The decision to place a loved one in a nursing home is a difficult one. Finding the right home is an emotional and stressful process. Even after the most diligent search, you may end up with a nursing home that fails to provide adequate care and treatment.
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Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., has responded to the growing problem of nursing home negligence by creating a skilled, experienced and dedicated nursing home abuse and neglect practice group. If a loved one of yours has been abused or injured or died in a nursing home or long-term care facility, contact us today at our toll-free number or through our online form for a free, no-obligation review of your case.
The National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA) estimates that about 84 percent of abusive situations involving older adults go unreported or unrecognized. For this reason, nursing home abuse has been called the “hidden crime.”
The Elder Abuse and Neglect Program of the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) says there were 10,949 cases of elder abuse reported in the state in 2011, marking an increase of 10.9 percent from the previous year. Since 2002, the Elder Abuse and Neglect Program has seen a 47 percent rise in reports.
Thirty-nine percent of elder abuse or neglect victims in Illinois in 2011 were functionally impaired. This means they had difficulty performing daily tasks such as walking, personal care, meal preparation, laundry and housecleaning.
Because of their impairment, the fact that they live with and are afraid of their abusers, or because their mistreatment is concealed by the abusers, elderly adults most often need others to report the abuse they are suffering, the IDoA says.
The types of elder abuse most often reported in Illinois in 2011 were:
“Nursing homes” are shorthand for a variety of living arrangements for elderly adults who can no longer care for themselves. There are 738 long-term care facilities licensed by the Illinois Department of Health. More than 100,000 Illinois residents live in skilled and intermediate licensed facilities, supportive living facilities and assisted living and shared housing establishments, the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) said in October 2012.
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) suspects that one out of every 10 older adults is abused or neglected in our country, but only one in five elder abuse cases is ever reported. There are few national studies that accurately identify the incidence of elder abuse and neglect, the NCEA says. Statistics on the state level are even scarcer.
The following are signs that neglect or abuse may have taken place, or is currently taking place, in an assisted care facility:
If you have seen any of the following you should report the nursing home abuse or negligence immediately. Reporting abuse is the best way to put a stop to it. Let our Chicago law firm and experienced elder abuse lawyers help you.
There are three types of actions that an act of abuse, neglect or exploitation may give rise to:
One of the most effective ways to improve the lives of nursing facility residents is to take legal action when problems are discovered. This stops or at least discourages the continued violation of basic human rights as well as federal and state laws and nursing home regulations. An experienced elder abuse lawyer can help a family deal with the emotional issues of a loved one’s abuse and will not be deterred by excuses and protests from nursing home owners and staff.
Suing a nursing home is a complex process. It requires a thorough investigation, analysis of evidence and establishment of the right to collect compensation for physical, emotional and financial harm that you or a loved one has suffered. It can also be a mentally draining process.
With that said, suing a nursing home may be appropriate in many situations. It can be the most effective way to seek just compensation, hold the nursing home accountable for the damage it has done and, ultimately, to protect others from suffering similar nursing home abuse or neglect in the future.
The following are reasons why pursuing a lawsuit against a nursing home may be in a person’s best interest:
If you see signs of abuse or neglect of your loved one, you may have the right to take legal action.
Neglect refers to the failure of a nursing home to provide the care and attention that its residents deserve, while abuse generally refers to intentional misconduct.
Malpractice is a type of negligence that occurs when a medical professional within a nursing home fails to treat a patient in a manner that is consistent with the medical standard of care.
Signs of nursing home abuse, neglect and malpractice include:
If you suspect that nursing home abuse, neglect or malpractice is occurring, you should bring your concerns to the nursing home staff and administration. If you believe that your concerns are ignored or you did not receive adequate answers, or if the suspected abuse or neglect continues, it may be time to think about filing a civil action.
If your loved one within a nursing home has suffered injury or a health complication that you do not believe would have occurred but for the nursing home abuse or neglect, then you may seek to hold the nursing home liable for that harm.
You will have to prove that the nursing home owed your loved one a duty of care (often implied in these types of cases), and that that duty of care was violated. You would also need to show that the negligence was the cause of your loved one’s harm, and that your loved one has suffered actual losses as a direct result.
Another reason to file a lawsuit is that it may be the only way to recover the compensation that your loved one deserves. A lawsuit against a nursing home in Chicago may yield damages for:
If the nursing home abuse results in death, you may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home.
Filing a lawsuit against a nursing home is not just about recovering compensation. It is also about raising awareness about the fact that the nursing home has committed neglect or abuse and preventing future cases of nursing home abuse from occurring.
By bringing a lawsuit, you are seeking to hold a medical facility accountable and responsible for the harm that you suffered. It may lead the facility to implement new practices that are designed to better protect patients.
If you suspect that an elderly family member of yours has been injured or suffered a wrongful death or elder abuse in a long term care facility, the Chicago attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., can help you.
We investigate elder abuse cases in Chicago and throughout Illinois. If you believe a family member has been a victim of nursing home negligence or abuse, contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., today at our toll-free number or fill out our online form. We can provide a free, no-obligation consultation.