Schwartz Injury Law


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

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shutterstock_1062952382.jpgAs our bodies age, the internal and external tissues become more fragile and can get damaged more easily. When compounded with mobility issues, bruising and other superficial injuries are often commonly seen on elderly Illinois nursing home patients, even when they receive the best care. However, persistent bruises that seem to be in odd places may be a sign that something more serious is going on. 

While it is hard to imagine someone deliberately abusing an elderly nursing home resident, such unfortunate incidents do happen. It is important for friends and family members who have a loved one in a residential care facility to be on the alert for strange or suspicious bruising, fractures, or other unexplained injuries. If you are worried that your loved one may be suffering from physical abuse, it is important to take action right away. 

Injuries of Unknown Source

Nursing homes and other residential care facilities are required by federal law to document injuries sustained by their patients. If an injury was allegedly not observed or cannot be explained by nursing home staff, it is considered an “injury of unknown source.” Nursing homes must also include details describing where the injury occurred, how severe the injury was, and whether there was more than one injury discovered at once or whether the injuries seem to occur in a pattern over an extended period of time. 


shutterstock_701470849.jpgIllinois nursing home residents are often elderly, sick, and particularly susceptible to abuse or victimization from staff who claim to restrain residents who are a threat to their own safety. While there is no question that some nursing home residents may be unable to safely control their movements and could accidentally hurt themselves or others, there are safe and appropriate ways to use restraints. When restraints or restraining techniques are improperly used, they can be dangerous to patients. It is important to understand how and when nursing home facilities should use restraints so you can be on the alert for potential abuse of your loved one. 

Common Types of Physical Restraint in Nursing Homes

Physical restraints can vary and depend on the particular issue that a resident is having. They may be devices, materials, or equipment that is near or attached to a patient’s body that is not easily removed. Common types of restraints include: 

  • Soft ties


chicago nursing home abuse lawyerWhen a family has to decide whether to put a beloved and respected elder in a nursing home, it is often a heartbreaking and difficult choice. A family must place enormous trust in a residential care facility’s ability to provide medical care, physical safety, financial security, and a healthy daily routine for a parent or grandparent. 

Unfortunately, nursing home staff do not always treat residents with dignity and respect. Understaffed and overstressed employees often do not have the time or the energy to monitor every patient sufficiently and it can be easy for an abused patient’s symptoms or complaints to go unnoticed. This is especially true when a patient suffers from dementia or another condition that makes it hard to speak or discuss a problem in detail. It is essential for the families of nursing home residents to be aware of signs of physical abuse so if it is present, it can be stopped and justice can be pursued with the help of a nursing home abuse attorney. 

Signs of Nursing Home Physical Abuse 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services considers elder abuse to be intentional or negligent behavior that causes harm to a vulnerable adult. Research suggests that victims of elder abuse are more than two times as likely to die prematurely compared to people who do not suffer from elder abuse. 


chicago nursing home injury lawyerSome Illinois nursing home residents have difficulty breathing by themselves. Many medical respiratory issues can cause breathing difficulties, such as pneumonia, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Traumatic brain injuries and degenerative brain disease can also make independent breathing difficult. When a patient in a nursing home struggles to breathe independently, intubation may be necessary.  

Putting a plastic tube into a patient’s airway, or intubation, is a fairly common procedure. But the sensitive tissue in human airways means medical staff must exercise caution when inserting, removing, or adjusting the tube. Sometimes improperly administered breathing tubes can cause serious enough damage that a patient can die. If someone you love has been hurt or killed by a breathing tube injury in their nursing home, you may want to speak with an attorney. 

What are Common Injuries Resulting From Breathing Tubes? 

Breathing tube injuries are most likely to happen in an emergency when medical staff have to act with urgency and complicating factors may already be present. But even during standard procedures, serious injuries may result. They include, but are not limited to: 


Cook County Nursing Home Injury LawyerWhen nursing home residents cannot urinate on their own, often due to mobility or medical issues, catheters may be used. A urinary, or foley, catheter is a small, thin tube made of soft and flexible material that is inserted into the bladder via the urethra to collect a patient’s urine. While catheters can be very useful, they are not without risks. 

Unfortunately, nursing home staff will sometimes improperly administer catheters. Whether due to understaffing, undertrained staff, or unnoticed catheter-related complications, catheters can quickly place a patient at serious risk of infection and in need of further treatment. If you believe your loved one has been injured by a catheter due to nursing home abuse or neglect, an experienced Illinois nursing home injury attorney may be able to help. 

Safe Catheter Use is Essential

While the idea of a catheter might be uncomfortable to think about, it is essential for families of nursing home patients to understand how appropriate catheter use looks and functions. That way, if something is wrong, family and other loved ones may be able to identify symptoms of catheter complications. Nursing home staff are expected to use the following procedures: 

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