Every year, millions of families must make the difficult decision of placing their parent, grandparent, spouse, sibling or other relative in a nursing home or other care facility. For many families, this is the best way to ensure that their loved one’s medical and day-to-day needs are met. Therefore, the abuse or neglect of a loved one by nursing facility staff can feel like an enormous betrayal. However, when the very people you entrust with the care of your family member are responsible for your loved one’s abuse or neglect, legal action may be your best option. Therefore, experienced nursing home abuse attorneys like the professionals at Marc J. Shuman & Associates, LTD can help you get justice for your loved one.
Of course, prevention is a key part of reducing abuse. However, until widespread societal measures are implemented to prevent abuse and neglect in nursing home facilities, legal action against the perpetrators is the best way to take action when abuse occurs.
AMERICA’S AGING POPULATION
America is getting older, increasing the need for nursing home and assisted living care. As of 2013 (the latest year for which data is available) there were more than 44 million people age 65 and older in the U.S. (1) Furthermore, more than 40% of people over the age of 65 will require nursing home care at some point in their lives. Plus, many others will require care in assisted living or another elder care facility. (2)
NURSING HOME ABUSE STATISTICS
Sadly, millions of elderly/vulnerable Americans age 65 or older are abused in some way each year. Furthermore, one study found that 44% of nursing home residents reported being abused. Additionally, a shocking 95% said they had suffered neglect or had seen another resident suffer neglect. (3)
These alarming statistics highlight how common elder abuse and neglect are in our nation’s nursing care facilities. Moreover, for every case of reported abuse, many more go unreported.
TYPES OF ABUSE
Most abuse is physical in nature—such as pushing, grabbing and shoving. Additionally, emotional abuse, financial exploitation and sexual abuse are also common. Common signs of physical abuse include:
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, abrasions or burns
- Broken bones
- Pressure marks
- Torn or bloody clothing
Furthermore, signs of emotional abuse include yelling at or threatening patients, humiliation, mocking and ignoring patients. Plus, isolating patients from other residents.
IDENTIFYING NURSING HOME ABUSE AND NEGLECT
While the signs of physical abuse such as cuts, bruises, burns and broken bones are relatively easy to identify, the signs of neglect can be more subtle. Neglect can come in many forms, including:
1. Emotional or social neglect:
This can include ignoring residents, leaving them alone for extended periods, unkind treatment and depriving residents of social interaction and activities with others.
2. Neglect of basic needs:
This can include failing to provide reasonable food, water or a hygienic environment or necessary assistant.
3. Personal hygiene neglect:
This can include failing to provide residents with adequate baths, assistance with basic hygiene and adequate help with bodily functions.
4. Medical care neglect:
This can include failing to provide residents with adequate medical care. This can include issues like bedsores, infections, wound care, diabetes care, cognitive care, physical therapy, etc.
Furthermore, awareness is one of the most powerful tools to help identify and prevent ongoing neglect in nursing home settings. Therefore, you should be aware of the following signs:
- Soiled clothing or bed linens
- Unsanitary conditions
- Malnourishment/weight loss
- Medication mistakes, including improper administration of meds
- Withdrawn behavior
- Bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Increasingly strained or hostile relationships with nursing home staff
- Environmental hazards, such as slippery floors, poor lighting, dangerous electrical systems, unsafe furniture in patient rooms, unsafe mobility equipment (wheelchairs, etc.)
If your loved one has suffered abuse or neglect in a nursing home or other elder care facility, the experienced nursing home abuse attorneys at Marc J. Shuman & Associates, LTD can help.
We have a commitment to uphold the quality of care in our long-term care institutions. We will take swift legal action to compensate nursing home residents and their families for injuries resulting from neglect or inadequate care.
Our law firm serves the state of Illinois. This includes the city of Chicago, the greater Chicago region, as well as numerous other cities and towns, including Joliet, Schaumburg, Orland Park, Maywood, Kankakee, Peotone, Marseilles, Peoria, Decatur, Effingham, Danville, Moline, Galena, Cicero and more.