Dementia and Alzheimer's Patients Injuries in Nursing Homes
Patients with dementia and neurological disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, are often taken advantage of and neglected because their abusers believe that they can attribute any claims of abuse to the victim's condition.
The Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC believe that any form of neglect or abuse toward our elderly should be subject to swift and strict justice.
When we trust others with the care of the people who we love, there is always a reasonable expectation that the people caring for them will provide attentive and quality care in a safe environment.
If we believe that your loved one is the victim of abuse, our law firm will assist you in removing him or her from the harmful environment. We will aggressively pursue compensation from the negligent nursing home. If we are unable to recover compensation on your behalf, our services will be free of charge.
Dementia Patients at Elevated Risk of Abuse
Patients with dementia are less aware of what is happening to them and might be more susceptible to suggestion. Their vulnerability makes them ideal victims for swindlers after their money.
Some residents with dementia are emotionally or physically abused and then accused by their abusers of making up lies when they attempt to report the mistreatment.
Some of the forms our Illinois nursing home injury lawyers have seen include:
- Nursing home neglect — Some caregivers neglect patients with dementia due to understaffing or inadequate training. Patients suffering from neurological disorders are neglected could wander off, harm themselves, or become depressed.
- Physical abuse — There is no excuse for physically abusing an elderly patient. Some patients with dementia have outbursts or mood swings, and caregivers might respond by restraining or threatening the resident. Physical abuse Could include excessive restraint and other forms of violence against the victim.
- Sexual abuse — Patients with dementia are at higher risk of being victims of sexual abuse, and the perpetrators could be residents at the same facility, staff members, or visitors. These patients must be adequately supervised to ensure their safety.
- Verbal and emotional abuse — In many injury cases of neglect or abuse, the abuser will threaten or verbally abuse the victim to keep him or her silent and compliant. This mistreatment can lead to mood swings, depression, aggressiveness, social withdrawal, outbursts, and changes in sleeping habits.
- Financial abuse — Patients with dementia are at a much higher risk of suffering from financial abuse than other nursing patients. The abuser might take advantage of their confusion and obtain information needed to steal from the victim.
Nursing Home Dementia Patient Accident FAQs
Dementia is a category of diseases but often used to describe Alzheimer's disease and other conditions with the claiming cognitive abilities and memory loss. Some of the common questions involving nursing home dementia accidents include:
Why do Dementia Patients Fall?
Every nursing home resident has unique risk factors based on individual health problems that could cause them to fall. Unfortunately, individuals with dementia have a heightened risk of falling due to medical conditions that affect muscle strength, balance, and mobility.
Additionally, people with dementia also suffer from confusion and disorientation that could affect their ability to prevent falls.
What are the Signs of a Dementia Patient Dying?
Many patients with dementia exhibit specific symptoms and signs while dying. Some of the signs include profound weakness, difficulty swallowing, a gaunt appearance, reduced awareness, drowsiness, a lack of intake of fluids and foods, and requiring assistance with all care.
Other symptoms include disorientation to place or time, restlessness, and agitation. Nearly all patients with dementia when dying will have difficulty concentrating or will lose consciousness or change his or her breathing patterns.
How Long Does it Take a Dementia Patient to Adjust to a Nursing Home?
It often takes a significant amount of time for a dementia patient to adjust or become accustomed to the new environment. Nearly all patients go through an adaptation face that could take up to six months or longer.
Typically, the new resident struggles to adapt to new expectations and rules provided by the nursing home staff. Other patients might never fully adapt to their new home.
Can a Dementia Patient Died Suddenly?
Some older people with dementia suffer from other medical conditions that might not be as obvious due to their impaired interaction with those in their surroundings. Many acute illnesses, including pneumonia, sepsis (blood infection), or osteomyelitis (bone infections), could claim his or her life unexpectedly.
What are the Signs of End-Stage Dementia?
Advanced Alzheimer's disease and other dementia in their final stages are often recognized by the signs associated with the condition. According to the National Institute on Aging, the patient with end-stage dementia cannot move without assistance or eat without difficulty in swallowing.
Other residents need assistance with most activities of daily living, including self-care and hygiene. Some people with dementia cannot speak or make themselves understood during the end-stage of their dementia.
Can Dementia get Worse Suddenly?
Some conditions have a severe effect on the progression of dementia that comes on gradually or suddenly. Vascular dementia can get worse over time. However, there are available treatments to slow down the progression.
Nursing Home Dementia Patient Injury Claims and Awards
$500,000 Illinois Settlement; Nursing Home Dementia Accident
One day, during lunch, the nursing home facility staff left an older woman with dementia in her mid-80s fell down and injured herself. When she got up and walked around without any assistance, she fell and hurt her head.
A piece of metal cut across her scalp. Doctors determined that the fall caused a brain hemorrhage that led to her death.
The event incurred about $60,000 of medical bills. The woman's children paid for her funeral and burial expenses and were left with the pain of her passing. The adult children filed a civil lawsuit against the nursing center to recover their damages.
The plaintiffs (adult children) sought compensation for economic, emotional, and other losses. To avoid a long and expensive trial, the defendant (nursing home) settled the matter for a reported $500,000.
$625,000 Illinois Settlement; Nursing Home Dementia Fall Accident
The Illinois nursing facility staff did not implement a bed alarm or other warning feature so that an eighty-four-year-old victim with the specific form of dementia could quickly call for help. Consequently, when needing the washroom one night, she got up and tried to help herself after calling for help.
The staff thought that she would have called them with their lighting system, but she did not. The older woman fell and broke her trochanter, near the thigh bones.
Later, her representatives claimed that the severe injuries from this event caused or contributed to her subsequent passing. They sought damages for negligence and wrongful death.
The defendant replied that the elderly victim did not use the systems as they designed. However, the nursing home's defense fell apart after her estate lawyers showed that she had a cognitive decline.
The defendant agreed to settle. The plaintiffs obtained a reported $625,000 to settle the decedent's case involving broken bones.
$700,000 Chicago Settlement; Nursing Home Dementia Neglect Case
A ninety-year-old long-term care facility resident with dementia and other health issues fell on several occasions at the nursing home. The woman's representatives claimed that she fell eight or nine times over four years.
Her representatives attributed these accidents to a lack of supervision and resources from the nursing facility, as well as her apparent mental handicap. On her last fall, she broke her femur and required surgery and then rehabilitation.
However, she died roughly three months later. Her estate lawyers filed a lawsuit against the facility making several claims, including negligent care.
The plaintiffs' lawyers stated she lived a worse quality of life from her falls, racked up more medical bills, and died sooner than she otherwise would have. The plaintiffs' lawyers charged the defendant (nursing center) with responsibility for these harms and sought compensation.
In the end, the facility reportedly paid the plaintiffs $700,000 in a private settlement.
$972,000 Illinois Verdict; Nursing Home Dementia Neglect Accident
By all accounts, an Illinois elderly nursing home resident lived accident-free at the same facility for over ten years despite suffering from such conditions as depression and dementia.
However, one day in her early nineties, she fell while unsupervised. Due to the neglect, the staff did not notice her until the early hours of the morning. The nursing staff sent the victim to the hospital immediately after she was found in a pool of her blood.
Doctors found bruising, broken vertebra, and a hematoma. Due to her age, they did not recommend surgery. Instead, the physician's ordered that the patient receive long-term palliative (comfort) measures and rehabilitation. She died less than a day later.
Her family filed a lawsuit on her behalf against the nursing home. The facility vigorously defended its side in court, arguing that this fall was not their fault and that they did everything by the book.
Yet, jurors awarded the plaintiffs almost one million dollars for the loss of life, lost society, grief, suffering, disfigurement, pain, emotional trauma, and wrongful death.
What You can do if You Suspect Mistreatment of Your Family Member
Every family member has the right to investigate any incident you believe is abusive or negligent. The state legislature passed the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act to protect a vulnerable nursing home patient's rights to be free of mistreatment. These rights include managing personal finances, rights to personal property, rights to medical care, and the refusal of medical treatment.
You might believe that your loved one is the victim of elder home negligence or abusive behavior. Some of the signs of mistreatment that require investigation include:
- There are physical signs of abuse, like bruises or marks on your loved one's wrists, ankles, arms, or genitals.
- Your loved one suffers from sudden mood swings, which are not typical of previous behavior (possible psychological abuse).
- The victim as accused a staff member or another resident of physical, verbal, or sexual abuse (possible elder abuse).
- Your loved one is suddenly silent when a caregiver or other resident is present (possible home abuse).
- Nurse aides failed to provide the elderly resident with adequate supervision that led to elopement (wandering away) from the home facility.
- The staff members took photographs or videos of an older adult and shared the pictures on social media (possible nursing home negligence or psychological abuse).
- Disabled home residents and older adults at the home facility develop preventable bedsores because nursing home staff did not satisfy the patient's medical needs.
The state's Department of Public Health is responsible for ensuring that every nursing facility complies with the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. The government agency offers access to a 24-hour hotline at (800) 252-4343 to receive complaints and hear concerns by family members, friends, and visitors of patients in nursing facilities.
The Alzheimer's Association encourages family members and visitors to speak up about the nursing home resident's rights and participate in their health care. If you are concerned that negligence and abuse are occurring, gather as much evidence and information as feasible and write down the location, time, and date where the incident occurred.
Talk to the Administrator and ask what steps will be taken immediately to ensure the patient remains safe from now on. Finally, speak to an assisted living facility attorney who can help take legal action to stop the mistreatment now.
Hiring a Nursing Home Dementia Patient Injury Attorney
The experienced Chicago negligence attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can help you determine whether your loved one is a victim of senior home neglect or abuse. Our award-winning firm has successfully represented hundreds of victims of negligent or abusive behavior.
Our nursing home abuse lawyers can ensure that the facility and caregivers tasked with providing your loved one's care are held responsible for their actions. Contact our home abuse lawyers at (888) 424-5757 today to arrange a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Chicago elder home abuse attorneys.
Let our personal injury lawyers take immediate action to stop the home abuse now. We will help you identify the signs of abuse, launch a thorough investigation into the matter, and review all your legal options. Call our personal injury attorneys today at 888-424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or contact form to schedule a free case evaluation.
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