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Nursing Home Abuse in Illinois

What are the Statistics on Nursing Home Abuse?

According to nursinghomeabuse.org, almost a quarter of residents in nursing homes experienced at least one instance of physical abuse while in a nursing home. It is believed that this number is very low, as many elder abuse victims are unable or unwilling to report their abuse. According to the same site, a 2018 study found that the state of Massachusetts had the best protections for their elderly, and South Carolina the worst.

Although men and women are both at risk of elder abuse, about two out of every three elder abuse victims are women. Those with mental impairments are particularly vulnerable to abuse, with as many as half of all those with dementia suffering some level of neglect or abuse. As of 2017, there were 66,643 nursing home residents in the state of Illinois, ranking it as the 7th largest nursing home population in the nation, behind New York, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida.

As our parents, grandparents, and other loved ones grow older and require extra care, moving them into a nursing home may seem like the best option for the elder and their families. Unfortunately, however, the elderly are a particularly vulnerable group, and, as such, can become targets for nursing home abuse. Damage to an elderly person can be psychological, physical, or financial, however, it is important to know that the negligent or abusive person—or the facility that allowed the abuse to occur—can be sued and compensation sought for the injuries and losses suffered by your loved one.

What are the Illinois Laws Related to Nursing Home Abuse?

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act is a state statute that outlines the mandatory requirements for nursing homes. These requirements include ensuring no nursing home resident is deprived of any rights, benefits, or privileges that are guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution, due to living in a nursing home, that residents have the right to privacy regarding personal and medical care, and that use of physical or chemical restraints for punishment or convenience of the staff is never to be allowed. Nursing home residents also have the right under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act to never be abused or neglected.

What Makes an Elderly Person Vulnerable to Nursing Home Abuse?

A mental impairment, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia, as well as social isolation, are the top reasons an elderly person is vulnerable to nursing home abuse and neglect. The elderly are often physically frail as well, perhaps unable to defend themselves against physical abuse.

What are the Different Types of Nursing Home Abuse?

There are essentially six different types of elder abuse, some more common than others. These include:

  • Physical abuse is often perpetrated on the elderly because they are unable to physically defend themselves. Signs of physical abuse include broken bones, sprains, dislocations, bruises, scars, welts, and fractures, as well as signs of physical restraint or broken eyeglasses, broken or missing hearing aids.
  • Emotional abuse may leave no visible evidence, but it can do as much damage. Threats, intimidation, social isolation, and belittling can cause a senior to become depressed, even mumbling and rocking, becoming largely non-verbal. Withdrawal, sadness, distrust of the staff, and post-traumatic stress disorder are all signs of emotional abuse.
  • Sexual abuse of an elder is particularly heinous; symptoms can include bruising or bleeding around the genitals, sexually transmitted diseases, or blood-stained or ripped underwear.
  • Neglect of the elderly can manifest in weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, bedsores, being unbathed, wearing inappropriate clothing, or unsanitary living conditions.
  • Financial abuse is also common among the elderly; unscrupulous people could steal the elderly person’s money, or purchase goods and services with the elderly person’s money, without permission. Unexpected withdrawals from the senior’s bank account or hearing the senior talk of leaving his or her estate to a nursing home employee are red flags.
  • Healthcare abuse is perpetrated on seniors, with symptoms including duplicate billings, over or under medicating, and inadequate care facilities.

The breakdown of elder abuse is as follows: 27.4 percent of elder abuse is physical, 22.1 percent is resident-on-resident (physical, or sexual), 19.4 percent is psychological, 15.3 percent is gross neglect, 7.9 percent is sexual abuse, and 7.9 percent is financial exploitation.

What are the Effects of Nursing Home Abuse?

Seniors who have suffered abuse in a nursing home have a staggering 300% higher risk of death as compared to seniors who have not suffered any mistreatment. According to the National Council on Aging, the cost of elder financial abuse and fraud range to a high of $36.5 billion annually—likely because financial exploitation is self-reported at rates higher than emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect of seniors.

Have Illinois Nursing Home Facilities Had Incidents of Nursing Home Abuse?

According to a 2017 news report, with more than 1.4 million people living in nursing homes across the United States, auditors from the inspector general’s office identified 134 cases in which hospital emergency room records indicated sexual or physical abuse or neglect of nursing home residents. These incidents spanned a two-year period from 2015-2016, with the highest number of incidents reported in the state of Illinois, followed by Michigan, Texas, and California.

How Can an Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Help You?

Nursing home neglect can be the result of inadequate training, negligent hiring practices, or understaffing, therefore, the nursing home can be held responsible for such neglect. It is important to remember that while it is overwhelmingly the elderly who reside in nursing homes, many younger residents with disabilities reside in assisted living environments and are also exposed to abuse and neglect.

The attorneys at the Finn Law Firm are highly skilled and passionate about our clients. We will work hard to obtain compensation for you and your loved ones for the injuries suffered while in a nursing home. We will tailor our legal representation to meet your specific needs, guiding you through each stage of the complex legal process. We want to be your choice for legal representation should you find yourself in such an untenable situation. Attorney Larry Finn has been helping people in the same situation for more than three decades. If your loved one has suffered nursing home abuse or neglect contact the Finn Law Firm today.

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