In Madison and Jersey County, nursing home abuse and neglect happen daily, exposing the elderly and sick to tremendous physical and financial stress. The effects of the abuse far exceed any settlement, but nursing home facilities are required by law to compensate residents for neglect and abuse. If you suspect mistreatment of a loved one, reach out to our firm today to learn more about your legal options for protecting them.
What Constitutes Nursing Home Abuse?
Abuse and neglect of nursing residents involves substandard care. In some cases, the company caring for the sick or elderly violate a regulation or state code, but any breach of a caregiver’s duty can constitute abuse and neglect.
It is important to note that assisted living facilities, and other facilities governed by the Nursing Home Care Act, can be liable for nursing home abuse and neglect even if the facility touts itself as a rehabilitation center. There are several common types of abuse seen in these facilities.
This type of abuse is most common. It involves simply not caring for the sick and elderly or providing inadequate care and treatment. Nursing home neglect is the failure to perform any obligation the nursing home should fulfill. This could include:
- Failure to provide medical treatment in a timely or appropriate way
- Failure to provide medicine because of funding issues
- Failure to provide basics like food and water
Anytime a nursing home or assisted living facility fails to provide for its residents, the facility has likely committed abuse or neglect.
Bed sores occur in patients who are not being rotated and adjusted. Bed sores are serious and can lead to life-ending complications. While small bed sores can be common, the failure to treat small sores results in larger sores and often infections. Bed sores are almost always caused by the neglect of the provider. It is important for family members to keep up with the minor complaints of their loved ones. Documenting the bed sores is another important step.
Battery or Physical Abuse
Battery or physical abuse is any unauthorized or unwanted physical contact. While many residents of nursing home have minor objections to contact while administering care and treatment, battery and physical abuse occurs when there is no benefit to the patient. This type of incident could involve slapping, pushing, punching, burning, or choking of a resident. Battery also includes the use of restraints and any type of corporal punishment meant to harm the resident.
There should be no sexual contact between any staff member and resident. Any type of sexual contact is considered abuse. This includes a facility that has knowledge of another patient or a visitor that is engaged in this conduct with a resident.
Illinois holds caretakers to a higher standard. The law allows for the family of those who have been victimized to recover if financial exploitation occurs. Staff members who abuse the trust and confidence of the resident in order to extract money from them can and should be held liable. In addition, the facility has a duty to put safety protocols in place for the residents. Failure to do so can result in the facility being responsible.
These types of abuse and neglect (sexual abuse, financial exploitation, physical abuse, negligent injuries, and wrongful refusal to provide medication) run rampant in nursing homes across Illinois, specifically in Madison and Jersey County.
While the abuse may be caused by a staff member of the facility, the facility is responsible for the staff members’ actions. Ultimately, the facility has a responsibility to care for and protect nursing home residents from all dangers.
How Can I Tell if There is Nursing Home Abuse?
While nursing home abuse is often done surreptitiously, there are telltale signs. Often, larger abuse is uncovered by a family member concerned about what some may consider less serious abuse allegations. Concerning behavior by the staff or your loved one is a good indicator. The staff and facility’s response to your questions about potential abuse may be another sign.
Injuries are one of the more common signs of nursing home abuse or neglect. Injuries can be serious, like broken bones, or involve minor marks and bruising. While physical appearance is observable, you will also want to look for changes in your loved one’s attitude.
If your loved suddenly becomes depressed and unwilling to express the reason, this may be a sign of abuse. Many times, an abused resident may exhibit poor personal hygiene and signs of depression.
Why does Nursing Home Abuse Occur?
Many nursing home facilities are run by for-profit corporations. These companies have the goal of making money, and your loved one is the deliverable to which that profit is made. When the care cuts into the company’s profits, the nursing home will make cuts and reduce staffing to make up for that profit. That will in turn put more strain on the staff, which will increase the risk of harm to the residents.
Failure to have adequate staffing is a common cause of nursing home abuse or neglect. This results in a neglectful environment even with the most skilled and competent staff members. The company simply isn’t giving the nursing home enough bodies to take care of the resident. The company running the nursing home may also hire less qualified caregivers to save money.
How are Nursing Homes Policed?
The Illinois Department Public Health, the Illinois Attorney General, and state and local police should be investigating nursing home abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, these agencies have budgets and limited resources. In an effort to curb nursing home abuse and neglect, Illinois has created a private right of action so that individuals can police nursing homes.
Can I Recover for Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?
Yes. The law expressly calls for your recovery, assuming you can show that the resident experienced abuse and neglect. The amount of compensation varies depending on the seriousness of the violation and the injury sustained. If the resident has died, the resident’s family can still pursue a claim. Illinois has laws that protect the resident and their family when pursuing a case against a facility.
How Much Will I Pay for a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer?
Our clients pay nothing up front, and our firm only take a fee if we recover for you. In that way, you will never pay anything from your pocket. In many cases, the facility has to pay for the attorney’s fees and costs. Regardless, we guarantee no out-of-pocket costs, and we only collect when we deliver results for the family.