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Schwartz Injury Law

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Cook County Nursing  Home Abuse LawyerDementia affects over 55 million people across the globe. The illness causes reduced cognitive function, confusion, changes in personality, and altered mood. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for about 70 percent of dementia cases.

Individuals suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease not only must deal with the physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of the illness, they are also at increased risk of abuse in a nursing home.

Abusers Target Nursing Home Residents Who Are Vulnerable

Taking care of sick and elderly residents in a nursing home takes a great deal of compassion and resiliency. It is not an easy job. Sadly, some people take these jobs for the wrong reasons. Individuals who hope to exploit or take advantage of vulnerable people may even seek out nursing home positions because it gives them access to individuals in poor mental and physical health. This is one reason that it is so essential for nursing homes to properly vet job applicants through background checks and references. Any nursing home resident can find himself or herself the victim of abuse or neglect. However, residents with cognitive decline caused by dementia may be less likely to report the mistreatment due to communication barriers and confusion.

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Cook County Personal Injury LawyerNursing home facilities and other long-term care facilities take care of our loved ones when they can no longer take care of themselves. Many nursing home residents have dementia, heart disease, and other age-related illnesses that will eventually take their life. However, some nursing home residents pass away prematurely because of substandard care in the nursing home. If your loved one died in a nursing home because of abuse or neglect, you may be able to hold the facility accountable through a wrongful death claim.  

Nursing Home Resident Deaths Caused By Neglect or Abuse

Staff in a nursing home facility have an obligation to provide skilled care to residents. Sadly, some nursing homes fail to meet the expectations anticipated by loved ones and required by Illinois law. Nursing home neglect or abuse can take many forms and may result in serious injury or death of a resident.

Wrongful death claims involving death of a nursing home resident may involve:

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Chicago Nursing Home Abuse LawyerNursing homes should be places of safety and refuge for elderly and disabled people. Sadly, many nursing homes do not live up to these standards. Many different issues can lead to nursing home neglect and abuse. Negligent hiring policies, insufficient vetting of applicants, and insufficient training are three serious issues that increase the chances of a nursing home employee harming a resident.

Substandard Hiring Practices Can Lead to Abuse of Nursing Home Residents

Nursing home employees have the important job of caring for our loved ones when they can no longer care for themselves. Residents in a nursing home are often frail and in ill health. Many suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other cognitive diseases. Residents may not always be able to advocate for themselves and this puts them in a very vulnerable position. Consequently, the need for responsible, competent, compassionate staff can hardly be overstated.

Some nursing homes cut corners when hiring and training staff. They fail to perform a criminal background check or overlook red flags that could make a staff member more likely to abuse a resident. Nursing homes may also fail to perform drug tests or follow through with personal and professional references. These types of mistakes can lead to unqualified or even malicious staff working around vulnerable nursing home residents.

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nursing home injury lawyerWith the consent and involvement of the person in question, a family must often make the difficult decision to move a parent, grandparent, or other loved one into an Illinois nursing home. People may move into nursing homes for many reasons, including complex health problems that require consistent monitoring and assistance. Families may not have the knowledge or availability to provide care for an elderly loved one and a residential care facility may be the best option. 

Because residents of nursing homes are generally elderly and often in poor health, additional conditions can be expected to appear during their stay. Nursing home staff should be alert and prepared to notice and diagnose further conditions, including physical injuries and mental deterioration. But when nursing home staff is undertrained, overworked, or negligent, serious conditions like Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders may go undiagnosed. Failure to diagnose serious neurological conditions can lead to patients getting abused, wandering away, getting seriously hurt, and even dying

Symptoms of Dementia in Illinois Nursing Home Residents 

Dementia can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms often come on slowly and may be confused with general memory loss due to aging. However, common symptoms of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia include: 

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chicago nursing home abuse lawyerElderly residents of nursing home facilities often struggle with conditions that make it difficult to communicate. Dementia, confusion, weakened muscles in the mouth and throat, and illness or exhaustion can all challenge a patient’s ability to speak clearly and articulate what they are feeling. One unfortunate consequence of this is that patients may be suffering from pain or fever and be unable to let their caregivers know. 

Nursing home staff must be acutely aware of their patients’ condition and be on the alert for signs that something may be amiss. But when staff are overworked, undertrained, or if the nursing home’s resident-to-staff ratio is too high, serious problems may be left unnoticed. One particularly dangerous risk is an infection that becomes septic. Even if an infection is known, it can worsen and spread, presenting a potentially lethal danger to a resident. Recognizing and treating sepsis early is essential for preventing serious health consequences, up to and including death. 

Sepsis and Common Nursing Home Conditions

Sepsis is a condition caused by an infection that triggers an inappropriate full-body immune response. It requires immediate treatment to prevent tissue damage, major organ failure, and death. Sepsis can often be prevented through proper healthcare, but senior nursing home residents are at particular risk of developing sepsis because they often have catheters, bedsores, ulcers, multiple minor skin injuries, and other issues that make the development and spread of bacteria common. Their immune systems are often weakened and can be easily overwhelmed by bacteria that would present little or no challenge to a healthy body. 

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