legal resources necessary to hold negligent facilities accountable.
Joliet Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Nursing home abuse and neglect can cause physical and emotional harm to residents. Physical abuse can include bruises, cuts, and burns. Emotional abuse can include verbal taunts, threats, and humiliation. Neglect can include not providing necessary care such as food, water, or medical attention.
All these forms of abuse and neglect can cause serious harm to residents, both physically and emotionally.
Was your loved one mistreated, injured, or unexpectantly died while living in a long-term care facility? Let an Illinois nursing home abuse lawyer from our affiliate law firm protect your family member's rights. The abuse and neglect attorneys from our network of Illinois lawyers are committed to protecting the legal rights of abuse victims.
Our reputable nursing home abuse lawyers will provide you with the best representation and resources your loved one may need. Contact Nursing Home Law Center at (800) 926-7565 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your nursing home neglect, elder abuse, or wrongful death claim with a Joliet nursing home abuse lawyer.
Our Joliet nursing home injury lawyers currently serve abuse victims in DuPage County, Kane County, McHenry County, Cook County, Will County, Kendall County, and throughout Illinois.
Located thirty miles southwest of Chicago, Joliet is the fourth largest city in Illinois and home to many disabled and senior residents. The city of Joliet has evolved from a heavy industrial town to a quiet suburb following the economic collapse caused by the Great Recession.
It has become an economically and culturally diverse city with a population of over 148,000 residents, more than 10 percent of whom are senior citizens.How Often Does Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Occur in Joliet and Surrounding Illinois Areas?
Illinois has been one of the states with the most understaffed long-term care facilities in the nation. Many of their facilities also continue to have consistently low rankings.
According to the Chicago Tribune, during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Illinois Department of Public Health did not review hundreds of nursing facility abuse and neglect complaints for 3 ½ months. Since then, investigations have been performed, and a healthcare consulting firm called Manatt Health Strategies was hired to review and find ways to improve the Department of Public Health.
According to the Illinois Newsroom, this consulting firm found that nursing homes have been fined for the same violations for years, with no signs of improvement. They also found that the long-term care facilities have been allowed to negotiate for lower fines.
Chicago and its surrounding areas, which include Joliet, have struggled to have enough nursing staff to operate. On the Medicare website, 4 out of 9 nursing homes in Joliet, IL, have below-average ratings, making these facilities dangerous for your loved one to stay at.
State legislation that calls for improvement and higher standards of nursing homes has been signed by the governor recently, but it is clear that the facilities continue to fail to provide adequate care.Why Does Abuse Occur in Long-Term Care Facilities?
Illinois nursing homes have room for a lot of improvement, which may include hiring more staff, raising wages, and better management focusing on patient quality of care.
Many factors contribute to long-term care facilities’ failure to provide a safe and caring environment. Some of the common causes of abuse in long-term care facilities are:
- Understaffed facilities
- Unqualified employees
- Low wages
- Overworked staff members
- Poor management of the facility
The most significant issue nursing homes in Joliet and surrounding areas have seen is the staffing shortage. Patients are struggling with activities of daily living, health conditions, and having basic needs met due to their disabilities and old age.
These individuals need assistance and patience with tasks such as eating, bathing, and changing their clothes. Insufficient staffing can lead to residents being neglected and abused.
The nursing home staff is overworked due to not having enough people to help, which can cause employees to feel stressed out and exhausted. When staff is compromised or inadequately trained, accidents like dropping patients or improper use of hoist machinery can happen.Hiring of Unqualified Employees
Staffing shortages will also result in facilities hiring unqualified employees to meet their staff requirements. Hiring untrained employees helps the long-term care facility save money but also puts the lives of many nursing home residents at risk.
Unqualified staff is sometimes hired if a complete background check is not performed. Making sure that a person has the required certifications to work in a long-term care facility is crucial.
Long-term care facility patients are at risk of injury and death when an unqualified staff member is caring for them. These untrained nursing home staff members are more likely to make a life-threatening error or may neglect the patients unintentionally.
An unqualified employee may not know how to administer medication properly, and the wrong dosage could be detrimental to a resident’s life. Unqualified staff members are more likely to be abusive if they have not received training on handling aggression from a patient.What Is Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Nursing home abuse is an intentional act by someone to cause harm and pain to a resident. Abuse is hazardous to patients because they are likely to have a weaker immune system, disabilities, and maybe elderly.
Neglect in a long-term care facility is when a caregiver fails to provide adequate medical care and meets a patient's basic needs. A loved one that is neglected will feel discomfort and pain and may have a decline in their health.
Many complications, newly acquired infections, and deaths result from neglect and abuse of nursing patients.
Some of these types of abuse found in nursing homes can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse. Below are some of the most common abuse and neglect found in Illinois nursing facilities.Physical Abuse
Physical abuse of a loved one can cause bodily harm and leave visible marks of unexplained injuries such as cuts, bruises, and scratches. Some forms of this abuse may not leave physical evidence, such as using physical restraints.
These types of restraints can include using soft ties to hold limbs in position or keeping bed rails up to prevent an individual from moving off the bed.
Physical restraints can be helpful when used appropriately, but misuse of them can affect a loved one physically and mentally. Some of the other forms of physical abuse can include:
- Throwing objects
- Using objects as weapons against a resident
Emotional or psychological abuse in a nursing facility is an action that causes distress and emotional pain in a resident. Although this mental abuse can be emotional and may not show any initial visible signs, it can lead to a decline in the health of a loved one.
Emotional abuse is the type that is the most common and most likely to go unreported. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 in 3 nursing staff admit to emotionally abusing residents.
Some of the types of emotional abuse residents may experience include:
This type of abuse in assisted living facilities involves unwanted sexual activity forced upon a victim. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, victims of sexual assault in nursing homes are more likely to be women and residents with dementia.
Some forms of sexual abuse are:
- Unwanted touching
- Masturbation in front of an unwilling resident
- Showing pornography to resident
- Taking sexual photographs without consent
Financial abuse is when someone steals money, assets, or personal possessions from a resident. Most often, this type of abuse will come from family and friends of disabled or elderly victims, but in a long-term care facility, staff may also commit this abuse.
Some forms of financial abuse can include:
- Manipulating resident into signing a will or contract
- Using forms of payment that belong to the resident
- Stealing money
- Stealing personal belongings
- Additional, unnecessary charges on the resident’s account
Prolonged periods of neglect can be detrimental to a nursing home resident’s health. Patients may be neglected due to a staff shortage or unqualified employees who do not understand protocols involving moving patients around or offering activities.
There are also cases where nursing residents have been neglected purposefully or with malicious intent. Whether a loved one is ignored intentionally or unintentionally, their overall well-being is affected physically and mentally.
The resident will experience discomfort and can develop other health conditions and complications such as pressure ulcers or infections. Staff members and families must stay aware of any warning signs of neglect.
Some of the common types of neglect that are found in nursing homes include:
- Leaving a resident in a bed or wheelchair for a prolonged period
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Not changing patients who have wet or soiled themselves
- Not providing proper medical care for wounds
- Not providing regular baths
- Not offering activities
- Not providing dental care
- Not providing nourishing food or water
- Ignoring a complaint or request from a resident
Not all the warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are apparent. However, when visiting a loved one in assisted living facility or nursing care center, it's important to take note of what you see including any changes in their appearance or behavior.
Identifying any of the common signs and symptoms associated with neglect and abuse is often indicated that they are not receiving the proper care or medical attention to meet their needs. Other noticeable signs might be an unusual interaction between a loved one and staff, family member or another resident.
Common warning signs of nursing home abuse and neglect are:
- Unexplained injuries such as broken bones
- Weight loss
- Newly acquired infections
- Bed sores (pressure ulcers)
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Poor hygiene
- Change in mood around staff or other residents
- Bleeding from the vaginal area
- Sudden changes in a will
- Personal possessions or money are missing
Apart from observing your loved one and looking out for any warning signs in a long-term care facility, it is also crucial to be aware of the risk factors involved with abuse.
Specific problems of the nursing facility increased potential risk of a nursing home resident being neglected, abused, or mistreated. Some of the common risk factors include:
- Staffing shortages
- Unqualified and untrained nursing staff
- Poor working conditions
- Lack of family support
- Lack of supervision for the cognitively impaired or those with dementia and Alzheimer's
- Lack of supervision of aggressive resident's
- Elopements where resident's wander away
Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are conditions that affect a person’s thinking and involve a decline in cognitive functioning. Nursing home residents with these conditions are likely targets for mistreatment because their cognitive impairment will make them less likely to report abuse and neglect.Lack of Visitors
When a nursing home resident does not have social support and family visits very rarely, they can be seen as an easier target for abuse. No one will regularly check on the patient’s well-being or consider their needs, apart from the nursing staff.
In the same way, if a resident isolates themselves and does not speak to others or has difficulty speaking, they are at a higher risk of abuse. These residents are less likely to speak out and find support from a family member, staff, or friends.Illinois Nursing Home Residents’ Rights
All patients have rights and regulations under state and federal government laws. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act gives rights to patients in long-term care facilities to ensure their safety and well-being.
The Act ensures that the facility will protect and give proper medical care to residents. Some of the resident rights listed in the legislation are:
- A resident has the right to manage his financial affairs
- A resident has the right to retain the services of his own personal physician
- A restraint can only be used with the informed consent of the resident unless ordered by a physician
- A resident shall not be subject to abuse or neglect
- Residents have the right to private, uncensored communication by phone, mail, etc.
- Residents have the right to religious freedom
- Visitors and other residents are only permitted access to a patient at reasonable hours
- Residents have the right to be discharged from a facility
- Residents have the right to present grievances to the administrators
- No resident shall be subjected to discrimination
The nursing facilities that receive funding from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services must follow additional regulations and rules. Annual inspections and inspections of complaints are part of the requirements.
If a nursing facility does not comply with regulations will receive a fine and may be denied payments. It is important to have any abuse investigated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services so that nursing home facilities have the opportunity to correct any bad behavior and prevent further abuse or neglect.What Should I Do if my Loved One Is Experiencing Abuse and Neglect?
When you suspect abuse or neglect in a long-term care facility, you should first speak with the facility administrators and make sure the director is aware of the situation. This action will allow the facility to perform the required steps of reporting and correcting the problem.
If the nursing center fails to respond to your complaint or fails to fix the problem, you can also report abuse to the Illinois Department of Public Health at 1-800-252-4343 so that they can perform an investigation into the complaint. You can also contact law enforcement for immediate assistance if the abuse appears severe.
You can also seek assistance from the Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program by calling 1-800-252-8966 or visiting their website. Your Ombudsman will provide you with resources and act as an advocate to help you and your family resolve issues with the nursing facility.
Schedule a free consultation with an affiliate Joliet nursing home abuse lawyer if your loved one suffered severe injuries or if the damages were significant. Our personal injury lawyer can help you obtain the compensation your family members deserve for the nursing home’s negligence.Compensation That You Can Receive in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Your loved one may have suffered injuries that require long-term treatment. Your family will want to have the responsible party held liable for these expenses, including the cost of transferring to another facility and other related costs.
Receiving financial compensation from the responsible parties who caused the harm is not automatic. Our Joliet nursing home abuse attorneys take cases where we must prove how the defendants are at fault for causing the victim's damages.
We build elder abuse cases to ensure that our clients recover all damages and receive compensation for losses that might include medical bills, future medical costs, pain-and-suffering, and mental anguish.
Our experienced attorneys know how to negotiate with the insurance company for fair compensation. If the claim is not settled in negotiations, our nursing home abuse lawyers will take your case to court, navigate the process of a lengthy lawsuit involving negligence.
You will want to focus on recovery for your loved ones and the transitions they may face. Consulting with an experienced Illinois attorney during a free case evaluation can help you understand your options better and know which steps to take.Speak to a Joliet Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer now
It can be devastating to find out that our vulnerable family members are victims of abuse and neglect in the long-term care facility. However, there are options to help them.
Our attorneys fight hard to hold assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and other negligent parties financially accountable to protect our clients’ legal rights. We have experience in nursing home negligence lawsuits, personal injury cases, medical malpractice claims, and other injury practice areas involving personal injury law.
Do you believe your loved one is the victim of abuse at a Joliet nursing facility? Our Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers can help you work through the legal system for compensation.
We accept abuse cases and neglect claims on a contingency fee basis,which means you will pay nothing until we obtain monetary recovery for your damages. A Joliet nursing home abuse lawyer from our network will answer any questions you have to resolve your claim.
Contact our nursing home abuse law offices at (800) 926-7565 to speak with one of a skilled nursing home abuse attorney during a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.Resources: