Bloomington nursing home abuse lawyers
The decision to put a loved one in a nursing home is heart-wrenching. You want to ensure that your parent, grandparent, or spouse is going to be safe and cared for in a loving facility. One of a family’s worst nightmares is to find that their family member has been abused or neglected in some way. Elder abuse is a growing national problem, but families do have recourse under the law.
What is Nursing Home Abuse?
Elder abuse isn’t just a national or local problem. It is becoming a world-wide epidemic as populations age, families live further apart, and resources become stretched thin. There is often a financial component involved, as many seniors have pensions or social security disbursements that are easily stolen or misused by caregivers. The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as: “a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person”. That definition covers physical, psychological, and sexual abuse. Elder abuse also includes neglect, whether or not that neglect is intentional. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45) defines abuse, neglect, and property misappropriation as follows:
– Abuse is any sexual assault as well as any physical or mental injury inflicted on a resident of an assisted living facility or nursing home that occurs other than accidentally.
– Neglect is identified as a failure to provide, or willfully withholding, medical care, mental health treatment, psychiatric or physical rehabilitation, personal care, or any level of assistance necessary to preserve dignity or prevent physical or emotional harm.
– Misappropriation is defined as the intentional misplacement, exploitation, or use of property or money without the lawful owner’s consent, regardless of whether it is one-time, temporary, or ongoing.
Under Illinois state law, a nursing home or assisted living facility is deemed as any “private home, institution, building, residence, or any other place, whether operated for profit or not, or a county home for the infirm and chronically ill…which provides, through its ownership or management, personal care, sheltered care or nursing for 3 or more persons, not related to the applicant or owner by blood or marriage.”
Detecting and Reporting Abuse
Even in a group setting, the signs of abuse or neglect can be easy to miss. If the family is located in another area or is unable to visit due to time or other constraints, abuse or neglect can go on for years before it’s noticed. Like most domestic abuse situations, there are signs of elder abuse. If you notice any of the following signs or you have concerns about your relative’s care that aren’t being addressed in a satisfactory manner, there may be abuse or neglect occurring:
– Sudden weight loss unrelated to health issues
– Bedsores (could mean the resident is being left in a bed or day chair for extended periods without being turned, moved, or treated)
– Repeated falls, which can signify lack of supervision
– Repeated or unexplained injuries
– Agitation. anger, or emotional withdrawal
– Signs of depression or lack of interest in activities they previously enjoyed
– Unexplained or limited access to finances or money, or the disappearance of money from the patient’s accounts
– Medication increased or replaced by sedatives to keep the patient quiet or incapacitated
What Can Family Members Do?
Only 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse are ever reported. You and your family member have rights under the law. If you suspect abuse or neglect, it’s important to act fast. Each state has an Adult Protective Services (APS) unit to serve the needs of elderly or disabled persons who are vulnerable to abuse and neglect. They are in place to advocate for families and victims, to receive and report incidences of abuse, and to help ensure that seniors are able to retain dignity, safety, and independence. Every state also has an Office of Long-term Care Ombudsman Programs that advocates on behalf of seniors and their families.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
When you need help with a nursing home abuse case, turn to the Zayed Law Offices. Our lawyer is a legal advocate who will protect your rights. If you suspect that a family member or friend is being mistreated in an assisted living facility or nursing home, or someone close to you has died as a result of nursing home abuse, our law firm is there for you. Contact www.zayedlawoffices.com to schedule a consultation about your case today.