To the tens of thousands of elderly individuals in Illinois and those who care for them, respite care is essential to maintaining quality of life and dignity in their final years. Respite care provides short-term care for the elderly to allow regular daily caregivers a chance to “take a break” or tackle other responsibilities.
Respite care programs provide companionship and monitor the activities of seniors over a short span of time. It offers regular caregivers free time and often a much-needed emotional and mental break. It also provides the elderly company to communicate and spend quality time with others for a few days. Medicare provides funding for respite care for a maximum of five days during every interval for elderly individuals currently involved in a hospice care program.
Suffering Injury During Respite Stay
When family members or loving friends allow respite care for their in-home patient there is a high level of expectation that adequate treatment will be provided while being cared for by other responsible parties. Because the traditional caregiver is turning responsibilities over to other providers for a short time, it is usually assumed that the elderly individual would not sustain injury during respite stay, or receive substandard care.
Unfortunately, a short-term stay nursing home injury is an all too often common occurrence caused by negligent staff and/or mismanagement. A short-term stay nursing home injury might involve physical, emotional, verbal, or even sexual abuse by others visiting, staying or working at the nursing home.
A respite care employee may be intentionally negligent in providing expected standards of care during the patient’s short-term stay. Physical abuse on the elderly is defined by an intentional use of force resulting in physical impairment, injury or pain. Physical assault can extend far beyond shoving or hitting, and involve the inappropriate use of confinement, restraint or medications.
The elderly individual can also be a victim of psychological or emotional abuse, where nursing home workers treat or speak to the patient in a way that causes distress or emotional pain. In incidences of emotional abuse, the elderly individual might be exposed to verbal and nonverbal forms including:
- Ridicule and/or humiliation
- Intimidation through threats or yelling
- Scapegoating or habitual blaming
- Ignoring the patient
- Using menacing or terrorizing behavior toward the patient
- Isolating the patient from activities or others
Sexual Abuse, Abandonment and Neglect
Respite care injured patients can also be victims of sexual abuse when other nursing home residents, visitors, strangers and caregivers make non-consensual sexual contact. In fact, there are other types of sexual abuse exposure than physical sexual acts. Activities including forcing the patient to witness sexual acts, showing pornographic material, or forcing patients to undress against their will are also considered sexual abuse of the elderly.
Abandonment or neglect by caregivers is also considered abuse when they failed to fulfill their duties and obligations of providing care. Neglectful actions or abandonment can be unintentional or intentional, based on a variety of factors including denial or ignorance that the patient needs the level of care they medically and physically require.
Signs and Symptoms Of Mistreatment For Family and Friends To Be Aware Of
Unfortunately, due to the nature of respite care, the traditional caregiver is usually not close by when the elderly individual is receiving care in a nursing home. However, there are specific signs of elder abuse that are obvious and sometimes inconspicuous. In general, elder abuse might be noticed through a change in behavior or personality in the patient. In addition, there may be frequent displays of tension or ongoing arguments between the nursing home caregiver and the elderly patient.
Physical abuse often exposes itself in unexplained welts, bruises or scarring, along with sprains and broken bones. Sometimes patients are overdosed or show signs of restraint including marks on the wrists. Sexual abuse is often displayed as bruising around the genitals or breast, unexplained anal or vaginal bleeding, and bloody, stain or torn underclothing.
Legal Options Available To Patients Injured Or Abused During A Short-Term Nursing Home Admission at an Illinois Facility
If your loved one received injury during respite stay or other type of short-term admission to an Illinois nursing home, it is imperative to speak with Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC to stop the negligence or abuse immediately. Our experienced nursing home injury attorneys can take the necessary actions to hold all responsible parties accountable for their inappropriate and despicable actions. Call (888) 424-5757 to speak with a lawyer about all the legal options available to the elderly abused victim and his or her family.