legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
When we decide to place an aging family member in a Chicago nursing home, we expect that the medical staff will properly care for them and meet their needs. Tragically, neglect and outright abuse of nursing home residents have become all too common in nursing homes throughout Chicago and nationwide.
While state and federal regulations are in place to protect vulnerable elders, our Chicago, Illinois, law offices have seen a significant increase in cases involving abuse, neglect, and mistreatment of patients in nursing homes in the Chicagoland area and throughout Illinois.
Was your loved one abused in a nursing home? If so, the affiliate Illinois personal injury attorneys from Nursing Home Law Center, LLC, can provide the guidance, legal advice, and support needed during this difficult time. Our legal team can help you file a claim against the nursing home facility and may be able to recover compensation for your loved one's injuries.
Contact our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers at (800) 926-7565 or use the contact form for additional information and answers, or schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Nursing home abuse is a serious issue that often goes unreported. Abuse survivors are often reluctant to come forward because they are scared of retaliation or they don't think anyone will believe them.
Each year, the thousands of nursing home patients who are abused, neglected, and mistreated feel scared, alone, and confused about what to do. Many victims' families don't know where to turn for help.Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect: An Ongoing Concern
In 2014, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reported that almost 2 million cases of elder abuse were reported in nursing homes nationwide. However, this number is believed to be just a fraction of the actual abuse that occurs.
Nursing home neglect and abuse remain serious problems where victims often find it difficult to deal with alone. It is crucial to understand the signs of nursing home abuse and know what to do if you suspect your loved one is a victim.Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Statistics
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), there were 3,660 complaints of abuse, neglect, and mistreatment in nursing homes across the state in 2017. This number represents an increase from 3,479 complaints in 2016.
Of the complaints filed in 2017 against nursing homes, 1,209 were substantiated after an investigation. The most common type of abuse was emotional abuse, followed by physical abuse, financial exploitation, and neglect.
The IDPH report also found that there were:
- 1,073 complaints of physical abuse
- 901 complaints of neglect
- 636 complaints of financial exploitation
- 572 complaints of emotional abuse
Chicago is the third-largest city in the United States and the most populous city in Illinois. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 2.7 million people reside within the Chicago city limits, and almost ten million live in the greater metropolitan area.
Approximately 317,500 city residents are over the age of sixty-five. The aging population has placed demands on facilities responsible for providing residential nursing care to the elderly in and around Chicago.
Do you suspect your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect in Illinois? If so, it's vital to contact experienced nursing home abuse lawyers immediately who can intervene and stop the disabled or elder abuse before severe injuries claim the life of your family member.What Is Nursing Home Abuse?
Abuse can be subtle or overt, and it can happen anywhere – even in the most well-respected nursing home facilities. Unfortunately, abuse is often perpetrated by the very people who are supposed to be caring for nursing home or assisted living facility residents.
Nursing home abuse can take many forms, but it generally falls into one of five categories: physical, sexual, emotional/psychological, or financial abuse, and negligence.
- Physical abuse could involve a nursing home resident being hurt by someone intentionally, with physical injuries from hitting, slapping, shoving, kicking, or using unauthorized restraints.
- Sexual abuse is any type of non-consensual sexual activity between a nursing home patient and a staff member, visitor, or another patient. The sexual abuse might involve rape, sodomy, oral sex, forced masturbation, or forcing victims to watch others performing sexual acts or unwanted touching. Some patients acquire a sexually transmitted disease from the predator.
- Emotional/psychological abuse often harms a nursing home patient who is verbally or emotionally mistreated. Verbal abuse might involve name-calling, threats, intimidation, and isolation.
- Financial abuse could involve someone at the facility stealing or misusing a nursing home resident's money or property. This abuse might involve cashing checks without permission, using a credit card without permission, or taking money from a resident's bank account.
- Negligence - Some forms of mistreatment do not involve intentional harm, but result from the nursing home staff member neglecting the patient's needs and medical requirements. This type of harm can create long-term health consequences.
Many victims injured in nursing homes are harmed by elder abuse where the person is subjected to physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and financial exploitation.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elder abuse is "a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person."Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
The signs of nursing home abuse can vary, depending on the type of abuse. However, there are some general signs that may indicate abuse is occurring.
These signs include:
- Bruises, cuts, or welts
- Broken bones
- Bed sores
- Unexplained weight loss
- Changes in behavior
- Withdrawn or depressed mood
Have you noticed any of these signs? Speak up and take action.Signs of Negligence
The signs of nursing home neglect can be more subtle than the signs of abuse, but they can be just as harmful. Nursing home negligence often occurs when the facility is understaffed or the staff is not properly trained. As a result, patients' needs are not met in a timely manner and their health suffers.
Signs of nursing home negligence include:
- Unsanitary conditions - Poor personal hygiene or living in filth with dirty clothes or linens could be a sign that the facility is not being properly cleaned
- Substandard living conditions in an environment that exposes the patient to harm could be a sign that the facility is not being properly maintained
- Unsafe conditions - tripping hazards, unclean bathrooms, or exposed electrical outlets could put Illinois nursing home residents at risk for injury
- Poorly trained staff - Any nursing home staff members who seem inexperienced or unable to answer your questions could be a sign that they are not properly trained to provide adequate care to disabled and elderly residents
- Lack of supervision - if patients are left alone for long periods in nursing homes and assisted living facilities or there is a high turnover of staff, it could be a sign of a lack of supervision
- Unsuitable food could lead to malnutrition and dehydration
- Medication errors could severely harm the patients if they receive the wrong drug, the wrong dose, or if their medication is not properly monitored
- A lack of social interaction is not only cruel but could lead to the resident's deteriorating physical and emotional health
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), bed sores that develop while a patient is in an Illinois nursing home facility or hospital are "never events," meaning they should never occur if the staff is following skin care protocols.
Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers, occur when a patient is left in one position for too long and the pressure cuts off blood flow to the area. Pressure wounds can happen even if the patient is not immobile if they are not properly positioned in their bed or chair.
When blood flow is cut off, the tissue dies, and a pressure ulcer forms. Pressure ulcers can be extremely painful and lead to serious health complications, including:
- Infection occurs as a result of the open wound
- Tissue death can lead to gangrene, which can lead to life-threatening injuries
- Bone infection (osteomyelitis) can occur if the pressure ulcer goes deep enough to reach the bone
- Blood infection (sepsis) is a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur when an infection spreads throughout the body
According to the National Institutes of Health, there are multiple stages of pressure ulcers:
- Stage I - The skin is not broken but is red and irritated
- Stage II - The skin breaks open, exposing the underlying tissue
- Stage III - The sore deepens, and the tissue damage extends to the fat below the skin
- Stage IV - The deepest layers of muscle and bone are exposed
- Unstageable - A degrading open wound can become unstageable when debris or necrotic (dead) tissue fills the crater so a wound care specialist cannot accurately assess the severity of the pressure ulcer
- Deep Tissue Injury - This is when damage to the tissue extends below the subcutaneous layer of skin, and a deep indentation in the flesh is visible. The area around the wound may be discolored or bruised
If you notice any bed sores on your loved one, it's important to take action and contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible.
The most serious pressure ulcers are those that reach Stage III or Stage IV. In many nursing home abuse cases, a Stage IV could lead to death within hours or days when sepsis, gangrene, or osteomyelitis is present.
These wounds can take weeks or even months to heal, and they often leave permanent scarring. Patients residing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities are at a higher risk for developing bed sores because they are often frail and immobile.
The nursing staff is responsible for repositioning patients every two hours to prevent pressure ulcers from forming.When Medication Errors Are a Sign of Nursing Home Negligence
Medication mistakes are one of the most common types of medical errors, and they can have serious or even life-threatening consequences for Illinois nursing home patients.
Some common medication mistakes include:
- The staff gives the patient the wrong drug
- The staff gives the resident the wrong dose
- The patient does not receive the medication at the proper time
- There is a change in the patient's condition that requires a change in medication, but the staff does not make the necessary changes
- The monitoring of laboratory values and other diagnostic tests that could affect the dosing or type of medication is not performed properly
Patients with multiple chronic conditions may be on several different medications, which increases the risk for errors. Medication errors can also occur when patients are transferred to another facility, such as a hospital or rehabilitation center.
If you believe that your loved one has been the victim of a medication error, it's important to contact experienced nursing home abuse lawyers as soon as possible.
Nursing home staff are expected to follow certain protocols to prevent bed sores from forming. When the nursing home fails to provide necessary medical treatment and care, the owner, administrator and staff might be guilty of negligence.Nursing Home Deaths and Severe Injuries From Falls
According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), one in three adults aged 65 and over falls each year. Many of these injured elders develop severe medical conditions in the days, weeks, and years later as a result of the fall or being dropped.
Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among older adults. In fact, falls are responsible for more than 8 million hospital visits each year.
Most falls occur in the home, but nursing home residents are also at risk due to their age and frailty. Generally, nursing home residents are two to three times more likely to fall than people who live in the community.
Falls can lead to serious injuries, including:
- Hip fractures
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
Falls are the leading cause of death from injury among older adults
Nursing homes have a duty to protect their residents from preventable injuries, including falls. When nursing homes fail to do this, they can be held liable for the injuries and damages that result.What Causes Nursing Home Falls?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 30 percent of nursing home residents fall each year. There are many factors that can contribute to nursing home falls, including:
- Poorly designed or maintained facilities
- Cluttered rooms and hallways
- Medication side effects
- Poorly trained staff
- Inadequate supervision
Falls are often preventable if nursing homes take the necessary precautions. When nursing homes fail to do this, they can be held liable for the injuries and damages that result.
If you have a loved one who has been injured in a fall at a nursing home, don't hesitate to contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyers at our firm have experience handling all types of nursing home abuse cases and we can help you get the justice and compensation your loved one deserves.How to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Preventing nursing home abuse and neglect starts with finding a senior care home or skilled nursing facility you can trust. When you're looking for a nursing home or wanting to relocate a loved one, take the time to visit several facilities before making a final decision.
You should also:
- Check the Medicare.gov website for health inspections and complaints. The site lists all historical violations and citations of problems that have been found in Illinois nursing homes.
- Research the facility's staff. Request a list of employees from the administrator and check their credentials
- Ask about the staff-to-patient ratio. This statistic identifies the number of patients each staff member is responsible for. A high ratio could indicate that the staff is overworked and unable to provide quality care.
- Ensure the facility is licensed and insured.
- Find out what type of training the staff has received.
- Observe how the staff interacts with patients to identify any red flags.
- If you have any concerns, don't hesitate to ask questions. The administrator should be able to answer all questions to your satisfaction.
You should also stay in touch with your loved one and visit often. By staying involved in their life, you can help prevent them from being isolated and make it more difficult for abusive nursing home employees to take advantage of them.What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse
Do you suspect that your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, mistreatment, or neglect? If so, there are several steps you can take:
- Check the Illinois Department of Public Health's website for health inspections and complaints. The government agency can investigate your concerns and take action if necessary.
- Contact Illinois Adult Protective Services or Attorney General's office that protect residents involved in nursing home neglect cases.
- Contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. A lawyer can help you understand your legal options and pursue justice on behalf of your loved one.
- Report any nursing home neglect or abuse to the Illinois Department of Aging's hotline at 1-800-252-4343. The agency will investigate the allegations and take action if necessary.
Take action to protect your loved one and hold the abusers accountable. Nursing home abuse and neglect are serious crimes that deserve serious penalties. Contact an experienced Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer today to learn more about your legal options.Nursing Home Resident Negligence and Abuse Could Lead to Wrongful Death
Did your disabled or elderly family member die in a nursing facility? Do you suspect abuse or neglect? Surviving families can file a personal injury lawsuit citing wrongful death.
Qualifying family members might include a spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, siblings, and others. Filing a wrongful death case follows the same civil tort laws and statute of limitations.
The types of damages you might be able to recover could include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of companionship and consortium
- Lost wages if the loved one could have returned to work after leaving the facility
- Loss of benefits
- The decedent's medical care bills, pain, and suffering before dying
- The family's pain, suffering, and grief
Our Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys can help your family file a wrongful death claim to hold the facility and responsible staff members accountable.Nursing Home Residents Successfully Winning an Abuse or Neglect Lawsuit
Illinois civil tort law requires the injured party (victim) to show that the other party's actions (or lack of action) were the proximate cause of the injuries.
There are four elements to a nursing home abuse lawsuit:
- The defendant had a duty to care for the plaintiff
- The defendant breached that duty
- The plaintiff was injured as a result of the breach
- The plaintiff suffered damages because of the injury
To win a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit, you will need to prove all four elements of negligence. An experienced nursing home abuse attorney can help you gather evidence and build a strong case.Types of Compensation You Might Be Able to Recover in a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit
If you or your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you might be able to recover damages in a civil lawsuit. The types of compensation victims and family members might be able to receive could include:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Hospital costs
- Punitive damages (in some cases)
Do you believe that your loved one is the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse? Contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation. Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys can help you investigate the circumstances surrounding your loved one's death and determine if you have a case.Hiring a Chicago Nursing Home Attorney to Resolve Can Abuse or Neglect Case
Victims and family members have a legal right to file a civil lawsuit when the disabled or elderly person is harmed through abuse and neglect in a nursing home setting. Our nursing home negligence attorneys represent patients who received substandard medical care or were victimized through physical, sexual, or emotional abuse and neglect.
Do you suspect nursing home abuse? Contact our affiliate Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys at (800) 926-7565 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation. Let us review your medical records and end facility care plan to help evaluate your case involving abuse and neglect.
Our legal team accepts every personal injury case and wrongful death lawsuit on a contingency fee agreement. This arrangement ensures you do not pay legal fees until we obtain compensation on your behalf through a negotiated settlement or jury award.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our Chicago nursing home attorneys remains private through an attorney-client relationship.Resources: