Schwartz Injury Law

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Illinois nursing home injury attorneysIf you are like most people with a loved one living in a nursing home, you think about your loved one often. You may worry about whether or not your loved one is safe and well cared for or whether he or she is comfortable living in the facility. One major concern for elderly individuals is the risk of serious injuries, including fractures and broken bones. A young, healthy person may sustain a broken bone and suffer no long-lasting negative health consequences as a result. However, because many residents’ bodies are weakened by age or illness, a broken bone can be life-altering or even life-threatening. If your loved one has suffered a broken bone while living in a nursing home, there are several things you should keep in mind.

Causes of Fractures and Broken Bones in a Nursing Home

Elderly individuals often suffer from conditions such as osteoporosis that make their bones more susceptible to breaking. This is one reason that it is so important for nursing home facilities to do everything in their power to prevent break injuries.

A fracture or broken bone could be caused by a number of unacceptable scenarios, including but not limited to:

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Illinois nursing home abuse attorneysResearch shows that nursing home abuse and is startlingly common across the United States. It is hard to believe that anyone would be intentionally cruel to an elderly or disabled person—let alone someone the individual has been assigned to care for—but it does happen. Sadly, many instances of abuse go unreported because residents are not physically or cognitively capable of reporting the mistreatment. If your loved one is living in a long-term care facility, you may worry about whether he or she is being treated with the care and respect he or she deserves. There are several warning signs that families should be on the lookout for that could indicate that their loved one is being harmed in a nursing home.

Red Flags of Physical Abuse and Sexual Abuse

Although many studies have been conducted to better understand nursing home abuse, the true extent of the problem is still unknown. In one survey, 44 percent of nursing home residents reported being abused at a facility, and 38 percent reported witnessing other residents being abused. Physical abuse includes kicking, hitting, punching, slapping, and other acts of physical violence. Sexual abuse includes unwanted sexual contact, sexual assault, and indecent exposure.

Some warning signs that a nursing home resident is being physically or sexually abused include:

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Chicago nursing home abuse attorneysThe statistics regarding nursing home abuse and neglect are extremely disheartening. In one study, nearly 25 percent of nursing home residents reported that they had suffered one or more incidents of physical abuse at the hands of nursing home staff. In addition to physical abuse, residents may be mocked, internationally frightened, and otherwise emotionally abused. Financial abuse, also called elder financial exploitation, is also a problem in many nursing homes. Even if nursing home staff do not intentionally harm residents, understaffed facilities and lack of appropriate staff training can lead residents to be dangerously neglected.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home, you may be especially concerned about their safety during this tumultuous time. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to minimize your loved one’s changes of experiencing nursing home neglect or abuse.

Research Nursing Home Facilities Thoroughly

Oftentimes, a nursing home facility will look perfect on the outside but is actually quite inadequate on the inside. If you are considering placing a loved one in a nursing home, make sure to thoroughly research your options. Simply reading a brochure will not tell you everything you need to know about the facility. The Department of Veterans Affairs and Medicare issue ratings on the quality of nursing homes, but even these ratings may be skewed. The best way to find out about a nursing home facility is to visit the facility and talk to staff. If possible, it may also be a good idea to speak with other families with loved ones staying in the nursing home.

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Illinois nursing home abuse lawyersMost of us do not enjoy thinking about a time when we will be unable to care for ourselves or live alone. However, aging is a part of life. Many people will need round-the-clock care as they get older and some of those people will find themselves in a nursing home. In fact, a recent study suggests that more than half of Americans will stay in a nursing home at some point in their lives.

A team of researchers at the RAND Center for the Study of Aging looked at data collected over 18 years in the Health and Retirement Study—a projected funded by the U.S. Social Security Administration and the National Institute on Aging. The team found that, for the first time, more than 50 percent of seniors will need care from a nursing home or assisted-living facility at least once during their lifetime. The study pointed out that most nursing home stays are likely to be short and financially manageable. Only about 5 percent of adults are expected to spend 1500 days or more in a nursing facility.

The findings suggest a much higher percentage of people needing nursing home care than previously estimated. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 35 percent of Americans will need nursing home care in their lives. Regardless of which number ultimately proves to be true, the reality is that millions of Americans will spend time in a nursing home, potentially putting them at risk for abuse and mistreatment.

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Illinois nursing home abuse attorneysWhen most people consider nursing home neglect and abuse, they think of abuse and mistreatment at the hands of nursing home staff. However, this is not the only way that nursing home residents can be subject to verbal and physical harm. Sometimes, a nursing home resident can suffer severe maltreatment at the hands of another resident. Nursing home staff have a responsibility to supervise residents – especially residents who have a history of violent behavior. When a nursing home resident injures another resident, it is possible that the nursing home facility will be liable for the injuries.

Keeping Residents Safe From Other Residents

Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and other neurological conditions are common in nursing home residents. These diseases can make a resident confused and frightened. A resident who is typically a kind, nonviolent person may lash out at another resident in his or her confusion. Nursing home staff should carefully monitor residents and take every step possible to avoid resident confrontations. When nursing home staff fail to uphold their duty to properly supervise residents and a resident is harmed as a result, the staff or facility may be legally responsible for the damages caused.  The injured resident may be entitled to financial compensation for medical expenses incurred by the attack as well as compensation for physical pain and mental suffering.

Nursing Home Resident’s Death Ruled Homicide

Just recently, a 45-year-old man living in an Ohio nursing home died due to the shocking actions of another resident. The coroner has reported that the man’s death was caused by asphyxiation by smothering or strangulation. Another resident has been arrested on a preliminary murder charge for the man’s death.

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