Earlier this month the Washington Times published a story by a former nursing home abuse attorney who explained the prevalence of neglect and mistreatment in these facilities. He noted how so many of the stories shared by clients were simply heartbreaking, usually told by adult relatives describing the severe harm suffered by their unsuspecting loved one. The attorney argued that the conduct would result in criminal charges in many other settings, including malnutrition,dehydration, falls, medication errors, and more. The Illinois nursing home neglect attorneys at our firm work with those who have suffered all of these harms.
Of course, all adult relatives who help seniors find appropriate homes assume that their loved ones will find a peaceful, calm, enjoyable place to spend their time. Far too frequently, however, the experience is an utter nightmare, often ending in serious injury or death.
As each Chicago nursing home abuse attorney at our firm has often shared, the article author notes that under-staffing is perhaps the most persistent underlying cause of this mistreatment. Money is at the root of the understaffing: fewer employees equals a smaller payroll bill which results in more profits for owners. Residents are the ones who suffer. Care workers have many time-consuming tasks with which to help those counting on them: bathing, changing clothes, feedings, repositioning those in bed, and other activities cannot be rushed and are essential to decent care.
The article suggests that a single aide is likely capable of helping 8 to 10 residents in a single eight hour shift. After all, many seniors need help with the most rudimentary tasks, from lifting a glass to moving from one side of the bed to the other. Yet many aides have to care for twice that number or more. What happens? The care each resident receives suffers drastically. Residents are not repositioned enough causing bedsores, dinners are rushed so seniors become malnourished, and many other problems result. In many cases the mistreatment compounds. For example, a senior who does not receive proper nutrition may have their mobility decline as a result. They are therefore more likely to fall, and their weakened body is less able to quickly recover.
The cascading effect may similarly result in harm to one’s mental or emotional state. It is not difficult to imagine how one who is in pain, malnourished, and with mobility problems is more likely to be depressed. As the author notes, “Is it any wonder some nursing home residents ‘give up’?”
Understanding all of this ahead of time will hopefully lead adult children to act carefully when making nursing home choices, where possible. We completely understand that nursing home decisions often need to be made with little time for investigation. Yet, as much as feasible should be done to ensure that a facility in which you are considering does not have a history of residents being mistreated.
If you have a parent or other loved one who you feel was mistreated in one of these homes, you may be able to demand accountable. In our area, please visit with a Chicago nursing home neglect attorney to learn more.
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