What Are Signs of Abuse and neglect?
The family who makes the difficult decision to place a loved one in a nursing home must also keep constant vigil to ensure the loved one is given proper care. Whether they do or not, however, neglect and abuse can still occur. The more signs you are aware of, the more you can do to help stop the abuse. Some signs of elder abuse include:
- Staff not allowing visitors to be alone with resident
- Open sores, broken skin on hips, backside, buttocks, elbows, back and heels
- Frequent arguments or tension between the caregiver and the elderly person
- Complaints about painful blisters or abrasions (bedsores)
- Poor hygiene
- Weakness or inexplicable weight loss (malnourishment)
- Soiled bedding
- Sleepiness or lethargy (over-medication)
- Unexplained new or frequent injuries such as bruises, pressure marks, burns, cuts or broken bones
- Sudden personality changes
- Uncharacteristic anger, lack of interest, or anxiety
- Fear of being alone
- Overwhelming sadness, frequent crying
- Missing funds in the resident’s account
- Excessive/constant hunger or thirst
Who are the abusers?
Those who neglect and abuse the nursing home residents are usually employees and other agents who work at the nursing home. These are certified nurses’ aides (CNA’s), nurses, therapists, dietary personnel, other support staff and even some physicians.
How to respond to the nursing home neglect or abuse:
1) Report the abuse-
A family member who suspects their loved one is being neglected or abused can report the facility to the Illinois Department of Public Health Nursing Home Hotline at 1-800-252-4343. If the family member believes that physical harm has occurred or will occur in the near future, he can also call the police. Responding to and reporting neglect and abuse might be difficult, but it can have a positive effect by removing the abuser and preventing that person from hurting your loved one and others. The family may also choose to contact the facility ombudsman. The ombudsman is essentially a paid advocate for the nursing home resident. The ombudsman is useful in preventing everyday problems, such as missing clothes.
2) Remove your loved one-
The family may decide to remove the loved one from the facility. If so, the family needs to know where he is going. If the family wants to remove their loved one, they will need to research new facilities before taking this step.
3) Contact an experienced nursing home attorney-
Nursing home neglect and abuse is a serious offense. The family should retain a lawyer to ensure that the resident is compensated for his/her injuries and to prevent the neglect and abuse from occurring again. Your willingness to take legal action with the help of a lawyer familiar with the law on nursing home neglect and abuse will help your loved one, and may help save other nursing home residents from the same abuse, neglect or exploitation. The Law Offices of David H. Brinton, LLC will help you get justice now.
What can the family and I do to prevent our loved one from being neglected and abused?
Sadly, it is impossible to absolutely rule out the chance that your loved one will be neglected or abused during his residency. However, there are some things family and friends can do to minimize the chances of this happening. Many of these steps are commonsensical, but don’t feel bad for not having thought of them yourself. When family places a loved one in a facility, they do it usually after thoroughly investigating several homes and deciding on one that they feel will provide the best care. One of the reasons the family chooses a home is because the home’s representatives make promises about the care the loved one will receive. The family is reassured by this and counts on the home keeping its promises. Also, most families have never placed a loved in a setting like this. So, they aren’t familiar with how the homes deliver the care to the residents, including staffing and degree of level of care provided. Anyway, the family can help avoid neglect and abuse by doing the following things:
A) Visits – visit your loved one regularly. It’s important that the facility employees know that people are looking out for this loved one. Also make visits at different times. For instance, visit on different days of the week. Visit before meals to see that your loved one is given food at the correct time. Stay to see that food is left with your loved one long enough for him to eat it.
B) Develop a relationship with staff who regularly provide care to your loved one. Make friends, if you can, with the CNA’s who may dress, feed and clean your loved one. Get to know them and, most important, make sure they know that you are looking out for your loved one. This doesn’t mean you have to be confrontational or argue with the staff member. On the contrary, be friendly.
C) Become familiar with the people who provide care to your loved one, from the CNA to the therapist to the nurses to the doctor. You will want to know who is providing the care and it is important that they care providers know that you are involved.
Isn't a nursing home the same as a hospital?
NO, NO, NO, and NO. These are two totally different kinds of places and each provides its own type of care to the patient/resident. In a hospital setting, the patient is generally being treated for acute problems that require constant care that may change in an hour or over the course of a day. In a nursing home setting, the resident’s medical condition has become stabilized to the point where he does not require care for acute problems generally. Also, the type of care provided by staff members is different in each setting. In a hospital setting, orderlies/care technicians provide the day to day care that CNA’s provide in a nursing home setting. In a hospital setting, however, the patient is seen regularly and often by nurses during the course of a day. In a nursing home setting, the resident may be seen by a nurse once a day and for a short period of time. Physician care is different in each setting. In a hospital, the patient will be seen by the primary physician (or a resident) every day generally. Specialists who are consulted for their opinions also see the patient if needed. In most nursing home settings, however, the rules require only that a physician see a resident once every thirty days – yes, that’s right – once every thirty days.
What is nursing home neglect and abuse?
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides that every nursing home resident has certain rights that must be protected by the nursing home. One of these is the right to be free from abuse and neglect. The Act defines neglect as “a failure in a facility to provide adequate medical or personal care or maintenance, which failure results in a physical or mental injury to a resident or in the deterioration of a resident’s physical or mental condition.” The Act defines abuse as ‘any physical or mental injury or sexual assault inflicted on a resident other than by accidental means in a facility.”
The Law Offices of David H. Brinton, LLC represents individual victims of nursing home abuse and neglect and seeks justice for them and their families.
I'm not happy with the results of my surgery or medical procedure, can i sue?
Medical malpractice is not merely being unhappy with the results of a surgery or medical procedure. In order to successfully pursue a claim of medical malpractice, a plaintiff must prove that the doctor’s care fell below a certain accepted standard, that the doctor was negligent and/or that the physician did not properly inform you of the risks of the particular procedure (informed consent). Medical malpractice claims are often highly complex and expensive cases to pursue.
If I have been the victim of Medical Malpractice, how long do I have to sue?
Unlike other areas of law, the statute of limitations for Medical Malpractice cases varies depending on many different factors such as the age of the patient and the last date of treatment. Please contact our experienced nurse or medical malpractice attorneys to discuss the specifics of your case.
How does payment work?
David Brinton works on a contingency fee agreement, which is clearly expressed in the contract. If we are unable to recover any money damages, you pay nothing. If, however, we are successful in obtaining a settlement or jury award, we receive a percentage of the recovery.