It cannot be repeated enough that elder abuse comes in all forms, involves all types of relationships, and can occur in all settings. Our Illinois nursing home neglect attorneys obviously spend most of our time working with those who have been hurt by mistreatment at a long-term care facility. However, it is vitally important for all those hoping to improve the lives of seniors to understand that no matter when an elder may be located, you need not allow concerns about their care remain hidden.
For example, even seniors being cared for by their own relatives (sometimes children) in their own home can fall victims to neglect and outright abuse. All it takes is a caregiver who does not take their role seriously or who is willing to allow a senior to suffer to somehow advance their own interests. It is incredibly difficult to identify each instance of this misconduct, but that doesn’t mean that residents should not take their job of reporting abuse seriously.
In many cases of outright abuse or severe neglect there may be criminal as well as civil penalties.
For example, the Daily Herald reported this week on a guilty plea in a criminal case where a woman was charged with Illinois elder neglect. In this case the defendant was a woman charged with neglecting her elderly father in his own home.
The local authorities fortunately visited the man’s home during what was supposed to be a routine “well being check.” Once insider they discovered that the man was in desperate need of medical attention. In addition, his home was in disarray. Clearly his caregiver had not provided anywhere near the support he needed. Eventually the officials began investigating further to figure out who his caregiver actually was. They soon learned that the man’s adult daughter was supposed to be providing support-she wasn’t.
Last December the woman was arrested and charged with a class 3 felony for criminal neglect of an elderly person. Recently she decided to plead guilty to the charges. A judge sentenced her to two years in jail-she has already spent 163 days behind bars. The elderly man was placed under the care of the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian. He was transferred to a local long-term care facility.
Elder Neglect Deterrent
This case is a demonstration of the fact that even seniors at home can suffer serious neglect. In addition, it is a reminder that in particularly bad cases criminal charges are often appropriate to hold wrongdoers accountable. Criminal penalties are used, in part, as a deterrent mechanism, hopefully encouraging those who might violate the law from refraining from doing so.
Similarly, civil lawsuits can also be used as a deterrent. Each Chicago nursing home neglect attorney at our firm believes in the way that finances dictate much long-term care. When facilities are held financially accountable for their poor care that harms other, they are more likely to make changes to prevent the harm. If they are not held responsible, they are far less likely to make those changes.
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