Nursing Home Neglect

There are over 3 million Americans living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and that number will certainly grow.

While many of these residents are well cared for by staff and loved ones, many are sadly the victims of nursing home abuse. Even sadder is the fact that they suffer through silently. At the Law Office of Scott D. DeSalvo, we take this situation seriously.

As a nursing home negligence attorney in Chicago, we want to help you in every way we can if a loved one or friend is the victim of nursing home negligence.

Having knowledge of what to look out for and how these situations develop can help you protect your loved one. It helps you to know when to take action and call a nursing home negligence attorney in Chicago when your loved one is not cared for properly.

What Is Nursing Home Neglect?

Nursing home neglect is a problem facing many of our nation’s elderly. As people grow older, they are less likely to be able to provide proper care for themselves. This is why nursing facilities exist – to provide the care that the elderly cannot give themselves.

We trust that these facilities have the right equipment, staff, training, resources and ethos to take care of their residents. However, this is often not true.

Many nursing home residents end up being abused or neglected at some point during their residency and studies have shown that abuse/neglect has detrimental results on their health.

Elderly who are abused and/or neglected are 300 times more likely to die than those who are not abused/neglected.

Considering that approximately 1 out of every 10 elderly experience abuse, this is an extremely dangerous pattern that needs to be addressed by a nursing home negligence attorney in Chicago.

Here are some other sobering statistics:

  • In 1999, perhaps as many as 5,000 nursing homes deaths were attributed to neglect. These included starvation, dehydration or bedsores as the cause of death.
  • In 2005, over 90% of the nation’s nursing homes were cited for at least one health violation.
  • Over 90% of nursing homes have at least one convicted criminal on their staff and there are no national requirements for background checks for nursing home employees.
  • About 90% of nursing homes do not have enough staff to provide adequate care.
  • In 2001, one out of every four nursing homes was cited for the serious injury or death of a resident.
  • Over 50% of nursing home residents do not have a close relative to help them deal with neglect or abuse.

The Law Office of Scott D. DeSalvo is dedicated to helping fight nursing home neglect and abuse. If you are looking for a nursing home negligence attorney in Chicago, then call our office right away. Identifying nursing home neglect can be tricky, especially as a nonresident outsider.

Here are some forms of nursing home neglect and their symptoms.

Types of Nursing Home Neglect

According to the Administration on Aging, neglect of the elderly falls into two categories:

  • Neglect – the failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection for a vulnerable elder.
  • Self-Neglect – characterized as the failure of a person to perform essential self-care tasks and that such failure threatens his/her own health or safety.

Besides knowing the two major types of neglect it’s good to know some examples of neglect. The Medicare website provides a list of rights and protections all nursing home residents are entitled to.

Be aware that additional laws may apply depending on the city and state. That’s why it’s best to engage a nursing home negligence attorney in Chicago if you or a loved one has been neglected by nursing home staff.

Physical Neglect

The literal physical neglect of nursing home residents by staff is one of the most common forms of nursing home negligence. Refusing to help residents relieve themselves, help them get their meals or move around, or failure to answer calls are all forms of neglect.

Weight loss, bed sores, bruising and other physical signs of injury are all evidence of negligence. The two most common types of physical injuries we see in Nursing Homes are:

  • Fall down injuries, including broken bones, broken hips, and head injuries
  • Bed sores, also called pressure ulcers, which result when a patient is not properly managed based on their ability to move their bodies themselves. Pressure ulcers or ‘bed sores’ develop because a person is left with their skin in contact with a bed too long.  

In fact, long enough for the lack of blood flow and for the pressure to break down the tissue and cause a wound in that part of the body, which get progressively worse, until there is a serious risk of injury and even death.

Emotional Neglect

Put simply, emotional neglect is when nursing home professionals pay no mind to the emotional needs of their residents. For example, there may be a dispute between residents and nursing home professionals are trained to handle these.

But when they fail to act to resolve these issues, some residents may be left out of social activities or otherwise ostracized. This is emotional neglect.

The emotional neglect that many nursing home residents experience is extremely debilitating on their behavior, health and morale. Many residents are ignored, emotionally neglected and emotionally manipulated while at a nursing home.

This kind of neglect can lead to emotional withdrawal, mental health issues and moral degradation.

Signs of Emotional Neglect

Usually, it’s fairly easy to find evidence of physical neglect if you’re paying attention. But emotional neglect may be harder to spot. Look for behavioral changes in your loved one. They may not always tell you as they could be afraid that staff or other residents will enact revenge.

One of the biggest challenges that nursing home negligence attorneys face with their cases is that negligence is grossly underreported.

Personal Hygiene Neglect

For some elderly nursing home residents, basic personal hygiene cannot be attended to without help. Neglect happens when residents do not receive proper help with bathing, laundry, cleaning, teeth brushing, going to the bathroom, or any other personal hygiene task.

Basic Needs Neglect

Basic needs neglect occurs when a nursing home fails to provide its residents with the basic necessities such a food, water, safety and clean environment.

Medical Neglect

Medical neglect is arguably the most serious form of nursing home neglect, as it usually leads to physical harm. This neglect happens when the facility does not provide proper medication, medical supervision, prevention, or care for their patients.

This can result in infections, cuts, bedsores, choking and a number of other serious health concerns.

All nursing home residents are entitled to have their family or representative notified when:

  • You’re injured and need a doctor
  • Your condition starts to get worse—physically or mentally
  • You need significant changes in your treatment

You also have a right to receive social services such as:

  • Counseling
  • Help to solve issues involving other residents
  • Help to contact financial or legal service providers

Knowing your rights will help make you an advocate for yourself or your loved one. Besides, self-advocacy is vital when nursing home negligence is so common. If things have progressed too far though, it’s best to engage a nursing home negligence attorney in Chicago.

4 Signs your Loved One is Victim to Nursing Home Neglect

Lawyers for nursing home neglect in Chicago are familiar with the signs of nursing home neglect. You may not be though. You might also not know that it’s common for neglect to go unreported.

CNN reported that in Illinois, there were 386 allegations of sexual abuse recorded since 2013. 386 is a low number, considering the number of complaints lodged.

Obviously, negligence is different than abuse, but poor handling of negligence and abuse is widespread in nursing homes. This failure in reporting is usually either because the victims are not taken seriously or the victims fear retribution.

This means that it’s up to you, as a concerned family member, friend, or representative, to recognize the warning signs of neglect.

The Administration on Aging has a list of possible warning signs. They indicate that not every item on the list necessarily means there’s been abuse. But these signs do merit further investigation.

  1. Visible injuries: bruises, broken bones, and burns may indicate neglect.
  2. A deteriorated mental state: the victim may become more withdrawn or depressed.
  3. Signs of improper care: bed sores, bad hygiene, and excessive weight loss.
  4. Strained relationships: frequent disagreements between caregiver and victim.

These are telltale signs of neglect, but the list is not meant to be comprehensive. The first thing to do if you notice any of these signs is to let someone at the care facility know. You should also contact a nursing home neglect Chicago lawyer to discuss the legal options available to you.

Not that it’s acceptable, but many times staff may not realize what’s happening. If you’re not satisfied after addressing the problem with staff, you should contact a lawyer for nursing home neglect in Chicago. You should let them know what warning signs you’ve seen.

Get Help From A Nursing Home Neglect Attorney

Nursing home neglect is a violation of the standards that nursing home’s must abide by under state law. Because of this, legal avenues are available to residents and their families if they suspect nursing home neglect.

At the end of the day, no matter the type of neglect, you need to take action. You’re putting your trust in these healthcare professionals to provide your elderly loved one a high standard of care. Neglect is never okay.

An experienced nursing home neglect attorney can help you pursue your case and get your loved one the justice they deserve.

If you have a loved one or a friend in a nursing home and you encounter any of these signs of neglect, contact us today and arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with a nursing home negligence attorney in Chicago.

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