Nursing home abuse is a serious problem nationwide. Senior citizens and disabled adults in nursing home facilities are among the most vulnerable members of society. They sometimes fall victim to the very people we entrust to care for them.
Patients in nursing homes can suffer from many forms of abuse. If you believe your loved one suffered mistreatment while living in a nursing home facility, your family may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek financial compensation and hold the abuser and the facility accountable.
A Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer can investigate what happened and help you pursue justice. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC, today at 800-959-1444 to talk to a member of our staff.
Types of Abuse That Can Occur in Nursing Homes
Illinois law prohibits the abuse of vulnerable adults. 320 ILCS 20/2 defines abuse as “causing any physical, mental or sexual injury to an eligible adult, including exploitation of such adult’s financial resources.” The statute also provides a legal definition of neglect: “Another individual’s failure to provide an eligible adult with or willful withholding…the necessities of life including…food, clothing, shelter or health care.”
People who live in nursing home facilities may experience physical abuse from staff members, fellow residents, or visitors. Physical abuse may include slapping, kicking, pushing, hair-pulling, and other forms of harm.
Overmedicating of nursing home residents is a widespread form of abuse. Human Rights Watch reported that nursing homes administer over 179,000 doses of antipsychotic drugs weekly to patients who do not need them to treat a disorder. Staff members feel overwhelmed by the stress of caring for numerous seniors with dementia, so they dispense unneeded psychiatric medications to keep residents docile.
Staff members who feel stress sometimes emotionally abuse nursing home residents. They may yell, use name-calling, criticize residents in front of fellow patients and other staff members, and make offensive or derogatory comments. Those types of behavior can make seniors feel unsafe in their homes and unable to trust their caregivers.
Sexual abuse in nursing homes is more widespread than many people realize. The National Center on Elder Abuse reported that seven percent of abuse complaints are sexual, but that figure most likely significantly underestimates the problem’s scope. Residents may suffer abuse at the hands of employees, fellow residents, third-party vendors, or visitors who see other patients.
Elderly nursing home residents are especially vulnerable to financial exploitation for two reasons:
- They might have cognitive disabilities that make it difficult to manage their finances.
- They often face isolation from their families.
Staff members may gain the trust of residents and offer to help them manage their finances. Instead, the employee withdraws money from the resident’s bank accounts or uses their funds to purchase things.
For a free legal consultation with a nursing home abuse lawyer serving Chicago, call 800-712-9119
Understaffing Can Lead to Nursing Home Abuse
Understaffing is a serious problem at nursing home facilities all over the United States because of the demands of the job and the generally low pay. Those factors contribute to high turnover rates while remaining employees often work long shifts and feel overwhelmed by the number of residents in their care.
Workers may feel forced to rush from room to room and may not spend much time with any one resident. Employees may, therefore, fail to notice signs of abuse, such as unexplained bruises or cuts. They may not see changes in behavior, such as anxiety, withdrawal, and agitation. This failure can allow abuse to go undetected.
To keep enough employees on staff, nursing homes sometimes do not perform adequate background checks before hiring new workers. That can allow people with a history of abuse to find employment at a series of nursing homes and keep preying on victims.
When a nursing home facility hires new employees, managers may feel rushed to put them to work as soon as possible to combat understaffing. New staff members may not have the necessary training to spot signs of possible abuse and how to report it.
How Abusers Escape Punishment
Abuse victims may be afraid to speak up. Abusers may threaten to inflict even greater harm if the victim reports the abuse. Seniors in nursing homes may have little or no contact with their families. In many cases, abusers target patients who cannot speak because of a medical condition or cognitive decline.
Sometimes, residents or family members report abuse or suspicions to management, but they fail to investigate the allegation thoroughly. Managers may perform an inquiry that barely scratches the surface or may refuse to investigate the claim. Staff members and managers may even retaliate against residents who report abuse. If word gets around, other victimized residents decide it is not worthwhile to report their abuse.
Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Near Me 800-712-9119
How to Seek Justice for Your Loved One
Senior citizens and disabled adults who live in nursing homes are incredibly vulnerable and deserve a high level of care and respect. If your loved one suffered abuse in a nursing home, they might have experienced severe physical, emotional, or financial harm. Your entire family may feel betrayed and angry.
While it may not be possible to undo the damage, you could seek financial compensation for what your relative endured. A personal injury lawsuit could hold the facility accountable and send a strong message to that nursing home and others that society will not tolerate the abuse of vulnerable patients.
A Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer may be able to help your family pursue justice and compensation. Ben Crump Law, PLLC, has represented clients across the United States who suffered because of others’ negligence.
If your loved one suffered injuries related to nursing home abuse or neglect, we could do the following:
- Interview your family member and others to determine what happened.
- Review personnel records to determine the facility’s staffing levels.
- Determine if the nursing home hired unqualified employees or failed to vet staff members thoroughly.
- Look into whether management thoroughly investigated your allegation or covered up the abuse.
Once we have gathered all the relevant information, we can negotiate with the nursing home’s insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit.
Contact a Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
According to 735 ILCS 5/13-202, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury lawsuit in Illinois is two years. Investigating abuse allegations can take a significant amount of time, especially if the victim and witnesses are reluctant to speak out. A Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer has experience working on these cases. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC, today at 800-959-1444 to speak with a team member about your case. The sooner you call, the sooner we can get to work.