rail Injuries
Infection Due to Staff Neglect
Assault by Resident or Staff
Illinois Nursing Home Laws
The general public first became aware of nursing home patient abuse in the 1970s, but it wasnt until 1987 that the Nursing Home Reform Act was passed. It began with the United States Congress requesting that the Institute of Medicine conduct a study of nursing homes that accepted Medicare and Medicaid.
The study showed that there was an enormous amount of abuse in nursing homes in the country. The reforms were part of a larger act called, The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, which requires nurses aides to undergo 75 hours of training and pass competency evaluations. The act also required a registry for nurses aides.
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Work With Our Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Attorney To Put A Stop To Abuse Today
The National Center for Elder Abuse estimates that about 84 percent of abusive situations involving older adults go unreported or unrecognized. For this reason, nursing home abuse has been called the hidden crime.
The Elder Abuse and Neglect Program of the Illinois Department on Aging says there were 10,949 cases of elder abuse reported in the state in 2011, marking an increase of 10.9 percent from the previous year. Since 2002, the Elder Abuse and Neglect Program has seen a 47 percent rise in reports.
Thirty-nine percent of elder abuse or neglect victims in Illinois in 2011 were functionally impaired. This means they had difficulty performing daily tasks such as walking, personal care, meal preparation, laundry and housecleaning.
Because of their impairment, the fact that they live with and are afraid of their abusers, or because their mistreatment is concealed by the abusers, elderly adults most often need others to report the abuse they are suffering, the IDoA says.
The types of elder abuse most often reported in Illinois in 2011 were:
- Financial exploitation
S To Take If Your Loved One Is Suffering From Abuse
It can be overwhelming and frightening to realize that your family member may be suffering from abuse at the hands of those meant to provide care. However, its important to act without delay in protecting the rights of the person in need. In many cases, it can be difficult to determine what is nursing home neglect or abuse. For example, what can make some of us uncomfortable might be described by nursing facility staff as necessary to care for someone in a difficult situation. Many nurses and caregivers will have to restrain elderly or sick residents to protect themselves and others from harm. Furthermore, nursing and medical staff may argue that your loved ones condition is a result of complications regarding their health and not a result of abuse or neglect.
There are things that you can do to protect your loved one if you believe that they are not receiving the care they need. Incidents and shortcomings at assisted care facilities are always different, but some steps include:
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Contact Our Experienced Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect Attorneys In Chicago At Mancini Law Group Pc Today To Schedule A Free Consultation
If you feel like something is amiss, listen to your gut and contact our experienced nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers in Chicago today at or online to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your concerns and to understand your legal rights and options to hold the negligent person, staff members, administrative officials, or another third party liable for the harm they have caused your loved one.
We will fully outline your case and provide the skilled legal representation you need to pursue the financial recovery your loved one deserves while ensuring the negligent or abusive behavior does not harm another Illinois family going forward.
Staver Accident Injury Lawyers Pc Can Help
Unfortunately, there have been numerous cases of abuse at nursing homes throughout Illinois. This includes physical as well as mental and financial abuse. These violations of trust and professionalism will be devastating for your family and elderly loved one. Your loved one needs immediate help, but the nursing home may be very unwilling to cooperate after an accusation of abuse. A nursing home neglect lawsuit requires extensive knowledge of how these facilities are regulated and meant to operate. At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., our nursing home abuse attorneys understand how complex these cases can be, and whats involved with determining liability and recovering compensation.
Do not delay in calling an attorney if you believe nursing home abuse or neglect is occurring. We have decades of experience helping victims of abuse, and an excellent track record of getting justice for our clients.
Contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. to speak with a skilled and compassionate attorney if your loved one may have suffered from abuse or neglect at a care facility. Call us today at or complete our online form. We offer free, no-risk consultations, do not charge up-front fees, and we are only paid if you recover compensation.
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How Do I Choose A Lawyer
Consider the following:
- Comfort Level
- – Are you comfortable telling the lawyer personal information? Does the lawyer seem interested in solving your problem?
- – How long has the lawyer been in practice? Has the lawyer worked on other cases similar to yours?
- – How are the lawyer’s fees structured – hourly or flat fee? Can the lawyer estimate the cost of your case?
What Are The Most Common Signs Of Nursing Home Abuse In Chicago Illinois
Our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers believe in providing our Illinois residents with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their family’s futures.
The reality is, if you have entrusted a nursing home with your loved one’s care, the sooner you can identify any signs of nursing home abuse, the quicker you can get your family member help, and pursue the individual, staff, or facility for their wrongdoing, so no one else suffers from their abusive behavior.
Some of the most common signsof nursing home abuse, neglect, or mistreatment in Chicago may include, but is not limited to:
- Soiled bedding
- Irritation or acts of violence
- Unkempt appearance, including dirty clothes or unwashed hair
- Unexplained weight loss, malnutrition, or dehydration
- No longer participates in activities that were once enjoyable
- Unexplained bruises, burns, or scars
- Broken personal property, including glasses or other everyday items they count on
- Broken bones, sprains, or dislocations
- Restraint marks
- Showing signs of being scared or frightened of certain staff members
- Traumatized or withdrawn behavior, and a refusal to see visitors
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
- Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
- Inconsistencies in prescriptions, including signs of over-or underuse
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The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act is the legislation that covers the rights and responsibilities of nursing homes, the rights of residents, and the general provisions that nursing homes should provide.
Under this act, nursing home residents are entitled to not be:
· Restrained for punishment or without strict consent.
· Restricted from having private communications.
· Given any drugs that are unnecessary.
· Restricted from following religious practices.
· Forced to change physician.
Can I Sue The Nursing Home Even If My Loved One Has No Written Contract With Them
Yes, you can, because human rights dont need contractual support. If you were hit by a car, for example, you wouldnt have to prove that you had a contract with the driver not to hit you in order to win a lawsuit against him or her you could sue under general tort law principles, just as you can in cases of abuse and neglect in a nursing facility.
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act defines the rights under state law that your loved one enjoys with or without a contractual arrangement with the nursing home. Federal regulations also apply if the institution participates in the Medicare program. Proving that the facility violated an applicable regulation will go a long way toward establishing their liability for compensatory damages. In cases of outrageous conduct, you might even be able to collect punitive damages against the nursing home. Of course, if there is a contract, a contract claim could be added to other claims arising from the abuse or neglect.
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Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Complaints And Inspections
Illinois nursing homes are licensed, regulated, inspected and certified by public and private agencies at the state and federal level. The Illinois Department of Public Health is responsible for ensuring nursing homes comply fully with state regulations. Each year, the Department responds to approximately 6,000 complaints.
Nursing home inspections, called surveys, are conducted to evaluate the nursing home, its equipment, staff, policies, procedures and finances. The state average for nursing home inspections is once every 12 months.
Did You Know
Purposeful interviewing skills and thorough skin assessment are crucial to identifying abuse among the elderly.
Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
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