Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Equipping Families of Elder Abuse and Neglect Victims to Pursue Justice
Our loved ones enter nursing homes when they are at their most vulnerable and need the very best care and attention. Unfortunately, many nursing homes do not live up to the promises they make when you decide to place your loved one in their care. Nursing home abuse can cause pain and suffering for your loved one.
The Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers at Walner Law®, have the knowledge and experience to investigate your injury case and help you get the best care for your loved one before it is too late.
How to Choose a Nursing Home in Chicago
When you are choosing a nursing home for your loved one in the Chicago area, it is important for their safety and comfort that you take your time. The Federal Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) ranks U.S. nursing homes on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being “much above average” and 1 being “much below average.” Rankings are based on factors such as reported nursing home abuse and neglect and are available on the CMS website.
Eighty-one Chicago area nursing homes have recently received a score of 1, and an additional 81 facilities received a score of 2 (“below average”).
Start your physical search after identifying nursing homes with a rating or 4(“above average”) or 5. Schedule appointments with managers and take a tour of the facilities, paying close attention to staff presence and the behavior of residents. You will need to ask questions, particularly if your loved one suffers from issues such as dementia or another age-related disorder that necessitates special care. Gauge your comfort with the staff and management’s responses, but do not make any hasty decisions. Take your time to visit several facilities before finally choosing a nursing home.
Nursing Home Residents’ Rights
The residents of nursing homes have rights that are protected by state and federal law.
Before a person becomes a resident of a long-term care facility, the nursing home must provide them with a copy of their rights which generally include things such as:
- The right to be treated with dignity and respect
- The right to be informed of your medical care and medications
- The right to refuse medical care and to choose your own doctor
- The right to be notified in writing about services and fees
- The right to manage your own money or choose your own financial representative
- The right to privacy
- The right to personal possessions
These things will vary to some degree based on the location and focus of the nursing home, but all residents are entitled to dignity, respect, and proper medical treatment, no matter what other variations there may be.
If you suspect your loved one’s rights are being violated at their care facility, please contact Walner Law® or call (312) 313-2888 today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer.
Signs of Mistreatment
If you have placed your loved one in a nursing home, you need to be aware of the signs of nursing home abuse and neglect.
Signs of physical and sexual abuse may include:
- Unexplained injuries
- Bruises around the breasts or genitals
- Genital or anal bleeding
- Visible fear around nursing home staff or management
Signs of neglect may include:
- Malnourishment or dehydration
- Over or under medication
- Generally unsanitary conditions
It does not take outright physical violence to cause serious physical harm. Neglect can cause rapidly declining health leading to permanent damage or even death. Simple lack of supervision can lead to a fatal accident.
Neglect includes the failure to provide:
- Adequate nutrition
- Adequate hydration
- Assistance with bathroom needs
- Clean clothing and bedding
- Medical care
- Protection from safety hazards
Residents typically do not report neglect. Some are afraid or unable. Some simply do not recognize it themselves.
Proper care in a nursing home may seem to some like excessive pampering, but it is not. Residents must have water available at all times, even if that means a staff member has to come to the room frequently to hold the glass. Residents must be supervised at all times to prevent nursing home accidents and injuries.
When you visit, the staff may seem very attentive and helpful — but they may simply be on their best behavior because you are there observing. Be on the lookout for signs of neglect such as weight loss, bedsores, poor hygiene, dehydration, sunburn, injuries, infections, and unsanitary conditions.
What Constitutes Abuse?
Neglect is not the only type of mistreatment that your loved one may experience in a nursing home. While neglect is often unintentional, some nursing home staff members or other residents commit more direct, intentional abuse including mental or emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse.
Some identifying factors demonstrating that your loved one may be a victim of mistreatment include:
- Injuries that require hospitalization or emergency response
- Broken bones
- Resident is frequently ill but are not reported to family members
- Heavy medication or sedation
- Instances of wandering/elopement
Although abuse may be the result of a single person acting alone, it is often facilitated by a lack of supervision or screening of employees and residents by the nursing home.
When to Work with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Taking your time to select a nursing home is essential, but not always enough to prevent abuse. If you notice any signs of nursing home abuse, it becomes important to notify an experienced attorney right away.
The Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys at Walner Law® act quickly on these claims to stop abuse and help ensure your loved one is protected. We will fight tirelessly for your family’s rights and do everything possible to foster a swift and just solution.
If you suspect your loved one is suffering mistreatment in their nursing home, please contact Walner Law® today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Chicago nursing home abuse attorney.
If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse, immediately notify the head of the nursing home and document it in writing. Ask the head of the organization to investigate and call you.
- Make more frequent, unexpected visits
- Keep a close eye on the abused person
- Document and photograph any bruises, cuts, or bedsores
- Follow up on your request with the head of the nursing home
- Document what you are told and other things you observe at the home
- Make a note of how the staff acts towards you
- Talk to your loved one and other residents about signs
Wrongful Death Due to Nursing Home Abuse
When you put a loved one in a nursing home, you hoped it would prolong their life and that the constant care they received would avoid the dangers of living alone or with only the intermittent care you could provide. You never thought your loved one would suffer premature death due to the abusive actions of nursing home employees or residents.
If you know or suspect that your loved one’s death in a nursing home was due to the negligence of the nursing home, you may be able to receive compensation for your loss.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in a Nursing Home
There are, unfortunately, many types of nursing home abuse that can result in wrongful death. Neglect is a very common cause of death in nursing homes, but often it is accompanied by abuse, both by staff and by residents.
Nursing home staff have a great deal of power over the residents and in unfortunate cases, the staff may use this power abusively. This can look like:
- Insults and degrading remarks
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Withholding of medication
- Physical restraint
- Use of dangerous drugs
A nursing home has a responsibility to protect weaker residents from the stronger ones as there is often a wide range of physical abilities among nursing home patients. Some of them are fully capable of moving around, may be very strong, and may even prey on weaker members of the population. Some nursing home patients suffer from mental illness and may be violent.
Death due to nursing home abuse may come as a result of physical injuries, or it may come in the form of suicide. Nursing home patients sometimes commit suicide in a single dramatic act, or they may just stop eating or taking medication, resulting in death.
Nursing Homes Are Responsible
When a nursing home agrees to take in your loved one, they are agreeing to take full responsibility for their wellbeing. Unfortunately, nursing homes are often run in ways designed to cut costs to increase profits. This may lead to poor screening of nursing home personnel or a lack of personnel that can leave dangerous residents unsupervised. No matter the cause, a nursing home should not be allowed to profit from conditions that resulted in your loved one’s death.
Get Help Right Away
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused in a nursing home, you must act quickly. It is a dangerous situation and the health problems that result can escalate fast. It is also likely that your loved one is not the only one suffering as a result of the nursing home’s lack of care. By reporting abuse or neglect, you may be helping not only your loved one but also others who may not have a family to look out for them.
Please contact the experienced Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers at Walner Law®. Our attorneys can help you get the compensation that you need and deserve. Your initial consultation is free, and we don’t get paid unless you win your case.
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