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Schwartz Injury Law

312-535-4625

60 W. Randolph Street, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60601

5 Convenient Locations - Available 24/7 - We can travel to you

Chicago nursing home fractures attorneyOne of the hardest parts of having a loved one in a nursing home is that you cannot always be present to monitor the quality of care your loved one is receiving. You may worry about the safety standards at your loved one’s nursing home or wonder how often they are understaffed. You may see horrific news stories depicting physical or sexual abuse of nursing home residents and fear the same thing happening to your loved one. When your loved one suffers a broken bone, you may wonder, “Are fractures a sign of nursing home neglect or abuse?”

Cause of Resident Broken Bones and Fractures

Falling becomes a greater and greater hazard the more we age. Disabilities that impair mobility or vision and injuries to the feet can further increase the risk of falling. The CDC reports that one out of every five fall accidents results in a serious injury. Broken bones are a common result of nursing home fall accidents. Not every fall is a product of nursing home negligence or wrongdoing of some kind. However, there are many ways in which nursing home negligence may lead to a fall accident, including:

  • Negligent supervision or failure to properly watch staff for signs that they need help
  • Environmental Hazards such as cluttered walkways or loose electrical cords that present a slip and fall or trip and fall risk
  • Inadequate safety measures including lack of handrails, grab bars, and sufficient lighting
  • Inadequate staff training including insufficient training on how to safely transfer a patient in and out of bed or a wheelchair
  • Improper use of sedatives or psychiatric medication
  • Medication mistakes including administering too much or too little medication

Falls are not the only causes of broken bones and fractures in nursing home residents, but they are, by far, the most common. Falling may also be caused by:

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Chicago nursing home abuse attorneysIf you or your loved one were harmed by substandard care at a nursing home, you may be able to bring a civil action against the facility. A nursing home lawsuit may enable you to pursue justice for the maltreatment and seek financial compensation for damages. Substandard medical care, neglect, and intentional abuse may lead to a nursing home lawsuit. A personal injury attorney experienced in nursing home negligence and abuse cases can file a claim on your behalf and represent you throughout your case.

Do All Nursing Home Injury Claims Go to Trial?

If you are like most people, you probably do not know much about what a civil claim against a medical facility entails. You may even assume that all nursing home injury claims result in a courtroom trial. In reality, only a small percentage of nursing home negligence claims end up going to trial. Most are settled during out-of-court negotiations. A nursing home injury attorney can negotiate with the nursing home’s legal team on your behalf and fight for a satisfactory settlement.

What Do I Need to Prove to Be Successful?

There are several types of nursing home claims. The most common is a claim that alleges negligence on the part of the nursing home facility or staff. To win a negligence-based claim, you will need to show that:

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Illinois nursing home abuse attorneysNursing home residents deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. Sadly, some nursing home residents suffer abuse and neglect at the hands of the very people who are supposed to protect them. Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many different forms, and it is often difficult to recognize. Some residents stay silent about nursing home neglect and abuse because they fear retaliation. Others are uninformed of their rights and do not recognize that the poor treatment they are receiving is against the law. Residents with impaired cognition caused by dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease may be unable to report instances of neglect and abuse. For these reasons, it is important for everyone with a loved one in a nursing home facility to be watchful for signs of neglect and abuse.

Physical Abuse Symptoms in a Nursing Home

The most obvious signs of physical abuse in a nursing home are bruises, cuts, scrapes, and other injuries. However, many nursing home residents are frail or in poor health. They may bruise easily or receive minor injuries from everyday tasks. Not every injury is a sign of nursing home abuse, however, minor injuries like these are often the first sign of mistreatment in a nursing home. Residents may suffer from intentional abuse or they may be injured because staff were negligent when caring for the resident. If your loved one has an injury, staff should be willing to discuss the injury with you. If staff seem defensive or are uninterested in determining the cause of an injury, this may be a sign that they are hiding something.

Sadly, some nursing home residents are victims of sexual abuse. When an elderly or disabled person experiences impaired cognition, they are not able to give consent to sexual activities. Victims of sexual abuse may become withdrawn, fearful, and anxious. They may avoid certain staff members and exhibit behavioral and mood changes. Bruises and other injuries near the breasts and genitals, blood in a resident’s underwear, and sexually transmitted infections may all be signs of sexual abuse.

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Illinois nursing home injury attorneysNursing home residents deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. Whether they need help with managing medical conditions or daily living tasks, nursing home staff have a moral responsibility and a legal obligation to provide the assistance they need. Federal and state laws set the standards nursing homes must meet as well as the rights nursing home residents must be afforded. 

In Illinois, the Nursing Home Care Act governs the rights that nursing home residents have by law. If a nursing home violates these important resident rights, the facility may face civil claims and other legal consequences.

Nursing Home Resident Rights in Illinois

Illinois adopted the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (NHCA) after serious concerns about residents’ safety and wellbeing were voiced. The legislation contains a resident “bill of rights” that gives residents the right to:

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IL nursing home lawyerIf you have ever moved your parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or other loved one into a nursing home facility, you know just how tough it can be. Leaving a family member in the care of a nursing home means trusting the staff at the facility to provide your loved one with the compassionate daily care and medical attention he or she needs. The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and other legislation requires nursing homes to provide a certain degree of quality medical and basic needs care. Unfortunately, staffing issues often lead to substandard care, neglect, and even abuse.

Understaffing Can Lead to Insufficient Supervision and Other Dangerous Neglect

One issue that Illinois nursing homes and facilities across the country have dealt with for years is understaffing. Numerous studies have shown that many nursing homes are chronically understaffed. A study that analyzed over 14,000 nursing homes showed that staffing also fluctuated dramatically from day-to-day. When there are not enough staff to adequately supervise residents, the risk of dangerous wandering and elopement increases substantially. Understaffing may also lead to missed medication, dehydration, malnutrition, bedsores, and a host of other problems.

Inadequate Staff Training Can Cause Needless Suffering

Another issue in many nursing homes is inadequate staff training. A nursing home staff member needs to know how to safely move residents from their beds to their wheelchairs, dispense medication, help residents who have trouble eating or toileting, and much more. When staff are not properly trained, they may make mistakes that lead to significant resident injury or even death. The families of residents who are injured or killed as a result of insufficient staff training or understaffing may bring personal injury claims or wrongful death lawsuits against the facility.

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