Cases of nursing home abuse or neglect are always particularly disturbing. We’re outraged because our trust has been betrayed. We trust a long-term care facility to take proper care of our loved ones when they’re most in need; if they are mistreated instead, it’s a major betrayal. Unfortunately, cases of extended care facility abuse and neglect of elders are all too frequent. Of course, all of these cases need to be reported, and the Illinois Department of Public Health issues quarterly reports documenting the actions they’ve taken against facilities determined to be in violation of the Nursing Home Care Act or that they’ve reported for violations related to patient care under Titles XVIII and XIX of the Federal Social Security Act. But disciplinary actions and small fines are not enough to do justice. To hold them truly accountable for abuse, neglect, or substandard care, you’ll need the help of a caring and knowledgeable Decatur nursing home abuse lawyer. Call and schedule a consultation with our personal injury team today to learn more.
Rights of Long-Term Care Facility Residents
Federal regulations require what we all expect — that nursing home residents have the “right to be free from abuse, neglect… and exploitation.”
“Abuse” is the willful infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, or punishment, resulting in physical harm, pain, or mental anguish. It includes willfully depriving someone of goods or services needed to maintain physical, mental, and psychological health.
“Neglect” is the failure of the facility and caretakers to provide the services and materials that are necessary to avoid physical harm, pain, or emotional distress. Unlike abuse, it isn’t willful.
“Exploitation” is a form of abuse that takes place when a resident is taken advantage of for the personal gain of another, by using manipulation, intimidation, threats, or coercion.
Common Issues in Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Cases
- Medication Errors can be life threatening or even fatal
- Bedsores, or pressure injuries, occur when those at risk aren’t properly identified and adequate prevention strategies undertaken
- Infections, such as urinary tract infections, pneumonia, or infected bedsores can result if a proper infection control program isn’t maintained
- Falls can result in serious injuries, and nursing facilities have a duty to make reasonable interventions to prevent them
- Choking can occur when facilities fail to provide special diets and adequate staff supervision of meals for residents at risk.
- Malnutrition results from improper nutritional assessment and treatment and can have severe consequences for the vulnerable elderly
- Dehydration can also have grave consequences, leading to low blood pressure and falls, and, if extreme, even multi-organ failure. Residents must be adequately supervised and encouraged to drink throughout the day.
- Wheelchair Injuries happen when staff fails to use proper equipment and take appropriate safety measures
- Improper Use of Restraints (whether physical or chemical) is sometimes used by staff to make their work easier. They are illegal if a physician doesn’t order them after weighing the risks and benefits.
- Unsafe Wandering puts the residents at risk for falls and exposure to traffic and other unsafe conditions.
- Sexual Abuse — is sadly not uncommon. It’s probably underreported, but at least 80% of victims of elder sexual abuse are the vulnerable residents of institutional care facilities.
Who’s Liable for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect?
Of course, the facility can be vicariously liable for the failures or actions of its employees. They incur additional liability if any of the following factors were at play in harming a resident:
- negligent hiring
- inadequate supervision and training
- poor pharmacy policies leading to medication errors
- failure to meet the requirements of applicable regulations and laws
- failure to meet generally accepted industry standards of care
Taking action can protect others and prevent further injustice
Many of our clients are motivated by making nursing homes safer for everyone, not just collecting compensation in their case. While we will fight to obtain every dollar you or your loved one have coming, we share the goal of making nursing facilities safe and free of abuse for everyone, and work to deter or prevent similar cases of abuse from happening to other residents of nursing homes.
Establishing Liability Requires a Skilled Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
Abusing a nursing home resident is a form of personal injury. But, you’ll need help getting all the records and determining what went wrong and who was at fault. A Decatur nursing home abuse lawyer could listen carefully to your story, gather all the information, and vigorously pursue the facts to get to the bottom of what happened to your loved one. We’ll advise you of your legal options and take the best course to seek proper compensation for all the harms suffered. And, there’s no upfront cost to you for getting this help from a legal professional. We are paid only if and when we successfully resolve your case.
Pursuing a nursing home neglect or abuse case with competent legal counsel can result not only in justice for your situation, but it can deter this and other nursing homes from future bad behavior. Act now. Don’t let nursing home abuse or neglect continue or go unpunished. Contact us now for a free consultation.