Nursing Home Abuse In Illinois
Like many parts of the nation, Illinois has a growing elderly population and nursing home abuse is growing along with it. Indeed, the number of people who are aged 60 and old is increasing at a higher rate than other parts of the population; in 2030, it is estimated that over 22 percent of the population in our state will be 60 and older. According to today’s statistics (provided by the U.S. Census Bureau), persons ages 65 and older constitute 16.1 percent of the population.
To accommodate all these elderly people and provide them with care as they age, Illinois has over 700 nursing homes. While nursing homes are designed to be places of care, the tragic truth is that nursing home abuse is often prevalent in nursing homes. At the law office of Claim Your Justice, our experienced Schaumburg nursing home neglect attorneys are here to answer your questions about nursing home abuse and neglect and represent you if your loved one is being harmed.
Call our lawyers directly today for a consultation and an overview of your rights. In the meantime, refer to the following to learn more about nursing home abuse, how commonly it occurs, the warning signs of nursing home abuse, what to do if you suspect abuse, and the basics of a nursing home abuse lawsuit. We are here when you need us.
What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse occurs when a nursing home resident is financially exploited, sexually abused, physically abused, or emotionally/psychologically abused. Nursing home neglect is distinct from abuse, but can also result in severe harm for the nursing home resident and legal liability for the nursing home.
- Financial exploitation. Financial exploitation of a nursing home resident occurs when a nursing home staff member steals money from a resident or convinces the resident to make changes to their finances that are in the staff member’s best interests. For example, convincing the resident to open a line of credit or take out a loan for the staff member.
- Sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is one of the most heinous forms of nursing home abuse and refers to any non-consensual sexual behavior between a nursing home member and a staff member.
- Emotional and psychological abuse. Emotional and psychological abuse is often more subtle and occurs when a nursing home resident is neglected, isolated, teased, bullied, punished, ignored, or otherwise treated poorly. Emotional abuse can lead to severe physical harm in some cases, including depression and deterioration of physical condition.
- Physical abuse. Physical abuse might include improperly restraining a nursing home resident, hitting, kicking, biting, burning, pushing, or otherwise using physical force to control, threaten, or punish a resident.
- Nursing home neglect. As mentioned above, nursing home neglect is distinct from nursing home abuse but can be equally consequential. Nursing home neglect might include forgetting to bathe a resident or move them to avoid bedsores, failing to ensure a resident is getting proper hydration and nutrition, leaving a resident alone for hours at a time, failing to assist a resident with getting to the bathroom, or changing, etc.
How Commonly Does Nursing Home Abuse Occur?
Collecting data on nursing home abuse is very challenging; it is thought that many cases of nursing home abuse are unreported. With that being said, the National Academy of Nursing Home Attorneys estimates that about five million elderly persons are abused each year, and that about one in 10 elderly Americans (over the age of 60) have experienced some form of elder abuse. A national survey also found that 36 percent of nursing home residents witnessed at least one incident of physical abuse towards a resident in the previous year.
It can be difficult to collect data on a specific nursing home. If you’re investigating a nursing home, it’s important to look up the nursing home’s rating and reviews. You may also ask the manager directly whether the nursing home or any of its staff members have been implicated in nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuits in the past.
Warnings Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Just as it’s difficult to know the precise number of nursing home abuse cases that occur each year, so too can it be difficult to recognize the warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. If your loved one is in a nursing home, frequent visits are important. During those visits, keep an eye out for the following:
- Torn or bloodied clothing
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, or burn marks
- Emotional changes, such as angry outbursts
- Resident’s fear of staff
- Changes to an elderly person’s finances
- Poor personal grooming
- Weight loss or weight gain; change to physical condition
- Withdrawal or/and depression
- Bone fractures or other unexplained injuries
In addition to the above, also pay attention to things such as the state of the nursing home—do things look clean? Are there trip or fall hazards around? Does there seem to be an adequate staff-to-patient ratio? Do residents seem happy? If you have concerns, don’t hesitate to consult with the nursing home manager.
Talking to an Elderly Person About Nursing Home Abuse
When you suspect that abuse or neglect may be occurring, talking to your elderly loved one is important. However, these conversations can be difficult and, sometimes, futile; an elderly person who is the victim of abuse may be experiencing a sense of shame and even guilt and may be hesitant to talk about the abuse as such.
It’s important to approach your loved ones kindly and patiently and to explain to them that they haven’t done anything wrong and that you are there to advocate for them. If your loved one is reticent or withdrawn, or acts out with anger or other emotions that aren’t characteristic for them, this could be a sign that abuse is occurring.
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect that nursing home abuse is occurring, the first thing that you should do is consult with your loved one and confirm the abuse; remember, however, that an elderly person who is being abused may not be forthcoming about the abuse.
The second thing that you should do is bring your concerns to the nursing home owner or manager.
Next, you should start to collect evidence. Write down your suspicions and record any type of evidence that supports those. This might include taking photographs of signs of physical abuse or poor conditions at the nursing home.
In the event that your elderly loved one is at risk of imminent injury or death as a result of abuse or neglect, you should call 9-1-1. You should also move your elderly loved one to a new nursing home if possible.
Finally, if you suspect that nursing home abuse is occurring, you may have a legal cause of action. You should contact the Schaumburg nursing home abuse lawyers at the office of Claim Your Justice immediately for a free consultation and an overview of your legal options.
What Is a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit?
A nursing home abuse lawsuit is a type of civil lawsuit where you seek to hold a nursing home liable for the harm suffered by an elderly resident. Nursing homes owe residents a high duty of care; a breach of that duty of care that results in harm can lead to nursing home liability.
Through civil action, you may be able to recover compensation for any economic and non-economic losses suffered as a result of the abuse/neglect. Additionally, filing a lawsuit can raise awareness about the abuse/neglect, potentially leading to internal nursing home reform and protecting other residents in the future.
How Can a Schaumburg Nursing Home Neglect Attorney Help Me?
At the office of Claim Your Justice, our Schaumburg nursing home neglect attorneys will help you by:
- Investigating your case. We’ll gather evidence to build your claim and focus on getting the facts.
- Proving liability. We know what it takes to prove that a nursing home breached its duty of care to a resident. Our experienced law firm will bring forth a strong case.
- Calculating damages. We’ll work with you to understand the value of losses that you/your elderly loved one in the nursing home has suffered as a result of the abuse, accounting for economic and non-economic damages.
- Negotiate your settlement. Many nursing home lawsuits never go to litigation because they are settled out of court through negotiations. We can represent you during this process.
Throughout the process, we’ll be there to help you understand the law, fight and advocate for you, your loved one, and your family. We have years of experience—you can count on us to work hard for you.
Call Our Schaumburg Nursing Home Neglect Attorney Today
Nursing home neglect and abuse often go unrecognized in our State, but should not go unpunished. If your elderly loved one is being abused or neglected within a nursing home, you have legal rights. To learn more about those rights and how to bring forth a lawsuit for damages, call our Claim Your Justice Schaumburg, IL nursing home neglect attorneys directly today. We offer free consultations and always work on a contingency fee basis.