Springfield Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Nursing home abuse is a serious problem in the United States. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), as many as 10% of nursing home residents are victims of abuse and neglect each year.
If you suspect your loved one may have been abused or neglected, contact the personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC immediately so we can help you. We can determine if there has been an incident of nursing home abuse or neglect.
Call a Springfield, IL personal injury lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. We will work with you every step of the way to ensure your family member receives fair treatment and justice for any harm they might have suffered at the hands of others.
According to the AARP, nearly 1 in 10 nursing home residents are abused each year. That translates into more than 200,000 cases of elder abuse every single year.
There are many types of elder abuse and neglect, including physical, sexual, emotional, and financial. It can take place in any nursing home - hospital-based or private care center.
Our law firm provides legal advice and representation to help you prevent this from happening by giving you tips on how to stay vigilant when choosing a nursing home for your loved one.
For example, we can help determine what questions you should ask while touring facilities, what things you should look out for before signing the contract, how to avoid being scammed by these places, etc.
Springfield, IL, is the third and current capital of the State of Illinois and the home of President Abraham Lincoln. It is the sixth most populous city in the state, boasting over 117,000 people, and its economy is driven primarily by tourism and politics.
Detecting and Responding to Abuse or Neglect at a Central Illinois Nursing Home
If your loved one is the victim of abuse, they may be too ashamed or afraid to let you know of the abuse they are experiencing. However, it is vital to contact an Illinois personal injury lawyer right away and create a plan to move your loved one out of their negative environment should they begin withdrawing from others.
Moreover, experiencing sudden mood swings shows physical symptoms of being restrained or assaulted or develops bedsores.
The following scenarios are all worthy of investigation and indicative of the complaints most common for the central Illinois area:
- Your loved one develops bedsores: Patients who have problems independently moving are at the highest risk of developing bedsores. Regardless of what a nursing facility's management may tell you, these sores are easily prevented and a sign of neglect on the part of the home's staff. Moving a patient one every one to two hours is a sufficient measure to prevent bedsores.
- Your loved one exhibits symptoms of malnutrition or dehydration: These symptoms include lethargy, changes in mood, multiple infections over a short time, low body temperature, dizziness, fainting, and excessive thirst.
- Your loved one suffers from mysterious infections: There are numerous ways bacteria can spread between patients within a nursing home. Therefore, every nursing home must execute plans to prevent the spread of bacterial infections and other diseases. Unsanitary living conditions, poor hygiene, and the improper treatment of wounds such as bedsores can all be causes of an infection.
- Your loved one is the victim of physical or emotional abuse: The signs of physical or sexual assaults can be easier to detect than emotional abuse. For example, marks on the wrists, ankles, or near the genitals are the most apparent abuse symptoms and broken bones. Still, sudden changes in mood, erratic behavior, and remaining silent in the presence of caregivers can all be indicators that you need to investigate the situation further.
Lawyers Committed to Protecting the Rights of Illinois Nursing Care Patients
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC believes that the most critical step to take following the suspicion that your loved one is the victim of abuse is to confirm the abuse and remove them from the harmful environment.
Our Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers would be happy to help you with the transition that must occur when moving your elderly loved one out of an inadequate nursing home and into one that will provide the quality care they deserve. Finally, we would be happy to fight on behalf of your loved one to ensure that the people responsible for their serious injuries pay for what they have done.
Our associates' law firm has successfully recovered compensation for hundreds of victims of nursing home negligence and helped them recover from the physical and emotional trauma they have endured.
Contact us today to arrange a free consultation with Sangamon County. Nursing home attorneys will learn what steps you should take to protect your elderly loved one and what legal options are available to you. Should we be unable to collect compensation for you, our time and services will cost nothing.
A Brief History of Springfield, Illinois
The city had very humble beginnings as the settlement of Senator John C. Calhoun from South Carolina and was founded as Calhoun in 1818. The first cabin was built along the Sangamon River, and the settlement attracted settlers from Kentucky, Virginia, and the Carolinas due to its rich and fertile soil.
By the end of the Black Hawk War, John C. Calhoun had become a figure of disdain rather than a hero. As a result, the city sought to rename itself after Springfield, Massachusetts, a thriving and prosperous industrial center in the east at that time. The name was officially changed in 1832.
In 1831, Abraham Lincoln first arrived in the city, but he did not set up his residence until 1837. He led the effort to establish the city as the third capital of Illinois and succeeded in 1839, only two years later.
Abraham Lincoln went to law school and spent 24 years of his political career in the city. Upon being elected the sixteenth President of the United States, he left and gave his Lyceum Address in the city just before departing. Historians maintain that this speech was and should always be considered a classic speech in American oratory.
The area was a strategic and political asset throughout the Civil War, mostly due to President Lincoln's roots. Ulysses S. Grant trained Union Infantry regiments, and the Illinois regiments trained there were responsible for numerous victories in 1861 and 1862. In addition, railroads were built through the city to help support the war effort through the movement of supplies and forces via rail, and the city welcomed commerce and industry.
The Culture and Literary Tradition of Central Illinois
In addition to being a center of political activity, the city has been home to numerous individuals who have made academic, literary, and social contributions throughout history. For example, the acclaimed poet Vachel Lindsay and astronomer Seth Barnes Nicholson were both born there, and it was home to the labor activist John L. Lewis.
The Illinois State Library's Gwendolyn Brooks Building displays the names of thirty-five prominent Illinoisan authors, and the building itself maintains the works of countless writers. The latter had lived in the city, including Edgar Lee Masters, Virginia Eiffert, John Hay, and William Maxwell.
The city is also home to the Hoogland Center for the Arts, which is home to the Springfield Theatre Centre, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Springfield Municipal Opera, and the Springfield Ballet Company. The University of Illinois at Springfield provides an additional venue for musicians and performers.
Economy and Demographics
The city's population comprises white professionals - over 75% of the population is white. The state government is the city's primary employer and provides jobs to over 17,500 people. Healthcare and education make up a significant portion of the economy, and the Memorial Medical Center employs almost 6,000 workers. St. John's Hospital contributes another 3,200 jobs to healthcare professionals.
The University of Illinois at Springfield and Southern Illinois University School are the primary employers working in higher education. In addition, the Springfield Public School system provides opportunities to thousands of young teachers.
The city's political roots and academic institutions allowed it to diversify its economy during the recession when many jobs centered in the industry began to go away.
Recognizing Nursing Home Negligence
Unfortunately, many families find out about their elderly loved one's neglect only when there is a significant change in their medical condition, or they display clear indications of mistreatment.
The first step in preventing negligence is to detect it in a nursing home. However, because those unfamiliar with the requirements and standards of nursing homes would not be aware of negligence, it may appear difficult or obvious.
Signs of nursing care neglect that aren't apparent include:
Staffing Issues in Nursing Homes
The growing demand for medical care and the increasingly aging population has led to nursing homes.
While this means more facilities are available to those requiring assisted living and long-term care, it also increases the chances of neglect occurring due to overworked nursing home staff members and understaffing issues. Any caregiver may become overworked and overwhelmed with the increased practice regardless of whether an employee is an RN, LPN, CNA, or another type of staff member.
While additional staffing may reduce the risk of neglect, it would also lead to a higher cost for care and an increased burden on nursing homes that are already operating understaffed due to a lack of qualified employees.
Caregiver burnout is a common problem in long-term nursing facilities, often leading caregivers to become neglectful of their duties or even abusive toward patients, just wishing that their shift will end so that they can go home.
Burnout is often due to understaffing and caregiver overload issues. This burnout may be due to the stress of watching patients suffer from chronic illnesses, no thanks to understaffing. It could also be because of caregivers' lack of respect for their work without adequate training or compensation.
Poor Hygiene, Filth, and Unsanitary Situations
Nursing homes frequently overlook the facility's cleanliness and mismanage food services. Furthermore, such institutions are often short on housekeeping personnel to guarantee that patient rooms are adequately cleaned.
Sanitation problems can be caused by various causes, including insufficient personnel or training for caregivers or staff.
Inadequate Bed Safety Precautions
In most cases, equipment failure or malfunction is caused by nursing home neglect. Serious injuries can occur when a resident falls from beds, chairs, and other furnishings.
Always keep machinery that moves patients between locations locked when it is not in use to avoid accidents.
Lack of Possession of Required Resources
Nursing homes must have all supplies and equipment needed for daily activities and care at their disposal and nursing home staff trained to use them appropriately.
Supplies should include first-aid kits, CPR masks, oxygen tanks, medications, medical charts for each patient's progress reports, a defibrillator unit/monitor, blood sugar testers/monitors, sanitized dishes, and utensils for food service or feeding patients with feeding tubes.
Incorrectly Filling Medication Prescriptions
Medication errors frequently occur in nursing homes due to inadequate monitoring of prescriptions as it is being filled.
Nursing homes are responsible for ensuring that prescriptions are properly tended to throughout the entire process, from the moment they are prescribed until the nursing home resident is discharged. It includes taking proper safety measures when dispensing medication and checking medications before giving them to patients to avoid mix-ups or duplication of prescriptions.
Frequently, if a nursing home or assisted living facility neglects any one of these responsibilities, it may be categorized as nursing home negligence. Those who suspect their elderly loved ones have been victims of such actions should immediately speak with an attorney to initiate legal action against the liable parties involved.
A Lack of Proper Training
Nursing homes must provide staff with proper training on the care they are responsible for providing patients, including basic nursing skills and CPR and first-aid certification.
An insufficient amount of training or teaching nursing home staff members with less experience the skills required to provide care is a sign that negligence may be occurring.
Lack of Care for Nursing Home Residents
While neglect does not always mean physical abuse or injury, it can also include withholding necessities such as food, water, and cleanliness. In addition, this type of neglect is categorized as passive neglect, which means residents are left without human contact or interaction regularly.
Nursing Home Neglect Cases Increasing in Complexity
As caregiving centers grow more advanced technologically, nursing home residents often require increased levels of care. Many patients come into these nursing homes already confined to wheelchairs, beds, walkers/crutches, etc., making them easy victims of physical abuse (although mental abuse is also an alarmingly common problem).
The most common types of nursing home abuse are physical, emotional/psychological, sexual, and financial. Many cases involve more than one type of maltreatment occurring at the same time.
Physical Abuse - Any act inflicts pain or injury upon a patient without bringing about any substantial gain for the abuser. Abuse could include:
- Pulling or tearing hair or clothing
- Throwing things at patients
- Pushing them into objects/furniture to inflict injury on them
- Burning with cigarettes or cigars on purpose
- Suffocating them by blocking their paths with chairs or other barriers so they cannot breathe freely
- Withholding food from seniors who require assistance eating it properly (for safety purposes), etc.
Emotional/Psychological Abuse - Any act that exerts undue mental control over a patient, causing them to feel threatened and endangered. It may include
- Humiliating the individual
- Mocking them and reducing their self-worth
- Withholding certain forms of basic human contact
- Subjecting patients to solitary confinement or unnecessary seclusion (e.g., locking them in small rooms without furniture)
- Denying requests for help with basic activities such as eating/bathing/using the bathroom when necessary
Sexual Abuse: Any form of sexual exploitation or forced sexual behavior obtained from another person through intimidation or coercion is considered an act of sexual misconduct. It includes non-consensual touching and groping during examinations, making suggestive remarks about body parts or genitals, sexually-based jokes/insults that are humiliating to the patient.
Financial Exploitation: This type of nursing home abuse includes making an elderly individual give money or other assets to another person, whether for their gain or otherwise.
Nursing home negligence cases are some of the most complex legal battles because they can include multiple types of abuse occurring at once. If your elderly loved one is a victim in such circumstances, you should not hesitate to seek help from an attorney immediately.
Condition of Participation Regulation
The Department of Health and Human Services is the federal agency that administers a rule known as "Condition of Participation" (CoP). This rule requires that all nursing homes receiving federal funding (including Medicare/Medicaid) provide residents with proper care services.
A CoP violation can be issued against the nursing home for many reasons, including if the nursing home fails to meet all of the standards set forth by the government.
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act requires every Illinois nursing home to have a current Patients' Rights Plan. CMS defines a nursing home resident's rights plan as "a document designed to communicate the basic services, activities and opportunities available to each resident for independent living, including those appropriate or desirable under applicable State laws."
Though this requirement does not mean that every nursing home has to develop its own individualized patients' rights plan for its residents, they must have an outline to know what needs to be included.
This outline may include items such as:
- What opportunities are available within the nursing home
- What outside agencies are available
- How transportation is provided
- The procedures for filing grievances
- Staff responsibilities
- Any other information the state requires
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act provides residents the right to refuse medical treatment, the right to be free from unreasonable restraint, and the right to be free from abuse and neglect. In addition, an injured nursing home resident or their attorney can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.
The Negative Effects of Nursing Home Incompetence
When nurses fail to provide consistent care or no medical treatment, nursing home abuse and neglect victims suffer catastrophic consequences of premature death.
In particular, insufficient daily care can lead to a patient's health deteriorating in dangerous ways. Elderly individuals, especially physically disabled or mentally challenged with Alzheimer's disease, suffer the most from this type of damage.
The inability to get proper treatment is only one of many nursing home abuse problems that can arise. Far more frequently is when victims become the focus of psychological/emotional harm instead.
It means they are not offered any social activities or opportunities for group interactions or entertainment events. Many nursing homes even prohibit contact between patients and family members because it gives them too much freedom to communicate about maltreatment issues behind closed doors.
Medicare and Medicaid Services Say Nearly All Bedsores Are Preventable
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is very concerned about the care of patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. The agency claims that nearly 100 percent of pressure ulcers are due to human error or lack of diligence on the medical staff.
Pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores or pressure sores, are skin lesions that occur when someone's skin is subjected to constant pressure. Most of these lesions appear over bony areas where the most weight rests.
Pressure wounds cause pain and can increase the risk for infection. In addition, dehydration can worsen these lesions because it leads to fragile skin that tears more easily.
The moisture-retaining properties of a person's skin vary widely depending on age and medical conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease. Layers of fat under the skin also play a role in whether a person is likely to develop bedsore after lying down for an extended period.
Most patients who have been hospitalized will develop at least one bedsore during their stay, and some patients will develop several bed sores. In addition, about 50 percent of those who lie in bed for an extended period will develop a pressure sore; the risk rises if they take steroid medication or recently had surgery.
Protecting an Elderly Loved One Using a Personal Injury Attorney to Stop the Neglect, Mistreatment, or Abuse
Families placing their loved ones in a long-term care facility want to ensure that they are receiving proper care. However, once elderly abuse or neglect has been identified, immediate intervention is required.
Typically, the only option is to hire a personal injury attorney specializing in nursing home abuse or neglect cases. A competent lawyer can hold the caregiver, administrator, doctor, nurse, or nursing home legally and financially accountable.
Many clients have gotten compensation for injuries caused by others after consulting with us. Allow us to put our knowledge and resources to good use in your lawsuit now.
Hire a Springfield Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer to Handle your Compensation Case
Was your elderly loved one a victim of nursing home neglect, maltreatment, abuse, or neglect? Our legal team at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC is eager to battle aggressively on behalf of every neglected or abused nursing home patient because they are their legal advocates.
Don't hesitate to get in touch with a Springfield nursing home abuse lawyer straight away by calling (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or completing the contact form to schedule a free case evaluation.
Allow us to talk about your legal options for getting financial recovery compensation and pursuing justice for the damage you've received.
All confidential or sensitive information you communicate with your nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys is protected by an attorney-client relationship. Our legal team will provide legal resources, review your medical records, and initiate a claim based on nursing home abuse and neglect.
Our nursing home attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis for all Springfield home abuse cases and wrongful death claims. This promise ensures that you will not have to pay your personal injury lawyer anything until we win your case or reach a settlement through negotiations.
Family members who lost a loved one have the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the Springfield, IL nursing home, doctors, nurses, or other health care providers responsible for elder abuse.