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 to do your due diligence. Research is key to making sure your family member gets the care they need from trusted individuals. One of the first things to look at when exploring nursing homes is their standing according to the Federal Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
CMS ranks these care facilities 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. In the Chicago area, 81 nursing homes have recently received a score of 1, and an additional 81 facilities received a score of 2 (“below average”).
Start touring nursing homes after finding which facilities have a rating of 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 the right home that can give your loved one adequate care when they need it the most.
Nursing Home Residents’ Rights
Elderly residents and care home residents alike have rights that are protected by Illinois 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 care home, but all residents are entitled to dignity, respect, and proper medical treatment.
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 of residents around staff and management
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. A simple lack of supervision can lead to a fatal accident within an elder care facility.
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 simply unable. Proper care in a nursing facility may seem to some like excessive pampering, but it’s 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 and help them drink. Residents must be supervised at all times to prevent nursing home accidents and injuries, as broken bones at a later age are actually much more life-threatening injuries.
When you visit your loved one, the staff may seem very attentive and helpful, but that could just be a show for you and others to show that they are caring for your parents, grandparents, and other family members. However, there’s no denying potential elder abuse if there are obvious signs of neglect like weight loss and bedsores. This shows clear inaction by staffers and management to provide adequate care.
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 facility and document a formal complaint in writing. Ask the head of the organization to investigate and call you. You should then:
- 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
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 these facilities, but often it is accompanied by abuse, both by staff and by residents. Care home staff have a great deal of power over the residents, especially elderly people, and in unfortunate cases, the staff may use this power abusively, such as:
- Hurling insults and degrading remarks at residents
- Committing physical or sexual abuse
- Withholding medication
- Demonstrating physical restraint
- Providing residents with dangerous drugs
When you put a loved one in a nursing facility, you’re doing so in the hopes of prolonging their life by getting them the round-the-clock medical attention and assistance you can’t provide. It’s important to take immediate action if you suspect abuse, as prolonged actions in any abuse case can result in the wrongful death of your loved one. If you know or suspect that your loved one’s death in a nursing home was due to the negligence of the home, its staffers, and its management, you and your family members may be entitled to compensation.
When to Work with a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Nursing homes have a responsibility to address the basic needs of their residents, as well as provide special care to those who need it the most. When a nursing care facility is abusing your loved ones and the family of others within their four walls, it’s time to call in a Chicago personal injury lawyer to take on this nursing home abuse case.
At Walner Law, our team of experienced Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys at Walner Law® will act quickly on these abuse claims to stop this medical neglect and harm, and ensure the safety of your family members. 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 care home, please contact Walner Law® today to schedule a free consultation to weigh your legal options. With undeniable evidence, we can show that nursing home staff failed in their duty of care, showing signs of elder abuse, and getting maximum compensation to hold them liable for their mistreatment of elderly adults, including your loved ones.