Did you know that according to the National Center on Elder Abuse, one in ten elderly residents experienced some form of abuse in 2022? Or that there hasn’t been enough research and data acclimation to understand how much of this happens in nursing homes?
Multiple advocate organizations have sprung up across the US, and it isn’t hard to find settlement information for nursing abuse on law sites. An entire section of Personal Injury Law is dedicated to nursing home abuse, and it can also be included under the wrongful death category.
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Nursing home abuse has systemically crawled its way throughout the US. From understaffed and overwhelmed nurses making mistakes to malicious people seeking jobs that put them in a place of power, many factors can lead to this abuse.
And it’s time we fight back. In this article, we’ll walk you through the topic of nursing home abuse and how you can help advocates fight for our elderly loved ones.
Understanding Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse in Chicago
Nursing Home Abuse comes in many wicked ways. Financial abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, medical abuse, and neglect are all potential risks for elderly nursing home residents. Unexplained injuries, sepsis, and rapid weight changes can all be signs. The more we arm ourselves with knowledge and keep active in our loved one’s care, the more we can fight against it.
The NCEA compiled a solid list of abuse types and signs of mistreatment. Their list discusses how the different forms may present themselves and how to recognize warning signs. If you have a loved one moving into senior living, we highly suggest familiarizing yourself with the information.
Addressing Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse in Chicago
When fighting against nursing home abuse, your first priority should be your loved one’s safety. When they are preparing to transition to senior living, help them create plans to protect their finances, handle health crises if they aren’t lucid, and research nursing homes.
Once a home has been chosen and your loved one has moved in, don’t abandon them. Keep active in their lives, and check in on their health and situation. Get to know the people caring for your relative, and make sure their higher-ups are taking care of them in turn. Much nursing home abuse is accidental neglect or mistakes caused by exhausted and overwhelmed staff. Clients are in a position of power to advocate for better care from managers.
Don’t take an immediately hostile approach to management. Be open and friendly. If you notice an issue, be constructive and helpful instead of accusatory. There’s a phrase that you shouldn’t attribute to maliciousness what can be explained by ignorance. You’ll likely find a receptive ear if you approach from a place of help and care. And if you don’t? It’s time to take action.
Step 1. Document Everything
Take pictures of injuries, get copies of medical records, and take screenshots of any suspicious withdrawals. Talk to your loved one if they are lucid and get them to write down their testimony. Talk to other residents and their families, and get their contact information if they witnessed any abuse or suspicious behavior.
Step 2. Report the Abuse
If you have raised concerns and nothing has been done, it’s time to contact the authorities. For emergencies, call 911 immediately; if it is not an immediate emergency, call the non-emergent police dispatch in your area and Adult Protective Services.
Once the authorities are looking into matters and potentially building a criminal case, you can leave the investigation in their hands and move on to the next step.
Step 3. Contact Advocacy Groups
Reach out to advocacy groups to receive various resources and advice on the next steps. They can help you ensure your loved one is safe and organize your documentation to present to a lawyer. Some will even help you find a Chicago nursing home lawyer. They will also use any information that comes from the investigation and potential lawsuits to inform other concerned family members in future cases. They might provide an expert witness to speak with your lawyer.
Step 4. Retain a Lawyer
In the step above, we mentioned communicating with a lawyer multiple times. You shouldn’t handle this alone. A personal injury lawyer with experience in nursing home abuse cases can conduct a thorough investigation to build your case and maximize the compensation your loved one receives for their damages. After experiencing abuse, they may have new medical costs, need to move to a more expensive nursing home, or need to pay off debts someone took in their name.
If your loved one has become a victim, contact a reputable local lawyer as soon as possible to get the justice they deserve. A lawsuit holds their abuser accountable and ensures they aren’t financially ruined after being a victim.