Nursing home abuse is a serious issue, both for the elderly people who are abused and the families who place them in nursing homes, trusting that they will be cared for properly. While most nursing homes take proper care of their residents, it’s important that the family and friends of the resident know what to look for to make sure abuse isn’t occurring. If abuse is suspected, catching it early and taking action can help protect the nursing home resident from further harm. Many people, upon finding that a loved one is being abused, will seek out legal services. When needing a nursing home abuse lawyer in Chicago, and it’s important to locate an attorney who has the experience and education to address your particular case.
The Difference Between Abuse and Neglect
While abuse and neglect are both serious concerns, there are differences between the two. With nearly two million people in the US living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, the abuse and neglect of elderly people are both issues that affect the nation. For purposes of legality, though, a distinction between abuse and neglect has to be made.
- Abuse – Abuse is intentional, and requires the infliction of injury. It can include things like holding a person against their will, intimidating them, punishing them unduly, or withholding service and care. If any of these things cause mental anguish, pain, or physical harm to an elderly person in a nursing home, it may be a cause of nursing home abuse.
- Neglect – Neglect is failing to provide a person with the services and care they require to ensure that they are not in pain or being harmed. This can also include failing to react to a situation that could be potentially dangerous to the person, and may or may not be intentional.
Signs to Look For in Nursing Home Patients
It is upsetting to see that a nursing home patient is being abused, but it is very important to take note of the signs. Some of the most common signs of this type of abuse include:
- Dehydration or malnutrition
- Infections or bed sores
- Falls, fractures, or related injuries
- Unexplained bruises or other injuries
- Unusual behavior, especially if it changes rapidly
- Rapid gain or loss of weight
- Reluctance to speak when staff members are around
- Unclean or unsanitary conditions
- Wanting to be isolated from other people
While there are other signs that could indicate abuse or neglect in a nursing home, these are some of the most commonly noticed issues. If you have a loved one, elderly or not, who is in a nursing home, you will want to look out for these types of problems. You should also take care to make note of anything that is out of the ordinary for your loved one. Not everyone shows fear, discomfort, or worry in the same way, and your loved one may not want to “burden” you by letting you know that something is wrong. Staying alert can make all the difference when spotting a case of abuse.
What to Do if Abuse is Suspected
If you suspect that nursing home abuse has occurred, seeking out legal counsel can be an excellent way to protect your loved one’s rights. You will want the best nursing home abuse lawyer Chicago has to offer, when it comes to who will be right for your case. The education and experience the attorney has matters, as does personality and dedication. The right attorney for your needs will have all of those things, and can provide you with legal information so you know what steps to take next. That can help you make sure your loved one is no longer abused, and that the nursing home is held accountable for any mistreatment that occurred.