You’ve uncovered evidence that your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, either due to long term neglect or physical abuse exacted by one or more nursing home staff members. The first priority at this point is to stop the abuse and remove your loved one from the situation but you may not know where to turn or what your first step should be. You are not alone and the information presented here should allow you to take the first steps needed to protect your loved one and then to seek the justice that you deserve from whoever harmed the person you care about.
How to Notice Nursing Home Abuse
It is a sad fact that most acts of negligence and abuse that occur in nursing homes go unreported and this is often due to the inability of victims and their families to present substantial evidence or fear of negative consequences of taking legal action. If you notice that your loved one is being mistreated, it is important that you speak up and demand justice not only for your loved one, but for the others who may also be victims of the same types of abuse. In order to detect abuse, visit your loved one often and be on the watch for these symptoms.
- Emotional signs of abuse that includes sudden changes in demeanor, awkward silence around nursing home staff, depression and sudden bursts of anger.
- Physical marks such as bruises or cuts. The common locations of physical injuries occurring due to nursing home abuse include the wrists and ankles due to restraint and private areas in the event that the abuse is sexual.
- The development of bedsores. It takes a long period of neglect for most bedsores to develop and these sores are a manifestation of such inattention to your loved one’s needs.
- Onset of diseases and sudden development of infections. These may be due to inattention to hygiene or the result of microorganisms entering open wounds.
- Your loved one outright accuses the nursing staff of abuse.
Steps to Take to Ensure your Loved One’s Safety
If there are signs of physical abuse that is serious, your first step should be to contact the authorities immediately and to launch a criminal investigation. Contacting the police should be your first step in cases of this type of nursing home abuse. Calling 911 may be necessary and this option is best if you believe that your loved one is in a life threatening situation or the victim of ongoing abuse. In other cases, proving that your loved one is the victim of abuse or neglect may be more difficult and you can rely on other resources when considering your course of action.
- Nursing homes in Illinois are regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health as well as the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Care Financing Administration. You can visit the IDPH website online at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/ or you can call the Nursing Home Hotline by dialing 800-252-4343.
- The Illinois Department of Public Health is an excellent resource to lean on when moving your loved one away from an abusive situation as the department provides lists of nursing homes located throughout the state and includes reports on which homes have been found guilty of violating laws. This will help you make sure you are not moving your loved one from one abusive situation right into another.
- You may lean on the resources of others included in your loved one’s medical care such as his or her primary care physician, elder patient advocate or social worker. These professionals often have access to additional resources and will help you report any abuse. The only situation in which consulting these individuals is not a good idea is if they are involved in the abuse.
- Contacting a legal representative. Your first priority should be removing your loved one from the abusive situation but qualified nursing home abuse lawyers such as those available through Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have access to resources that will make it easy for you to get your loved one into a better situation. At the same time, your attorney can build a case for you while assisting your loved one with the transition into a new home.
For more information about how to protect your loved ones from nursing home neglect and abuse or for assistance in handling your nursing home abuse case, contact us for a confidential and risk free consultation. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers is a leading law firm in Chicago when it comes to representing the victims of nursing home abuse and has been able to find justice for hundreds of victims and their families. We take nursing home abuse seriously and our team includes medical professionals, social workers and expert attorneys.
Learn how our team can help your loved one through a transition into a safer environment and secure the maximum amount of compensation possible to ensure his or her needs will be met during his or her physical and emotional recovery. In the event we fail to collect on your behalf, our services are free.