Peoria Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
When people grow older, they may require the type of additional care that is provided in nursing homes. Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is prevalent in long-term care facilities across the U.S. It is a significant enough problem that some attorneys focus on nursing home abuse and negligence cases in an effort to hold those who have committed the abuse or neglect accountable for the wrongs that they have caused. The attorneys at the Zayed Law Offices are dedicated to helping their clients to end the abuse and neglect that their loved ones have suffered and to help them to recover damages for their losses.
What is nursing home abuse?
Nursing home abuse occurs when people who live in nursing homes are subjected to emotional, psychological or physical abuse that causes them harm because of the intentional or negligent actions of the staff or other residents. Nursing home abuse can take several forms, including the following:
- Financial exploitation
- Physical abuse, including hitting, pushing or shoving
- Psychological abuse, including withholding mail, preventing visits and verbal abuse
- Sexual abuse
When families suspect that their loved ones might be the victims of nursing home neglect or abuse, it is important for them to get help.
How prevalent is nursing home abuse?
On average, 2,150,000 reports of elder abuse are made each year, and approximately 9.5 percent of older adults will suffer some type of abuse. Among nursing homes, 91 percent do not have enough staff to help protect the residents from nursing home abuse. Experts believe that there are far more instances of abuse than are reported. With the baby boomer generation growing older, the nursing home population is expected to substantially grow over the next decade.
Signs of nursing home abuse
Elderly people are particularly vulnerable and may not report abuse or neglect. Some might be unable to report abuse or neglect while others may be afraid to make reports because of fears of retaliation from their abusers. It is important for nursing home staff and family members to be aware of the signs of nursing home abuse so that action can be taken. Some of the signs include the following:
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Bed sores that are untreated
- Withdrawal or becoming noncommunicative
- Falls, head injuries and fractures
- Rapid gains or losses of weight
- Not wanting to talk when staff are present
- Unexplained injuries or bruises
- Sudden changes in behavior
- Eloping from the nursing home
- Increased isolation
- Unsanitary conditions or poor hygiene
- Writing checks to staff or residents
If any of these signs of possible abuse or neglect exist, it is important for people to take action immediately in order to uncover and stop abuse.
What to do if you believe that your loved one is being abused or neglected
If you have noticed signs that lead you to believe that your loved one is being abused, it is important for you to act. You should start by trying to remain calm and rational. You should question the management and the staff about the signs of abuse that you have noticed, taking care to write down what they say. If the staff or management cannot explain what happened to you or are unwilling to offer an explanation, further action may be warranted.
You should likewise talk to your loved one about your observations and ask them what happened. Try to talk to your loved one in private. If the nursing home will not let you talk privately without staff being present, talk to an attorney. Always take notes about different observations that you have, and take photographs of suspicious injuries, bruises and dirty conditions. Make sure to note the dates and times of all statements and photographs, and write down the names and job titles of everyone with whom you talk.
If there are obvious signs of abuse or you believe that your loved one is in danger, call the police. You should also report all instances of suspected abuse or neglect to your state’s department of adult protective services. In Illinois, you can report abuse or neglect to the state’s Department of Aging by calling 1-866-800-1409 24 hours per day.
It is important for you to consult with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer if your loved one has been abused. Your loved one should be protected and may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Zayed Law Offices today to get help.