CHICAGO, IL – Abuse and neglect in nursing homes remains under-reported in the United States according to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office. Many nursing homes frequently fail to report abuse to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), or to local law enforcement.
Elder abuse is the physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, abandonment or neglect. Often times the victim knows the perpetrators – they are often family members, such as children or spouses, and care givers in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Illinois has more nursing home abuse cases than any other state. The Illinois Department of Aging’s Annual Report (2017) stated there were 16,507 reports of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. Nearly 74 percent of abusers were the child, spouse, or relative and many times experience more than one form of abuse.
How Can I Tell if My Loved One is Experiencing Neglect or Abuse in a Nursing Home?
There are many warning signs to look for in your loved one while visiting them at a nursing home, or any other facility. Common signs of abuse include:
- Signs of malnutrition and dehydration
- Unexplained bedsores, bruises, or lacerations
- Broken bones or fractures
- Rapid weight gain or loss
- Sudden change in mood and behavior
- Torn or bloody clothes
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Signs of depression, confusion, and loss of interest in things they once enjoyed
- Missing or broken eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc.
- Unsanitary conditions
- Understaffed and hostile employees
- Improper medication, or overly medicated
How Can I Tell How Many Deficiencies a Nursing Home Has?
Pro Publica is a great search engine tool you can use to compare nursing homes based on deficiencies cited by regulators within the last three years. You’re able to search using a keyword, city, or nursing home name and search by state and severities.
Once you hit search and your results pop up, you’re able to see the nursing home, the date, city and state, how many deficiencies were reported, the severity range, and the actual report and nursing home information. It’s important to note that the number and severity relates to the search terms, and not necessarily all deficiencies against the nursing home facility.
How Can I Tell if a Nursing Home is Reputable?
Start by doing a lot of research – read reviews and look up deficiencies of nursing home facilities. You want to ensure your putting your loved one in the right hands, so many factors must be accounted for. The location of a nursing home, their visiting policies, and the patient-to-staff ratio are all things to consider. When visiting the nursing home, it’s important to note the appearance of the facility and residents and how the facility is ran overall. The friendliness and helpfulness of the staff, sleeping accommodations, and daily activities may contribute towards your decision. In addition, the dining facility and meal options, and health care issues should be inquired about.
What Damages Can be Recovered?
If your loved one has experienced neglect or abuse while at the hands of a caregiver in a nursing facility, you may be entitled to collect compensation for:
- Emotional distress, loss of quality of life, and pain and suffering
- Past and future medical expenses
- Physical impairment for disability for injuries caused by staff negligence
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Who is More Susceptible to Being Neglect or Abused?
67 percent of victims are female, while 33 percent are male; however, 49 percent of abusers are male and 51 percent are female. One in five victims are 86 or older and suffer from some sort of barrier. 35 percent of reported cases of abuse were from social workers or medical personnel, while family members contributed for 16 percent of reports, followed by victims self-reporting in only 8 percent of cases.
What to do if My Loved One is Being Neglected or Abused in a Nursing Home Facility?
It’s important to bring any concerns of neglect or abuse to the nursing home facility, in addition to law enforcement. Our experienced nursing home abuse attorney’s will help you recover from abuse and neglect – we work for you and your loved one to get the reimbursement you deserve. Please call (312) 384-1920 to schedule a free, confidential consultation. Due to the statue of limitations, we must begin to work on your case right away.
Dinizulu Law Group, Ltd.
221 N. LaSalle St., Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60601