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Does Nursing Home Understaffing Increase the Risk of Abuse?

 Posted on September 30, 2022 in Nursing Home Abuse

cook county nursing home lawyerStudies show that a tragic number of vulnerable adults are abused or neglected in nursing homes across the country, and that the longer someone stays in a nursing home, the likelier they are to face abuse or neglect. When stories of nursing home abuse make headlines regularly, those with loved ones in residential care facilities may be wondering how such a thing can continue to happen. 

Unfortunately, the answer lies in a problem that currently plagues a large portion of the U.S. economy and hits caregiving occupations particularly hard: difficulty recruiting and retaining quality staff. When nursing homes have a hard time hiring enough staff to properly care for their residents, they often resort to hiring subpar candidates, overlooking criminal backgrounds, questionable work histories, or a lack of appropriate qualifications. Sadly - although perhaps, predictably - inadequate staffing results in higher rates of abuse and neglect

What Should I Do if I Think My Parent is Being Abused in a Nursing Home? 

Vulnerable nursing home residents often struggle to communicate when something is wrong, and it is those patients who have the hardest time communicating who may be at the highest risk of abuse. Because you know your parent or loved one better than anyone else, it is important to stay as present in their life as possible so you can be aware when they suffer from an inexplicable change in condition. 

If you notice any of the following in your loved one, you may need to take action right away: 

  • Serious injuries, like a broken hip, concussion, or another serious injury about which your loved one has no memory and for which the nursing home’s explanation seems implausible 

  • Bruises in places that are difficult to see, such as under clothes or on the back or arms or legs

  • Any sign of sexual assault, such as bloody underwear, injured genitals, or difficulty sitting or using the bathroom normally

  • A sudden, unusual sense of fear, anxiety, or depression 

  • An apparent fear of certain staff members 

  • Seeing or hearing staff members abuse other patients 

If you have observed one or more of these signs, or if you have seen something else and your gut tells you something is just “off,” follow your intuition and investigate further. You can and should do any of the following: 

  • Speak to other residents and their families

  • Take your loved one for an independent doctor’s examination 

  • Ask to meet with the nursing home administrator and ask questions about your concerns

  • If the nursing home is unresponsive, disinterested, or fails to take responsibility for an incident, you can contact the Illinois elder abuse Ombudsman

  • Hire a nursing home injury attorney who can collect evidence, pursue a thorough investigation, and, if abuse has occurred, take action on your loved one’s behalf against the nursing home

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Cook County Nursing Home Injury Lawyer

Finding out your loved one has been neglected because of poor staffing practices can leave you feeling angry, confused, and unsure of what to do next. If your loved one has been abused, these feelings may be heightened and you may also feel a sense of urgency to take action right away. At Schwartz Injury Law, our aggressive Chicago nursing home injury attorneys are ready to fight to take action against nursing homes that hire abusive or neglectful staff. Call us today at 312-535-4625 to schedule a consultation and find out more about how we can help. 




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