At some point in their lives, many senior citizens will rely on nursing homes for around-the-clock care and medical needs. As a result, these facilities have a moral and legal obligation to protect their residents and provide the highest level of care.
It is a sad fact that nursing homes in Chicago are often the site of neglect or outright abuse. Victims of this abuse often lack the courage or resources to speak out about the conditions that they endure on a daily basis. Because of this, it often falls to the family members of residents to recognize the signs of abuse and take appropriate action.
By following certain first steps to take if you suspect nursing home abuse in Chicago, you and your family can put your minds at ease and, if necessary, take action to put an end to abuse when there is a problem. This can result in both the State of Illinois starting an investigation and the filing of a personal injury lawsuit to collect compensation. A dedicated and compassionate nursing home abuse lawyer could guide you through the claims process.
Speaking with a Supervisor
One of the first steps to take if you suspect nursing home abuse in Chicago, is to speak with a supervisor. Some suspected neglect can be corrected by a simple conversation with supervisory staff. Less severe allegations of abuse, such as a resident not socializing enough or not receiving requested snacks, may be due to the actions of inattentive staff. As such, engaging in a serious conversation with the supervisory staff at the facility may lead to staffing adjustments or changes that put an end to the neglect.
Filing a Complaint with the State
Unfortunately, sometimes abuse or neglect is so serious or so ingrained in the culture of a nursing home that the State needs to get involved. When investigating an allegation of elder abuse in Chicago, the Illinois Department of Health has the power to talk to witnesses, subpoena documents, and hold hearings to determine if abuse or neglect directly led to a physical or mental injury.
To begin the process, family members can submit a complaint form via traditional mail, email, phone call, or fax. All complaints will be investigated by the Department of Health once this paperwork is completed. It is important to be as detailed as possible when filing the form, since specific names, dates, and facts may give the Department a better chance of putting an end to the abuse.
Contacting the Police
Some incidents of nursing home abuse qualify as criminal acts. This variety of elder abuse is typically intentional and can take the form of:
- Denial of food or water
- Using unapproved physical force to move or restrain a resident
- Intentionally ignoring the patient to the point that they become injured or ill
A call to the police may trigger a criminal investigation. If such an investigation finds evidence of criminal abuse, this could result in the arrest of not just the staff members responsible for the injuries, but also the supervisors and owners of the facility who allowed the abuse to take place under their watch as well.
Talking to an Attorney if you Suspect Abuse in a Chicago Nursing Home
Nursing home abuse is a serious problem that affects thousands of residents every year. This sort of abuse can result in serious injuries or even death to already vulnerable people. The best way to stop this abuse is for the family members of residents to keep their eyes open and to speak out. One of the first steps to take if you suspect nursing home abuse in Chicago is getting in touch with a Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer.
Talking with a nursing home abuse attorney who is familiar with common signs of nursing home abuse about your specific situation could provide valuable advice. Once retained, a qualified nursing home abuse lawyer could work with you to explore what actions may be appropriate under the circumstances. Call today to learn more about the first to take if you suspect nursing home abuse in Chicago and how they could help you protect your loved ones.