CHICAGO, IL – There are various ways to collect evidence of neglect or abuse in a nursing home which includes looking for signs of physical injuries, speaking with a loved one about their emotional state or ensuring their finances remain in order. The best way to investigate potential abuse is by relying on the guidance of experienced legal counsel.
If you believe your family member is the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, the team of attorneys at the Dinizulu Law Group is ready to help. You can rely on our trusted nursing home abuse lawyers to provide you with the compassionate legal support you and your family deserve.
How Does Abuse of Your Loved One Occur?
Before you investigate abuse or collect evidence of a potential claim for compensation, it’s essential to understand how abuse or neglect occurs. Not all nursing homes are unsafe. However, the main culprit is usually a result of understaffing and low pay. According to the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, 94% of nursing homes face staffing shortages.
The types of nursing home abuse include:
- Physical abuse includes assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, medication misuse, restraint and unnecessary physical sanctions.
- Sexual abuse includes unwanted physical contact and sexually exploitative or shaming acts such as leaving a person in a state of undress.
- Financial abuse includes taking valuables from your loved one’s room, forging checks or using their bank accounts or credit cards.
- Neglect is the failure to provide an older person’s essential needs according to the standards required by state law.
- Emotional abuse involves insulting or ridiculing a patient and making a patient feel guilty or distressed.
Watch for Signs of Abuse
It’s often difficult to identify signs of abuse in a nursing home. However, signs of physical injuries or psychological changes are common red flags. Some of the most common signs of abuse include:
- Unexplained physical injuries
- Mood changes
- Sudden weight loss
- Refusing to eat
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Missing property
To prove that negligence or abuse has occurred, it is necessary to develop evidence that will hold up in court.
Outward signs of injury are important when it comes to physical abuse. If your loved one exhibits unexplained injuries like bruises or cuts, they must be documented immediately because they will heal over time. Make sure to take pictures or videos. In addition, you may notice bed sores (or pressure ulcers) on the back or sides of the head, hips, shoulder blades, lower back, tailbone and the skin behind the knees. These are a result of negligence and should also be documented.
Review and Retain Financial Records
You should pay close attention to credit card statements and banking information because they are the most obvious evidence of financial abuse. However, it can be as simple as stealing property from a resident’s room. Documenting that property is no longer present is helpful in these cases.
More serious acts of financial abuse involve significant financial transactions. Documenting evidence of fraud could involve reviewing bank records to show unauthorized withdrawals. In other cases, their will may have been unlawfully altered.
Evaluate Medical Records
Medical records can show signs of abuse that are not immediately apparent. For instance, a doctor could identify partially healed fractures or recurring bladder infections, which can indicate sexual abuse. Medical records from your loved one’s treating physician could be the most important source of evidence to prove abuse. The same applies to allegations of neglect if they are dehydrated or malnourished. As noted, medical records could also point to signs of sexual abuse. Nursing home residents should not exhibit symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases.
Contact Our Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse Attorneys in Chicago, Illinois
If you believe your family member is being abused in a nursing home, you need sound legal guidance and advocacy from a results-oriented, client-focused law firm. Our compassionate team at the Dinizulu Law Group is driven to recover maximum compensation and justice on your behalf. We can assist in collecting evidence and making a solid case so your loved one can heal and find a new home. Contact us today to request your free case evaluation by filling out this form and we’ll reach out to you or by calling (312) 384-1920.