If you have an elderly relative who can no longer care for him or herself, you are likely acquainted with nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In Illinois alone, there are 779 certified nursing facilities in operation. These facilities serve thousands of individuals every day, providing them with around-the-clock medical care and attending to their day-to-day needs.
But life in a nursing home is not always perfect. Every year, between one and two million Americans over the age of 65 report abuse or mistreatment from their caregivers. This mistreatment can lead to injuries that can significantly worsen an individual’s quality of life. Even when mistreatment is not present, nursing home residents can suffer from medical neglect and malpractice. Medical negligence can often happen when nursing homes are understaffed and the existing staff members are overworked. Other forms of nursing home malpractice include clinical errors and wrongful diagnoses.
If you have a loved one currently residing in a nursing home, be an advocate for him or her. Talk to him or her regularly about how he or she is treated by nursing home staff and encourage him or her to seek help if he or she is being mistreated. Be on the lookout for nonverbal signs that he or she is being mistreated, like worsening health or anxiety. In many cases, mistreated nursing home residents are reluctant to discuss their mistreatment for fear of retaliation from the staff. Assure your family member that you are here to protect him or her and you will take legal action against the nursing home if it is necessary.
Familiarize yourself with the signs that your elderly relative is being mistreated, such as the following:
If your loved one has new bruises, burns, cuts, or scars on his or her body, he or she might be a victim of physical abuse. Ask about every injury and if your relative can not or will not answer, ask a staff member about it. The staff should have a record of the injury and a valid explanation for it.
If your formerly happy, talkative relative suddenly becomes moody and withdrawn, try to get him or her to explain the sudden mood change. He or she might be feeling stressed or anxious and not want to discuss his or her mishandling. Your relative might also be suffering from dementia or otherwise simply aging – discuss the sudden change in his or her demeanor with the on-staff doctor to determine possible reasons for it.
Is your loved one’s room unkempt? Does he or she seem like he or she has not been bathed regularly? These can be signs of neglect from his or her caregivers. Other signs of neglect include medication left unfilled or not administered and the patient suffering from hunger.
As your loved one’s advocate, it is your responsibility to contact an experienced elder abuse attorney to determine whether malpractice or mistreatment has occurred. Taking action now can save your loved one’s life. Do not delay in contacting an experienced attorney.
Contact The Law Offices of Thomas A. Morrissey at 708-352-3790 to learn more about your legal options during your free consultation with our firm. Protect your loved one from further harm – be proactive and call us or visit us online to begin working with our firm today.
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