There are 6,628 people over the age of 65 living in Waukegan, according to demographic information from the city. That is a total of 7.4 percent of the city’s entire population. Many of these senior citizens require long-term care, particularly as they reach the age of 70 and older. Making the decision to place a loved one in a long-term care facility is one of the most difficult choices a family will ever have to make. Sometimes, though, it is the only option.
Most of the time, nursing home facilities provide quality care for their residents. Unfortunately, there are instances in which nursing home staff are negligent or even abusive toward the vulnerable individuals in their care. When this is the case, it is important that injured individuals or their loved ones seek advice from a nursing home abuse lawyer in Waukegan, IL.
Contact the dedicated attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., today to schedule a free consultation, and let us get to work protecting your loved one.
Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Residents who are neglected or abused within nursing homes often do not come forward and tell people what they are enduring in the facility. This may be because these elderly individuals are embarrassed or ashamed of what is happening. In some instances, the seniors being abused do not have the capacity to understand that abuse or neglect is taking place.
For these reasons, it is important that family members know the signs to look for. The most common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect include:
- Medication errors: When senior citizens do not receive the medication they need, or they receive the wrong medication, it is an indication that nursing home staff have not provided a reasonable standard of care.
- Medical treatment errors: Nursing homes typically have a nurse on staff, but sometimes they do not, even when regulations require it. When senior citizens do not receive the medical treatment they need, or there is another mistake made during treatment, it is a sign of neglect.
- Malnutrition or dehydration: Even when residents refuse to eat or drink, nursing home staff are responsible for ensuring they receive proper nutrition. Dry skin, chapped lips, and sudden weight loss are just a few signs of malnutrition or dehydration.
- Improper hygiene: Nursing home staff are responsible for ensuring the residents in their care are properly groomed and clean. Dirty or matted hair, soiled clothing, and visible dirt on the skin or under the nails are all signs of improper hygiene and neglect.
- Broken bones: A senior’s bones are much more brittle, and so they can break easily. When this happens regularly, though, or staff members cannot provide a reason for the fracture, it can be a sign of neglect or abuse.
- Bedsores: These sores are typically found on the underside of arms, legs, feet, and at the back of the neck. They are a sign that a person has been confined to a bed or wheelchair without being properly repositioned and cared for.
- Sexually transmitted diseases: Unfortunately, seniors in nursing homes are not immune from sexual abuse. This is one of the most heinous types of nursing home abuse.
- Withdrawal from activities: When an elderly resident suddenly retreats and withdraws from the activities he or she once loved, it may indicate that the resident is ashamed, angry, or even afraid of nursing home staff.
- Unexplained bruises or other injuries: Any time an elder is injured in a nursing home, the staff of the facility must be able to provide a reasonable explanation for it. When they cannot, families should demand an investigation and answers.
When you see any of these signs of abuse, you need to take action immediately. Your advocacy on behalf of your loved could not only save their live, but also the lives of others in the facility who may be suffering.
What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
It is devastating to suspect or to learn that a loved one is being abused or neglected in a facility you trusted to care for them. The first step to take is to speak to the staff members and administrators of the nursing home. If they cannot provide a reasonable explanation for what you have noticed, then speak to your loved one. Remember, however, that your family member may not tell you of the abuse.
If you feel after speaking to the facility staff members that your loved one is in danger, remove the person from the nursing home immediately. Call 911 if you feel as though the nursing home staff will prevent you from removing your loved one, or if they become combative.
After removing your family member from a dangerous situation, you then must report the abuse. You can report it to the local ombudsman, the Senior Health Line, the Illinois Department of Public Health, or the Healthcare and Family Services for Supportive Living Facility Complaints. The Illinois Department of Aging has links to all of these services on their website.
Once you have alerted the authorities of the abuse, you should contact a nursing home neglect attorney in Waukegan who can help your loved one seek compensation for injuries and other losses.
How a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Waukegan, IL, Can Help
When you suspect a loved one is being abused or neglected in a nursing home, you should take action with the help of an experienced lawyer. There are a number of ways a lawyer can help, including:
- Recognizing and documenting signs of the abuse
- Knowing where to report the abuse
- Conducting an investigation and collecting evidence
- Determining which party is liable for the abuse
- Evaluating your claim to determine the full amount of damages your loved one deserves
- Dealing with insurance companies
- Taking your case to court, when necessary
In addition to all of these ways our lawyers can help with your case, we will also offer a listening ear and full support throughout the entire case.
In Need of Legal Help? Contact Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., Now
Nursing home neglect and abuse is one of the most difficult situations a family will ever deal with. When you suspect abuse or neglect is happening, it is important that you speak to a Waukegan, IL nursing home abuse lawyer as soon as possible.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., we know how to fight for the rights of you and your family member. Contact us online to arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys.