As people age, they're often placed in nursing homes or assisted living facilities when specialized care can no longer be provided at home. Unfortunately, many of these elders experience negligent care, poor medical treatment, and physical abuse from staff members who are hired to take care of them. With limited funding, understaffed facilities, and improperly trained workers, elderly patients are often at risk for unnecessary physical injuries, declining mental and physical health, and even death.
In Illinois, a personal injury lawyer Crystal Lake can file a report with the proper authorities for suspected nursing home neglect and abuse.
Common Signs of Neglect and Abuse
Although falls are more common in the elderly, many nursing home falls can be prevented with proper care. Due to medications and impaired mobility, elderly residents often experience dizziness or instability when getting up and down or moving around. They need help getting in and out of bed or to and from the bathroom. Falls caused by neglect can result in bruises, bumps, scrapes, and other minor injuries. If falls result in fractured or broken bones, surgery may be required. If falls result in head trauma, brain damage or death can occur prompting a wrongful death suit by a personal injury lawyer Crystal Lake. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), nursing home falls are responsible for at least 1,800 deaths in the U.S. every year.
Bedsores are caused by continual rubbing against the skin. They're often caused by bed sheets rubbing on the back, elbows, and feet of patients when they lie in one position too long. Immobile or bedridden patients must be turned over or moved periodically by a caregiver to prevent bedsores. In elderly people with fragile, thin skin, bedsores can get infected quickly, requiring extra medications and care. Severe infections left untreated can lead to sepsis and death. In Illinois cases of nursing home neglect or abuse, victims and their families can resolve problems through a personal injury lawyer Crystal Lake.
Malnutrition is a common sign of nursing home neglect or abuse. Although most facilities are equipped with adequate, nutritious food, malnutrition often occurs due to negligent care by staff workers. In many cases, incorrect servings sizes and lack of monitoring during meal times is a problem. In elderly residents, dental problems and appetite loss can interfere with eating, so they must be closely monitored during meals. Some residents may not be able to feed themselves and may require help with eating. When residents require feeding tubes, tubes must be changed daily to ensure proper nutrition. However, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), hundreds of nursing homes are cited every year for improper feeding tubes.
Understaffed facilities and untrained workers contribute to most hygiene problems in nursing homes. Residents may not get regular baths or be left in unclean clothes or soiled diapers for extended time periods. When unattended, these conditions can lead to bed sores, weight loss, and physical or emotional issues. Poor nursing home hygiene is also seen in overall care of facilities. Bathroom and shower areas, beds, and food preparation and serving areas must be cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis to prevent the spread of bacteria and germs. Staff should be properly trained in the safe disposal of medical and biological waste. Questions about nursing home hygiene rules can be verified through a personal injury lawyer Crystal Lake who knows Illinois laws.
U.S. health studies show that Americans age 75 and over take an average of 11 different drugs a year. Diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, and high blood pressure increase those doses. According to CMS, 90% of Medicare beneficiaries take prescription drugs on a regular basis. Given these facts, proper medication management in nursing homes should be priority, but wrong medications and overdoses are frequent forms of nursing home abuse in poorly managed facilities. In understaffed facilities, residents are sometimes given another resident's medicine by mistake, putting two people at risk for dangerous drug side effects and interactions. A personal injury lawyer Crystal Lake can provide legal protection for loved ones in Illinois nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Illinois has approximately 1,200 long-term care facilities serving more than 100,000 residents of all ages. Facilities are licensed, regulated and inspected by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The Department's Bureau of Long-Term Care is responsible for making sure nursing homes comply with the provisions of the State Nursing Home Care Act. Each year, Department surveyors conduct around 10,000 nursing home surveys, including annual license inspections, facility inspections, and complaint investigations.