Family members fully trust and rely on nursing homes or heath care facilities to provide the physical care their loved one requires in a compassionate and safe environment. Unfortunately, abuse and neglect can happen. In most cases the abuse or neglect is easily recognized, yet in some cases the abuse is subtle or the neglect leaves no visible physical marks. Compounding the issue, many patients are physically disadvantaged or not able to communicate effectively, rendering them basically defenseless and without a means to “tell someone”. As their voice and advocate, it’s important you understand the many facets of nursing home abuse.
What is Chicago Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse or neglect comes in many forms. It can be overt or subtle, easy to detect or nearly impossible to discover, and always its victims endure unimaginable suffering and loved ones are left emotionally devastated.
Abuse is usually physical in nature, such as slapping, punching, kicking, pinching, and, sadly, sexual, such as rape. Abuse can also be psychological such as verbal intimidation or threatening a future action. Neglect is often more subtle in nature, making it harder to detect. Forms of neglect include failure to provide or assist with basic care such as personal grooming, bathing, and changing of clothes or linens. Withholding or delaying adequate water and food, giving the wrong medications or an incorrect dosage, and delaying or withholding pain medicine are also considered willful neglect. Whether it’s abuse or neglect, both should be stopped immediately, and the facility and perpetrators held accountable criminally and financially.
Types of Chicago Nursing Homes or Care Facilities
The term “nursing home” has evolved into a generic label that many people use to describe a facility that provides medical care, rehabilitative therapy, or simply a residential center which provides low-level assistance with day to day living needs. Nursing homes are typically a facility which provide skilled nursing care on a 24/7 basis, while other types of facilities, listed below, provide a lower level of nursing care while also providing assistance with daily living. Regardless of the type of facility, the level of care provided or the length of stay, residents have the right to compassionate and professional care, and a safe environment. Other types of facilities where loved ones may be at risk for abuse or neglect, include:
- Convalescent home
- Memory care center
- Rehabilitation center for long or short term needs
- Skilled nursing facility
- Assisted independent living or continued care community
- Senior or adult day care facility
- In-home care provided by healthcare agencies or a private company contracted by an insurance company, such as a home health aide
- Hospice facility
What are the Warning Signs of Chicago Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
Often times the warning signs of abuse or neglect go unnoticed simply because loved ones do not know what to look for during a visit. Complicating matters, patients or residents may not be able to communicate clearly, if at all, the abuse they are subjected to. If the abuse is verbal in nature, there are usually no physical signs, and if the neglect is failure to provide a basic need, the warning signs may take days or weeks to be noticeable. It’s important to know the warning signs of abuse or neglect, which include:
- Change in mood, personality or behavior, such as easily agitated or unexplained crying or intense fear
- Sudden change in alertness or unusual depression
- Dehydration, signs include dry mouth or lips, confusion, dry skin, low blood pressure
- Malnutrition, signs include weight loss, muscle weakness, loss of strength
- Unexplained injuries, such as bruises, lacerations or bone fractures
- Lack of or delay in personal grooming assistance
- Torn, stained or bloody clothing
- Infrequent change of clothing or bed linens
- Unsanitary conditions of the facility
- Hostile or disinterested staff or employees
- Wrong medication or incorrect dosing, such as to keep patient in an overmedicated state
- Sudden loss of personal items or money, or broken personal items such as glasses or hearing aids
- Caregiver or staff refusal to allow you to see your loved one
- Unexpected death
What are the Examples of Chicago Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
The most common examples of nursing home abuse or neglect:
- Delaying or failure to provide adequate water or food
- Delaying or failure to provide or assist patient with basic personal hygiene
- Delaying or failure to give medications, such as pain medicines, or giving the wrong medicine or incorrect dosage
- Delaying or failure to provide medical care or assisting patients with necessary medical devices, such as wheel chairs or oxygen support
- Failure to provide safe and clean living conditions
- Failure to provide protection from aggressive or violent co-residents, staff or visitors
- Failure to prevent or medically treat bedsores
- Failure to prevent patient or resident from leaving or wandering away from the facility
If a loved one is showing signs of abuse or neglect, seek medical assistance immediately, then call the lawyers at Action Legal Group for a confidential and free consultation. We know what to look for and can determine if your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect.
Nursing home abuse or neglect is one of the most egregious acts to be perpetrated upon an elderly or physically weak person, and the pursuit of justice can be emotionally overwhelming and legally complex. The nursing home abuse lawyers at Action Legal Group understand the challenges families face, and have decades of experience in nursing home abuse to successfully fight for justice and secure full compensation for victims and their loved ones.