Looking for Ways to Protect Your Loved One from Nursing Home Abuse?

Here are a few suggestions on how to help keep your aging relative safe and out of harm’s way during their stay in a nursing home in Chicago, IL.

After reading all about the horrifying experiences many elderly individuals have had during their stay in a nursing home facility, you’re probably wondering what you can be doing to protect your aging relative who is currently residing in a facility and depending on the staff to tend to and care for them. While we can’t prevent every case of elder abuse and neglect from happening, we can take measures to protect our loved ones so they are less likely to become a victim themselves.

Did you know: “Approximately one in 10 Americans aged 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse”[Source: National Council on Aging]?

Here’s What You Need to Do

  • Become Educated

If you’re looking to protect your elderly loved one who is living in a nursing home, you need to educate yourself on the types of abuse and neglect that are actually happening inside these types of facilities. While most associate the term abuse with physical pain being inflicted upon an individual, there are actually many other forms of it that you need to familiarize yourself with. To help you become more educated on the various types of elder abuse and neglect your loved one could become a victim of, below we discuss some of the most common forms of it [Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Officer of Inspector General].

  1. Physical Abuse: Physical abuse is the infliction of physical pain or injury upon another. A nursing home staff member might “react inappropriately to a situation” resulting in them pushing or slapping a resident or they may “intentionally” inflict harm upon a resident.

Important: Elderly individuals are not only at risk of being physically abused by nursing home staff but also the residents they are living with. So, the next time you visit your loved one, be sure to observe how other residents are treating one another and discuss with your relative how they are treating you.

  1. Misuse of Restraints: Nursing home staff members sometimes use chemical or physical restraints to gain control over a resident. While there are times where this is acceptable, when a staff member goes beyond physician orders and uses a restraint, it is considered a form of abuse. For instance, it is unacceptable for a staff member to “fail to loosen a restraint within an adequate time frame” or administer a drug to “cope with a resident’s behavior.”

Tip: Talk with an administrator in your loved one’s facility regarding their what policy is when it comes to the use of chemical or physical restraints. If there is something you do not feel comfortable with, don’t hesitate to let him or her know.

  1. Verbal/Emotional Abuse: This involves the “infliction of mental and/or emotional suffering. A staff member would be guilty of verbally or emotionally abusing a resident if they make demeaning statements toward them, or harass, humiliate, or intimidate them.
  2. Physical Neglect: This happens when a worker displays a “disregard for necessities of daily living.” Some examples of physical neglect include:
  • Failure to provide a resident with food, clothing, or clean linens.
  • Neglects to brush their hair or teeth.
  • Avoids bathing a resident regularly.
  1. Medical Neglect: When a staff member fails to render care that addresses a resident’s medical problems, they are guilty of medical neglect. Some examples include:
  • Ignoring a necessary special diet.
  • Failing to call a physician when one is needed.
  • Not acknowledging the potential effects a medication might have on a resident.
  • Not taking action on medical problems.
  • Failing to provide a resident with the medicine they need.
  1. Verbal/Emotional Neglect: This involves a staff member “creating situations in which esteem is not fostered.” Some examples include “not considering a resident’s wishes, restricting contact with family, friends or other residents, or more simply, ignoring the residents’ need for verbal and emotional contact.”
  2. Personal Property Abuse (Material Goods): This involves the “illegal or improper use of a resident’s property by another for personal gain.” Examples include “theft of a resident’s private television, false teeth, clothing or jewelry.
  • Look for signs of abuse and report any odd behavior displayed by your loved one, any markings you have found on them, or anything else that might appear to be out of the ordinary.

If you notice changes in your loved one’s behavior or you have found markings on their body (i.e. bruises, scratches, etc.) that are unexplained, you should definitely bring this to the attention of the head nurse an administrator. If you find that your concerns aren’t being addressed in a timely manner, you should definitely consider contacting someone higher up in the facility.

If you think your family member is being abused or neglected by nursing home staff in Chicago, IL we don’t encourage you to wait to find out what the facility is going to do to address the issue. We do, however, recommend that you contact our office and discuss your concerns with one of our experienced nursing home abuse lawyers immediately.

You can contact Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd. at:

221 North LaSalle Drive, Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: (312) 384-1920

Website: www.dinizululawgroup.com

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