Evanston nursing home abuse lawyers
There will unfortunately come a time when an aging relative is no longer able to care for himself or herself alone and requires extensive assistance on a daily basis. While deciding to relocate a loved one to an Evanston nursing home can be emotionally stressful, you may reach a certain sense of peace with the decision after you take numerous steps to locate an ideal nursing home for your loved one to live in. Many people who are in this position focus on factors related to cost, the types of available services, the location of the facility, cleanliness, how well-qualified and compassionate the staff is and more.
Despite considerable effort to place a loved one in a quality facility that you initially feel great about, there is always a chance that your loved one could be abused in various ways. Be aware that 3.2 million Americans live in nursing homes currently. Of these residents who are 60 years old or older, approximately 10 percent will experience some type of abuse in the facility. If you are concerned that your loved one is being abused, it is important to educate yourself about the types of elder abuse and the steps that you can take to protect your relative.
The Many Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Nursing home residents are unfortunately prime victims for various types of abuse. Their physical and cognitive limitations as well as the privacy in this type of environment make them vulnerable. There are numerous types of abuse that are common in nursing homes, and it is possible that your loved one is a victim of one or more types of abuse.
Physical abuse generally involves the use of force to harm the resident. It could also include neglect associated with improper feeding and hygiene efforts. When you look for signs of abuse and when you look for the guilty party, remember that staff members are not the only possible perpetrators. In some instances, residents may physically abuse other residents, or they be responsible for other types of abuse.
In addition to physical abuse in nursing homes in the Evanston area, psychological abuse, sexual abuse or exploitation and financial abuse may occur. Psychological abuse could result in shaming or humiliating the patient, yelling, calling names and more. Sexual abuse and exploitation can include inappropriate touching, forceful engagement, using seniors as subjects in pornography and more. Financial abuse may include theft of funds or assets, identity theft and other types of theft.
What to Do If Abuse Is Suspected
You understandably want to protect your loved one as much as possible, and one of the best ways to do this is to confirm your suspicions. This can be difficult to do without considerable effort in some cases. For example, you and other relatives or friends may need to visit the nursing home much more frequently, at different times of day and unannounced so that you can observe events in the facility. You also should observe any changes in your loved one, such as changes in hygiene, appetite, mood and more. Even when you suspect abuse, it can be difficult to determine exactly what is going on or who the guilty party is. Some family members will use hidden cameras and other similar equipment to learn the truth about what is going on in a facility. Remember that you do not necessarily need irrefutable proof before contacting authorities about your suspicions.
When to Seek Legal Advice
The well-being of your elderly relative is not a matter to take lightly. Regardless of the type of suspected abuse, it is important to note that some studies indicate that victims of abuse may be more likely to pass away within a few years after the event. Individuals who have been abused may require therapy, specialized medical attention and more after the events take place. A lawyer who specializes in nursing home abuse can help you to learn more about the criminal process and the civil process. Even if an individual is not prosecuted criminally, you may still be able to seek financial compensation for the related expenses that you have incurred and will incur in the future as a result of the actions. The facility, the specific individual and others may be brought to court. Regardless of whether you have a concern or undeniable proof about abuse, contact an Evanston nursing home abuse lawyer to explore legal options that may protect your loved one and that help you to obtain financial compensation that may be available to you and your relative.