Whenever we place a loved one into an assisted living facility, we expect that they will receive the best care possible and be protected from the predatory nature of others. Unfortunately, due to either intentional abuse or neglect, thousands of people in nursing homes suffer injuries or illnesses every year. Nursing home abuse in residences throughout Chicago is sadly prevalent. As such, it is essential that residents and their family members learn to recognize potential warning signs of abuse of Chicago nursing home abuse.
Abuse may often go unnoticed because people assume that all is well, or because a resident feels too scared or intimidated to speak out. Oftentimes, it falls to the family members of patients to recognize the signs of abuse and to take steps to remedy the situation. If you believe that a loved one has suffered under such poor treatment, contact a dedicated nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss your potential legal options.
Common Signals that Indicate Nursing Home Abuse
Depending on the actions taken by staff, nursing home abuse can be either physical or mental in nature. Both forms of abuse are serious and can have a severe impact on the health of a resident, so being aware of warning signs for each type of nursing home abuse in Chicago can be critical.
Physical harm typically results from negligent staff. A failure to provide adequate food or water, the use of excessive force, or even a failure to turn a patient in bed can all lead to physical injuries. When visiting a family member, ask them if they are being treated well and examine their bodies as much as reasonably possible for any unexplainable injuries. If one finds an injury that they cannot explain, ask the staff to examine the area.
It should be noted, however, that physical abuse can also be intentional. Staff may use unapproved disciplinary measures such as locking residents in their rooms or refusing pain medication. Once again, communication with the resident is key. Look for any changes in demeanor when staff are around. Also, be on the lookout for sudden changes in weight.
The other form of abuse is mental. Staff can abusively berate residents either in private or in front of others. Staff may also deny their patients appropriate leisure time or entertainment. In certain cases, nurses may even fail to properly recognize signs of mental disease that require a doctor’s attention.
Be on the lookout for any changes in the mental acuity of your loved ones. Also, check to see if your family member has any changes in how often they socialize with others. Any unexpected or inexplicable changes in these areas may be signs of mental abuse.
What a Family Member Can Do If They Suspect Abuse
Anyone who notices warning signs of Chicago nursing home abuse should first talk with supervisory staff for the nursing home in question. If this fails to remedy the problem, the Illinois Department of Health maintains an investigative body that examines complaints related to abuse in nursing homes. This agency has the authority to conduct investigations, hand down civil penalties, and even file criminal charges in the most severe situations.
In addition, residents and family members could file a personal injury lawsuit if abuse results in a physical injury. These lawsuits demand compensation for the medical costs associated with treating the injury as well as the mental toll that the abuse has taken on the resident.
Finally, a family member may call the police if they suspect intentional harm has been inflicted on a resident. This may leave the perpetrator open to criminal charges ranging from assault to elder abuse.
Recognizing the Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse in Chicago Could Be Vital
Nursing home residents are entirely vulnerable to their caretakers. As a result, any abuse or neglect is likely to result in severe injuries. Unfortunately, this abuse is not always obvious, as a resident may be hesitant to speak out. A family member is often the best advocate for these people since they can view the situation from an objective standpoint and have better access to resources that may be able to help.
Any changes in the mood of a family member or an unexplained injury may be a sign of neglect or maltreatment. A qualified nursing home abuse lawyer could help you interpret these warning signs of Chicago nursing home abuse and take appropriate legal action. Contact a Chicago nursing home abuse attorney today to learn more.