Nursing home abuse and neglect are a growing concern, particularly as more and more of the population are reaching old age. Nursing facilities are responsible for caring for our elderly loved ones, yet they do not always offer the quality of services that we expect. Unfortunately, neglect and abuse in nursing homes occurs on a daily basis across the country. The result is that many of our elderly relatives are living with care that is substandard and may even be dangerous.
Illinois Nursing Home Care Act
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act is legislation that defines the rights and responsibilities of both the care facilities and their residents. Nursing homes are required to follow the laws that govern their types of facilities. They must always provide proper care and supervision, regardless of the needs of the patients. When a resident requires help with daily activities, it must be provided. Additionally, when a resident requires medical treatment it needs to be administered by qualified medical personnel. Abuse or neglect can occur when nursing homes do not follow the guidelines of the law.
Causes of Abuse and Neglect
Nursing home abuse or neglect can occur for a number of reasons. The facility may be understaffed and there are not enough employees to take care of the needs of all the residents. The staff could be improperly trained. Many of the positions in nursing facilities have a high turnover rate, so many times the caregivers are not provided with the necessary instructions for care. Abuse may occur when providers are not well-suited to the tasks and lose patience with residents, or simply do not care. Mismanagement can also complicate the care that is provided.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
There are various signs that abuse or neglect has occurred. Unexplained bruises, scrapes, and wounds are all signs that should be further investigated. More serious indications of neglect include pressure ulcers, head trauma, infections, choking, and broken bones require immediate medical attention. When someone suffers from repeated abuse or neglect they may suffer personality changes, may be withdrawn or fearful, or may become uncooperative. Repeated falls could indicate that the staff is not adequately supervising the resident.
Reporting Suspected Abuse
Abuse or neglect of a nursing home resident must be reported. Sadly, it goes unreported all too often. The resident himself often finds it difficult to tell anyone about the problems and may fear retaliation. For this reason it is imperative that you keep a watchful eye over the care your relative is receiving. Suspected abuse or neglect should always be reported. Illinois law provides legal protection for those who report suspected abuse. The Adult Protective Services Act allows people to make reports based on their substantiated suspicions.
Those who are victims of abuse or neglect may be entitled to compensation for damages. This could include payments for medical care required because of the neglect and money for pain and suffering, among other items. If your loved one suffered a serious injury due to nursing home neglect or abuse, call Levin & Perconti to discuss your case with a free initial consultation.
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