Nursing home abuse and neglect affects the most vulnerable among us in Chicago every year. Unfortunately, a large percentage of abuse and neglect at nursing homes and assisted living facilities goes unreported every year.
Nursing homes that commit or enable abuses of residents at their facility are liable for the financial and personal consequences of the harms that their behavior inflicts. Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, or financial in nature. Neglect of a resident’s needs and rights, such as food, water, shelter, hygiene, medical care, privacy, and dignity are also forms of abuse.
If you have reason to believe that you or a loved one have suffered from neglect or abuse, reach out to Rhatigan Law Office’s experienced Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers. We can offer you a free initial case assessment with your first call to us at (312) 578-8502.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Chicago
When nursing home abuse or neglect is occurring, the most important first step is identifying it early to prevent additional damage from being done. However, it has been shown that a substantial number of instances of nursing home abuse go unreported, even for residents on Medicare or Medicaid. The reasons for this discrepancy vary. Some victims feel shame or guilt about coming forward, while others may not even realize or remember that the abuse has occurred.
If you have a family member or loved one in a nursing home that is exhibiting any of the following signs of nursing home abuse and neglect, reach out to a dedicated Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect attorney as soon as possible.
- Cuts and bruises
- Bedsores and rashes
- Broken bones
- Malnutrition or loss of appetite
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Changes in demeanor or affect
- Fatigue or insomnia
- Illness or infection
- Lack of hygiene
- Substance abuse
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Changes in finances or new bank accounts
Types of Nursing Home Abuse in Chicago
Nursing home abuse takes many different forms. Some abuse could be intentionally physical in nature. Staff members may take out their frustrations on residents, who are particularly vulnerable to harmful contact. Common instances of physical abuse include slapping, kicking, and pushing the resident down stairs.
The physical abuse could also be sexual in nature. These are among the least reported instances of nursing home abuse. Sexual abuse in nursing homes does not have to include direct physical contact; verbal sexual harassment will also create grounds for a lawsuit.
In fact, all verbal abuse will constitute nursing home abuse. Public shaming, humiliation, teasing, bullying, and deprivation of privacy can cause severe psychological distress in a resident. Though it does not leave a bruise, this type of behavior is certainly harmful and wrong, and deserves to be punished.
Nursing homes also provide an opportunity for financial predators to take advantage of residents and their assets. Many nursing homes maintain credit accounts for their residents to allow for them to make payments easily. However, these accounts are ripe for theft or embezzlement, particularly if the resident’s condition prevents them from keeping track of their finances.
Nursing Home Neglect in Chicago
Under Illinois law, nursing home neglect is considered to be abuse, just the same as any of the intentional forms of abuse covered above. Even if the neglect is not intentional, it can create liability for the nursing home.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nursing home neglect is the failure to meet the resident’s basic needs, such as adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, and medical care. Deprivation of any of these needs can result in the development of new health conditions or the exacerbation of existing ones.
However, these are not the only ways that a nursing home can be neglectful. The State of Illinois provides additional statutory protections of the rights of nursing home residents. Residents have the right to dignity and respect in care and the ability to make choices. Residents also have the right to accept or reject certain treatment plans and restraints. Residents have the right to privacy, which includes the ability to accept or reject visits from family or friends, make private phone calls, and prevent nursing home staff from entering their room without knocking first.
Violation of these rights and others that are provided to nursing home residents in Chicago and across the State of Illinois will likely result in liability for the physical and emotional consequences of the neglect. If you or a loved one have suffered from neglectful treatment at your facility, your seasoned Chicago nursing home abuse attorney will be able to help you evaluate your options for compensation.
Causes of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Chicago
Nursing home administrators are responsible for the hiring and training of their staff. Even if an individual staff member was responsible for the abusive or neglectful experience, the nursing home is most likely the liable party. Nursing homes that do not have enough staff, hire the wrong staff, or train their staff incorrectly will be liable for the consequences of their negligence.
Additionally, nursing homes in Illinois may be liable for the intentionally harmful physical behavior of staff members. In other contexts, courts might view the actions of an intentionally abusive employee as outside the scope of their employment, which would free the employer from liability. However, because nursing home staff are often required and even directed to make frequent physical contact with residents as part of their job responsibilities, the law provides an exception for nursing homes and assisted care facilities. Therefore, you should not worry that you will not be able to recover the compensation you deserve from your lawsuit, as you likely won’t have to name the individual staff member, but rather the facility as a whole.
Discuss Your Case with a Chicago Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer for Free
When you need reliable legal assistance, you can pick up the phone and call the seasoned Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Rhatigan Law Offices at (312) 578-8502 for a free initial case assessment.