Our Springfield personal injury attorneys are highly experienced in handling nursing home abuse cases. We have worked on cases involving all types of elder abuse and neglect, from understaffed and neglectful facilities to malicious and physically abusive caretakers. We will look into your loved one’s circumstances, investigate the care they receive, and explain your legal rights and options. If there is evidence that the facility is responsible for neglect or abuse, then we can guide in you filing a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit and pursuing compensation.
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What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Nursing home abuse is any physical, sexual, emotional, or financial abuse perpetrated against a nursing home resident by another resident, a staff member, or a consistent visitor to the facility.
Physical abuse constitutes any physical contact that has or may result in the nursing home resident suffering a physical injury or mark. Common physical abuse in nursing homes includes hitting, slapping, pushing, and physical and chemical restraints. Physical abuse may also be sexual in nature. Sexual abuse may entail non-consensual touching of a resident’s genitals, groin, buttocks, or breasts. It can also include non-consensual sexual intercourse, anal sex, or oral sex.
Nursing home abuse, however, is not always physical. Nursing home residents are at risk for emotional and psychological abuse, which often includes someone name-calling, embarrassing, demeaning, harassing, or isolating a resident.
Additionally, nursing home residents are at risk for financial abuse. An individual may steal from the resident or use lies, misrepresentations, and manipulations to obtain gifts or payments from the resident. At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., we have also seen cases in which a nursing home creates a fraudulent financial scheme to charge residents more than they actually owe.
If you believe your parent or other senior relative is being physically, psychologically, or financially abused at a nursing home or other facility, do not hesitate to call us. Our Springfield nursing home abuse lawyers will make your loved one a top priority and ensure they receive the care they need.
What Is Considered Nursing Home Neglect?
Nursing home abuse is intentional misconduct directed toward a nursing home resident. Nursing home neglect is slightly different in that it is not necessarily intentional. Neglect means one or more individuals responsible for the resident’s care is not upholding the standard of care they should. In other words, one or more staff members are careless or reckless in taking care of the resident’s needs and upholding their rights.
A common reason for nursing home neglect is insufficient staffing at a facility. When a facility is short-staffed, certain things fall through the cracks or become deprioritized, such as keeping every resident’s room clean or ensuring each resident is bathed on a consistent schedule.
Other common issues are that the staff members at a facility are insufficiently trained and poorly supervised. Inexperienced and under trained staff may be given a great amount of responsibility, which they are not capable of upholding yet.
Nursing home neglect is a serious matter and can lead to serious health issues for residents. Neglect increases the risk of dehydration, malnutrition, infections, bedsores, and falls. If your loved one has suffered a medical injury or condition because they are not cared for like they should be, call our Springfield nursing home neglect attorneys to discuss suing a nursing home for neglect.
Types of Elder Care Facilities
There are many types of facilities that are intended to care for seniors. These facilities offer different levels of care based on the needs of residents. Some are intended to support seniors who can live relatively independently while others provide round-the-clock nursing.
Long-term care facilities (LTCFs) are a broad category of facilities, which include nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and skilled nursing homes. These facilities all provide both medical and personal care to seniors who cannot live independently, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Medical services include ensuring resident receive their medications at the proper time in the prescribed amount. Personal care encompasses ensuring residents maintain their hygiene, oral hygiene, have clean clothing and bedding and receive enough food and fluids.
Assisted living facilities often offer different levels of personal and medical care for residents while nursing homes provide continuous 24/7 medical and personal care to residents who need the greatest degree of help.
Your loved one may also live at a memory care center, which is a specific type of long-term care facility. This type of facility is intended for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia or memory issues. Your relative could also live in a special care unit that focuses on these conditions within a long-term care facility. In these units or memory care centers, the facility itself is set up to ensure staff can maintain 24-hour supervision and keep residents from leaving the facility.
If you are concerned about your loved one’s health and safety, you should speak with Springfield nursing home abuse lawyers. We will determine the type of facility your loved one lives in and the standard of care that facility is required to provide.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
In order to keep your elderly loved one safe and healthy, you need to know the signs of abuse and neglect. By knowing what to look for, you can act quickly when a problem arises.
Common signs of physical and sexual abuse include:
- Bruises at various stages of healing
- Scratches and deeper cuts
- Black eyes
- Broken glasses
- Broken bones
- Multiple falls
- Restraint marks
- Bruises around the genitals or breasts
- Bloody or torn undergarments
- Blood in the urine or feces
Signs of emotional and psychological abuse include:
- Sudden mood swings
- Low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness
- Avoiding eye contact
- Avoidance or fear of specific individuals
- Refusing to answer questions about themselves
- Childlike and regress behavior and self-soothing
- Changes in personality
- Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
If you notice any of these signs, call our nursing home abuse lawyers in Springfield, Illinois as soon as possible. We can help you make sure your loved one is safe and receives the medical care they need to address any injuries or conditions they are dealing with.
Illinois Elder Abuse Laws
Illinois has several laws intended to protect seniors, including the Elder Abuse and Neglect Act. Under this act, certain individuals are required to report suspicions or confirmed instances of elder abuse or neglect. The act ensures funding for the Illinois Department on Aging, which is meant to offer help to individuals 60 years and older who have been abused, neglect, or exploited. It also provides criminal and civil protection to those who file reports of abuse, neglect, or exploitation in good faith.
The Illinois Domestic Violence act also protects seniors who are abused, neglected, or exploited by a family member or household member. It allows seniors to obtain orders of protection against those who have or are harming them.
Additionally, Illinois has criminal laws that cover physical, sexual, and financial abuse of elders. Those who have harmed seniors in their care can be charged with misdemeanor or felony offenses, and if found guilty, punished with fines, imprisonment, and other penalties.
Whether or not the person responsible for harming your loved one is charged with a crime depends upon the local prosecutor. However, criminal charges do not necessarily impact your or your relative’s right to file a civil claim. You or your loved one may file a negligence claim against a caretaker or facility whether or not a prosecutor pursues criminal charges. However, if charges are filed or someone is found guilty, this can support a nursing home abuse or neglect case.
Filing A Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuit
If your loved one has suffered an injury at the hands of a nursing home staff, they may have the right to file a lawsuit against the individual and/or facility and pursue compensation. However, there is a time limit on when your loved one can file a lawsuit based on personal injuries. They have two years from the date of the injury or the date in which they knew or reasonably should know they were injured due to negligence to file the lawsuit.
If you believe your loved one died early because of nursing home abuse or neglect, call us right away. You only have two years in which to file a wrongful death lawsuit under Illinois law. This is why it is essential you speak with a Springfield nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. If you or your loved one have the right to sue, you need to know as soon as possible in order to have time to prepare and file.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Compensation
If your loved one was harmed due to nursing home abuse or neglect, they may be able to obtain compensation for:
- Medical Expenses
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Reduced Quality of Life
If your loved one passed away, you may be able to obtain compensation for your grief, sorrow, and mental suffering. Your relative’s spouse may pursue compensation for the loss of their spousal relationship, known as loss of consortium.
Contact Our Springfield Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys
If at any time you believe your loved one has been harmed or is in danger at their care facility, contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. We will help you through the process of protecting your loved one and holding the at-fault parties responsible. Depending on the circumstances, we may guide you through filing a complaint with a local or state agency, contacting the police to pursue criminal charges, and filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the facility. Whatever path we recommend, your loved one’s health and safety will be our top priority.
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