Champaign Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Nursing homes are supposed to be a place of comfort and safety for the elderly. This is not always the case. Unfortunately, many of these facilities are not safe for residents, and they have been the site of abuse by staff members at alarming rates.
Do you suspect that you or a loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, our personal injury lawyers offer legal services for nursing home residents harmed through reckless or careless actions.
Call a Champaign personal injury lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Nursing homes serve as temporary residences for many older people who need assistance with daily living activities such as dressing, bathing, eating, and toileting due to an inability to perform these tasks independently. There are laws in place protecting the residents.
Champaign, Illinois, is one of the largest cities in Central Illinois and shares the campus of the University of Illinois with its neighbor and sister city of Urbana. While the city is most renowned for the College, which is also its largest employer, it is also home to the offices of numerous Fortune 500 companies.
The area has earned distinction as one of the major hubs in Silicon Prairie due to its attractiveness to technology companies. Champaign's population is over 83,000 and is mostly students and young professionals.
Senior Living in Champaign, Illinois
Young people represent such a large portion of the Champaign County population that the senior demographic is often understated. Over 9,000 seniors aged 60 years or older live in the city.
There are four nursing homes facilities within the city's limits available to meet the needs of those requiring assisted living. Seniors also have access to programs through the Hays Recreation Center and Douglass Annex, extensions of the city's park district.
Activities include pot luck lunches where each person is invited to bring a dish and share with the rest of the participants, bake-offs, tea parties, breakfast outings, bridge games, Bingo, Bunco, trivia, Nintendo Wii game nights. Moreover, activities include fitness programs for seniors, computer classes, and exciting outings such as mystery trips and visits to orchards.
Should your loved one require regular care, it is crucial to investigate the facilities you are considering before deciding thoroughly. Unfortunately, Illinois has seen a rise in the number of nursing home abuse cases over the last ten years because for-profit corporations are beginning to enter the nursing care market. These companies often cut corners to increase their margins.
As Champaign County nursing home lawyers, we feel we must provide as much information as possible about the central long-term care facilities in your area so that you can avoid placing your loved ones in a harmful environment.
Data maintained by the Illinois Department of Public Health reveals that nursing homes throughout the state, including Champaign County, maintain below-average ratings. These facilities violate federal regulations through abuse, neglect, medical malpractice, and mistreatment. Illinois state bar regulators will inspect the facilities involved in a complaint investigation.
Some of the complaints result in a civil lawsuit where law firms associated with the Illinois trial lawyers association protect the injured victim's rights. The following are the most notable nursing homes in Champaign County and their latest Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ratings, as well as information on complaints filed and fines assessed against each facility.
How to Tell if Your Loved One is Being Mistreated at a Champaign Nursing Center
Many of the nursing home abuse or neglect victims feel deep shame or embarrassment and suffer in silence. For this reason, it is crucial to take a proactive approach regarding the care of your loved ones and to notice the warning signs of mental and physical abuse.
Do you suspect something is wrong, but you don't have sufficient evidence to make an allegation? Contact our Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers to learn more about what you can do to detect and respond to neglect or mistreatment and how to move your loved one to a safer environment.
Following are some of the signs that may reveal abuse or neglect and warrant a more in-depth investigation:
- Sudden changes in mood or behavior: Even if your loved one is not communicating that they are being mistreated, abuse can alter their behavior. Your loved one may have violent outbursts, suffer from depression, or act differently in the presence of a caregiver than when that caregiver is no longer present.
- Physical signs of abuse, neglect, or improper care: Whether the result of direct nursing home abuse or neglect, there are ways you can tell if your loved one is not being cared for properly. The abused resident may lose an alarming amount of weight, show physical symptoms such as fractures or bedsores, or come down with a sudden infection or illness.
- Any injury that you believe could have been prevented through proper care: Medication errors, trips, and falls, and the development of bedsores are all examples of accidents that require more in-depth investigation. Accidents do happen from time to time, but does the facility have a history of similar events? Obtaining this information from a central Illinois senior home abuse lawyer will help you decide your next course of action.
- Frequent changes in staff on duty: If your loved one is being cared for by an agency, do not be alarmed if different caregivers are assigned on a staggered schedule. However, if multiple caregivers change each day or the caregiver on duty abruptly quits or takes another job with little notice, this could reflect poorly on the home.
The safety of your loved one should be the priority of every nursing facility seeking the opportunity to provide their care. But, unfortunately, we live in a world filled with corporations that place profits above decency, and we must protect the ones we care about the best way we understand how.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is dedicated to fighting on behalf of your loved ones so that they may receive the respect and courtesy that all people deserve.
Contact our national trial lawyers today to learn more about the work we've done for hundreds of nursing home abuse victims and how we can help you. Should we be unable to collect compensation on your behalf, you can be assured that our services will be completely free of charge.
The City That Would Never Have Been
Champaign, Illinois, was founded primarily due to what is rumored to be a dispute between Urbana landowners and the Illinois Central Railroad. Some accounts of the story suggest that the property owners of Urbana did not want to give land to the railroad when it was plotting a course through town, and it was redirected through what is now Champaign.
Other accounts suggest that the resulting route was planned from the beginning, as it was more direct than if it had run through Urbana. When the railroad was established, West Urbana was founded only to be renamed Champaign when it received a city charter in 1860.
The histories of Champaign and Urbana are interlinked, and even though they exist as separate cities, their economies and activities are interwoven. For this reason, they are often referred to together by outsiders rather than individually.
An Economy Driven by Education, Invention, and Technology
The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana employs over 10,000 people, but Champaign is also host to numerous technology firms' research and development divisions. These companies all exist in the Research Park area, and the park receives backing from the University of Illinois.
Notable companies with a home in Champaign include Intel, Yahoo!, Abbott Laboratories, Riverbed Technology, the DOW Innovation Center, Caterpillar, IBM, AMD, and Wolfram Research. Champaign is also home to the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, which serves the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
The city also hosts numerous publishers and record producers such as Pogo Studios, Parasol Records, and the Nicodemus Booking Agency. Champaign-Urbana's diverse economy has earned the twin cities the honor of being named among the top five cities to add jobs in the economic turnaround. Its unemployment has dropped over 2.1% since the Great Recession.
Recreation and the Arts
There are plenty of things for residents and visitors to do in Champaign, whether they prefer outdoor activities or enjoy the culture and the arts. The city maintains eleven different trails and sixty parks, which encompass over 650 acres of land.
Those looking to see a show can visit the Art Theatre Co-op or the Virginia Theatre. Both theatres are historic landmarks, and the Co-op is the nation's first cooperatively owned art movie theatre. In addition, Champaign maintains three museums, one of which is a historic landmark originally built in 1858. The Cattle Bank is one of the oldest buildings and is now the Champaign County Historical Museum.
The Orpheum Children's Science Museum provides hands-on activities for children, and the Krannert Art Museum contains works of art that date as far back as when Egyptian Pharaohs still roamed the earth.
Nursing Home Abuse: A Life and Death Problem
Nursing home abuse can be life-changing for the victim and their family. The personal injuries caused by this type of abuse are often severe and require extensive medical care. In some cases, victims have even died from their injuries.
Hospice patients can be extremely vulnerable to abuse and neglect because these patients are often very sick and in the last stages of life. Patients with Alzheimer's disease tend to attract a higher rate of elder abuse because they lose their communication ability. The communication loss can make it difficult for family members and caregivers to notice signs of maltreatment.
Families often become frustrated when trying to take care of a loved one with this type of disease, leading them to commit nursing home abuse.
The Difference Between Criminal Nursing Home Abuse & Civil Negligence
The elderly are often mistreated, neglected, and abused by those who they trust most – their caregiver. This form of abuse is called elder abuse or nursing home abuse. It includes physical, emotional, sexual assault, financial exploitation, negligent care, and patient abandonment.
There are even cases of caregivers murdering their patients to collect life insurance money.
Criminal nursing home abuse takes place when a worker intentionally hurts or emotionally abuses nursing home residents. On the other hand, civil negligence occurs when the facility fails to maintain proper standards of care for residents resulting in personal injury or death.
Common examples of nursing home abuse and negligence include:
- Physical abuse when caregivers, visitors, employees, or other residents cause physical harm
- Nursing home neglect relates to situations where caregivers fail to meet a patient's basic needs, such as providing food and water
- Sexual abuse, which occurs when a caregiver abuses a patient who cannot speak or communicate effectively
- Emotional and psychological abuse happens when caregivers humiliate, belittle, harass and make fun at the resident's expense or isolate them from others needlessly out of spite or disrespect
- Financial exploitation occurs when those working at the nursing home steal from or take advantage of residents
- Wrongful death is when a patient dies due to a preventable complication that a nursing home knew or should have known might occur
Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to this problem because most states have laws that allow nursing homes to be negligent with impunity. However, if you know what signs to look for when choosing a facility for your loved one, you can only protect yourself from being harmed by nursing home medical negligence.
Detecting the Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
It can be difficult to spot the warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. However, most individuals are aware of what these symptoms look like, which is a myth.
The problem is, there are many different forms of nursing home abuse and neglect like physical, emotional, and sexual that can be hard to know if they're happening in your loved one's care facility or not.
Here are some warning signs that could indicate your loved one might be experiencing this type of mistreatment:
Typically, physical abuse is the most easily recognizable form of mistreatment in a nursing home. The patient might show signs of
- Unexplained bruising
- Excessive weight loss
- Open wounds
- Fractures and broken bones
- Broken hips from falling
The most common form of emotional mistreatment in a nursing home is verbal. You may notice that your loved one's personality has changed since they've been admitted into the facility. They may also show signs of:
- Extreme changes in mood, either extremely depressed or extremely angry for no reason or displaying an unusual amount of paranoia
- Not wanting to talk about what's going on at the nursing home or what happens when family visits
- Unexplained crying spells
- Does not want to go to activities for residents for fear of being singled out by staff members
- Fearful that they won't have enough time before leaving the facility
- Isolating themselves from friends and family
Emotional and Psychological Abuse
The typical signs of emotional symptoms caused by a hurtful caregiver, family member, visitor, friend, or another patient might include:
- Signs of depression
- The sense of being overwhelmed in the patient's care facility
- Changes in eating habits, including eating too much or too little
- A sudden drop in personal hygiene and grooming
This form of mistreatment is very common but not always easy to recognize. The warning signs for this type of abuse may include:
- Bruising around the breasts, buttocks, or genital area
- Sudden fearfulness about being alone with certain nursing home staff members
- Staring off into space, as if "in another world" when a particular staff member enters the room
- The patient exhibits unusual behavior, such as shyness around certain people or reluctance to leave their room to attend activities or other outings.
Other symptoms of sexual abuse may include:
- A patient not wanting a bath or resists undressing in front of someone other than their spouse
- Has frequent urinary tract or yeast infections that do not respond to medication or other treatment
- Develops symptoms similar to those experienced by someone with Alzheimer's disease- difficulty walking, talking, and using their hands
- Wearing clothing inappropriate for the weather
Caregivers, employees, administrators, doctors, nurses, visitors, family members, friends, and other residents may be stealing the resident's personal belongings or money. Some indicators of financial exploitation could include:
- Unexplained financial charges in the resident's bank accounts and credit cards
- Theft of the patient's personal items, including knick knacks from their living space
- The patient repeatedly saying they're missing something
- Sudden withdrawal from family and friends or unwillingness to see visitors
- Withholding of food or medication if the resident refuses to cooperate with their abuser
- Confusion about where personal belongings are now located, even though they had their item recently
When caregivers or other nursing home staff members neglect the patient's teeth, they may make oral health a low priority, leading to higher incidence of cavities and infection. Visiting family members might notice the following:
- The patient having a dry mouth even though it is not time for their medication
- Injuries from falls or other accidents
- The patient whose teeth seem abnormally long or do not fit their jaw
In some cases, neglect can lead to a loss of limb or personal injury that is extremely slow to heal, possibly becoming infected as well. You might notice:
- The victim's chronic wounds fail to heal, deteriorated or infected skin
- The appearance of well-heeled limbs, which could be the result of forcing the patient to stand in one place for extended periods
- Unexplained loss of weight, malnutrition
- Being very thin with little muscle mass - lack of daily exercise may play a part in this
- Increased need for medication
- Isolation from family and friends
- Punishment for complaining about neglect
- The patient does not want to leave their room or the facility, even when visitors come- they may become anxious
If you notice any of these warning signs, it is important to investigate them quickly. In addition, you may need to contact a personal injury lawyer or visit other nursing homes for your loved ones if they are being mistreated. If they are experiencing this type of abuse, it's also possible that their health can suffer.
The Devastation of Preventable Bedsores
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), nearly every facility-bed sore could have been prevented had the nursing home staff followed established protocols.
Signs and symptoms of bedsores:
- Skin is open, raw, and bleeding
- Hair loss around the sore area
- Extremely red skin at the surface level - may be grayish-yellow on the underside of the wound and filled with fluid and bacteria
- Swelling in the area surrounding the bedsore
If untreated, bedsores could lead to:
- Hip fractures
- Skin infections such as cellulitis or staphylococcal (staph) infections
- Permanent muscle and nerve damage
- Rehabilitation becomes more difficult and lengthier, increasing the likelihood of medical complications
- Increased risk of sudden death due to sepsis
The outlook is positive - with swift treatment, injuries are not permanent. But, unfortunately, nursing home staff members may be reluctant to report bedsores because they know that their facility will be cited or fined by Illinois state bar surveyors if their patient has this condition.
How Doctors and Wound Care Specialists Stage Bedsores
Typically, every nursing home patient has an effective care plan that nurses, doctors, and other healthcare providers follow to ensure that the resident's medical needs are met. The care plan should include a complete body skin assessment that identifies any problems, including developing bedsores.
Typically, bedsores (also referred to as pressure wounds, pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers) appear as a reddened area during the initial stage. Without immediate intervention and treatment, a simple pressure sore can degrade to a life-threatening open wound.
A complete skin assessment helps optimize the patient's well-being by quickly identifying any skin problem. Early detection can save lives. Because of that, doctors and wound care specialists stage bed sores as:
- Stage I: During the initial stage, a developing pressure wound appears reddened, dry, and intact slight pinkness in an area that is not normally reddened (for example, the ankle)
- Stage II: During the second stage, a pressure sore has undermined more skin and usually appears moist. The center may be dark red to brownish-gray. The center of the wound remains moist; often filled with yellow pus-filled tissue a moist deep center; it may also appear dark red to brownish-gray fluid in the area surrounding the pressure ulcer
- Stage III: After prolonged untreated in the second stage, a pressure wound evolves into an open wound. The wound may have irregular edges that are bluish or gray at this point. More severe reddened areas around deeper into the skin; irregular edges that appear blue or gray
- Stage IV: The final, most severe stage of a pressure wound appears as gangrenous flesh. At this point, large portions of tissue near the center of the pressure sore may die and turn black. Much deeper with yellow/greenish fluid ooze from it deeper into the skin with dark, dead tissue at the center
- Unstageable: Sometimes, the open wound is filled with particulates, debris, and necrotic (dead) skin tissue, blocking the wound care specialist's ability to stage the death and severity of the open sore correctly.
- Deep tissue injury: Deep tissue damage is classified as either simple or complex. If the injury extends into subcutaneous tissues, it can be classified as deep tissue injury. Associated injuries include bleeding that could be life-threatening if not identified and treated immediately, nerve damage, fractures, amputations, disfigurement of the skin, muscle, and underlying bone structure.
The most common areas for bedsores are bony prominences that have little cushioning fat. Suppose you notice any signs of developing bedsore with your loved one. In that case, it is important to report this immediately to their doctor or nurse, who can stage the pressure sore and determine what treatments, if any, are necessary.
It is important for nursing home staff to properly clean and dress a pressure sore as soon as they are identified. For patients, good skincare that includes washing the skin with mild soap and water makes a difference in preventing pressure ulcers from worsening.
To prevent pressure ulcers, health care providers use special mattresses and cushions designed to redistribute pressure. In addition, some bedsores require the use of special dressings to promote healing, while others may need antiseptic washes or antibiotics treatment to prevent further tissue damage and infection.
Summary: Bedsores form when individuals remain in one position long enough to wear away their skin cells; this leads to ulcers at pressure points on their body where the skin is in constant contact with a surface like bedding, a wheelchair, or a brace.
For patients in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities that cannot move around freely, bedsores are an all too common problem. Eventually, if not properly cared for, these ulcers can grow to severe stages threatening patient's lives.
Early signs of a pressure wound include reddening and blistering of the skin, which nurses and doctors can easily overlook unless they regularly check for them. Unfortunately, because it takes time to develop into a more severe stage, these ulcers often go untreated until they become life-threatening.
If caught early enough, simple steps like keeping the individual's skin clean, changing their position frequently, and using pillows and cushions designed to prevent pressure ulcers can decrease the likelihood of bedsores developing.
Nursing Home Abuse and Wrongful Death
Sadly, many cases involving nursing home abuse and wrongful death could have been prevented had someone intervened. Unfortunately, many nursing home patients are victimized by caregivers, administrators, doctors, nurses, employees, visitors, family members, and other residents in the facility.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), hundreds of thousands of elderly adults are victims of abuse, neglect, and exploitation each year. These types of mistreatment can lead to personal injury, illness, or even death of elderly individuals who had trusted their caretakers.
If someone you know has suffered serious injuries—or worse—while residing in a nursing home facility due to neglect, medical malpractice, physical abuse, financial exploitation by a caregiver or family member, contact our nursing home litigation today.
Surviving family members who lost a loved one through a preventable death can seek legal advice to file a civil wrongful death lawsuit citing abuse or neglect. Qualifying plaintiffs typically include spouses, children, parents, and grandparents, along with the decedent's estate.
Data reveals that properly 95% of these nursing homes cases are resolved out-of-court, providing sufficient financial compensation for all family members that include money for:
- Hospitalization costs and medical expenses
- Lost wages and future lost earnings when applicable
- Funeral & burial expenses
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- Loss of familial support
- Grief, mental anxiety, and emotional distress
- The decedent's pain-and-suffering before they passed
- The family's pain-and-suffering in losing a loved one
Contact our law offices now at (888) 424-5757 to discuss your case's merits. Note that there is a strict time limit based on the statute of limitations on how long you have to file your case before you lose the right to seek monetary recovery from those responsible for taking your loved one's life.
Dealing With Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse: What to Expect
If you or a loved one believe that your family member is experiencing nursing home abuse and neglect, there are some steps you can take to ensure their safety. First of all, immediately contact the local police department and file a report against the perpetrator. You should also contact Adult Protective Services or CPS to have someone investigate this claim.
If your loved one has been physically abused at the nursing home, you must immediately take them to an emergency room, even if they refuse medical treatment. If the injury is not life-threatening but still serious, take them to their primary care physician or another nursing facility.
If the neglect is dietary, you must talk with your loved one's doctor about having a proper nutrition plan. It should be done as soon as possible so that they can begin receiving proper nourishment.
If the nursing home staff exploits your family member financially, you must meet with their bank to take away their debit card and ATM privileges. In addition, you might need legal advice if your loved one has given the perpetrator power of attorney or access to their financial accounts.
There are many different ways that an older adult might be abused in a nursing home, but even more, resources are available for their loved ones. In addition, you can speak with an attorney about your case to ensure that the perpetrator will be held fully accountable for their actions and that your family member will receive all necessary medical attention moving forward.
Hiring a Champaign Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Are you the victim of nursing home abuse, or did you lose a loved one through the neglectful actions of caregivers, administrators, or other patients? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, we serve as legal advocates for every Illinois injured nursing home resident wanting justice.
Contact Champaign nursing home abuse lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form to schedule a free case evaluation. All confidential or sensitive information you share remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Our legal team accepts all personal injury claims and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This promise ensures you pay nothing until we resolve your case through a jury verdict or negotiated settlement. Our law firm is a member of the American Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.