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What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse?

Posted on in Personal Injury

b2ap3_thumbnail_nursing-home-sad-man-outside.jpgStudies show that people are living longer these days compared to generations past. Nursing homes, memory care facilities, and assisted living centers are popping up in almost every city to meet the demand for an aging population. Many families carefully research what these extended-care homes can offer to their parents, grandparents, or other relatives. Whether someone needs assistance due to age, dementia, or any other kind of disability, there is a certain level of expectation that your family member will be well taken care of and in a safe place. Sadly, patients can be neglected and even abused on a regular basis. It is important to recognize the injuries that are commonly caused by nursing home negligence to prevent further harm to your loved one. In some cases, he or she might be entitled to compensation or damages for pain and suffering.     

Illinois Nursing Home Care Act

Illinois has more than 1,000 long-term care facilities serving over 100,000 residents, young and old. Since elderly people are particularly susceptible to neglect or abuse, Illinois passed the Nursing Home Care Act, which gives residents of nursing home facilities certain rights to protect them from danger or harm. Illinois nursing homes require specific licenses to operate and are  regulated and inspected by state and federal agencies, including the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). In addition, under IDPH, the Division of Assisted Living manages all state licenses for assisted living and shared housing establishments.

Potentially Serious Problems 

Unfortunately, many cases of elderly abuse are simply not reported or they are ignored. Many residents of nursing homes or assisted living homes are not mobile; that is, they are confined to a wheelchair or even completely bed-ridden. Due to this vulnerability, negligence by the nursing staff can sometimes be dismissed, since a patient may be afraid to report an incident.  

The following are the types of abuse and their related symptoms that are typically found in extended-care facilities:

  • Physical Abuse: If a resident has bruises, scrapes, cuts, or swelling anywhere on his or her body, they may be caused by a staff member hitting, pushing, or throwing objects at him or her.  
  • Psychological Abuse: Quiet, timid behavior or inconsolable crying by a patient can signify mental or emotional abuse in the form of belittling or berating by nurses or doctors. Employees who do not have a lot of patience may become angry and hostile toward their residents, often yelling at them. 
  • Sexual Abuse: Unexplained bruising, bleeding, or infection in the genital area of a resident can all be symptoms of forced sexual contact by a staff person. In cases where a patient is restrained, he or she may not be able to fight back or call for help. 
  • Neglect: Bedsores, weight loss, dehydration, uncleanliness are typical signs that a person’s basic needs are not being met. A facility that is understaffed may be depriving a resident of essentials, such as food, water, and bathing.

There may be many reasons for the above types of situations, such as overworked employees and understaffed facilities. However, it is the responsibility of management to make sure they have enough caregivers for their number of patients. In addition, any employee must go through proper background checks and training before being allowed to interact with patients.. 

If you suspect a family member is being abused or neglected in any way, follow your instincts and report it to authorities. In some cases, video footage from security cameras may show proof of neglect or abuse that can be used in a personal injury lawsuit claim.

Contact a Will County Personal Injury Lawyer

Caring for the sick and elderly is a noble profession and one that should be taken seriously. Many families whose loved ones reside in an extended-care facility put their trust in the staff to provide quality care. If you or someone you know was hurt while staying in a nursing home, it is crucial that you consult with an accomplished Joliet nursing home neglect and abuse attorney who can explain your rights to seeking compensation. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may need surgery or extensive physical therapy to fully recover and regain your quality of life. Call McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC today at 815-727-0100 to schedule your free consultation. 

 

Sources:

https://www.nextavenue.org/6-signs-of-nursing-home-neglect/

https://health.usnews.com/health-news/best-nursing-homes/articles/2013/02/26/9-warning-signs-of-bad-care

http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/health-care-regulation/nursing-homes

 

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