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Chicago nursing home abuse attorneysAccording to the National Center on Elder Abuse, financial abuse is the most pervasive type of elder abuse. Older individuals or those with mental or physical disabilities are often easily taken advantage of when it comes to finances. Unscrupulous caretakers, nursing home staff, or family members may steal or misuse an elder’s funds because they know the elderly person will not be able to report the abuse. Elder financial abuse should be a serious concern for those with loved ones in a nursing home.

Cognitive Impairment Due to Dementia or Alzheimer’s Puts Residents at Higher Risk of Being Exploited

Nursing home residents suffering from cognitive impairment are especially vulnerable to elder financial abuse. The abuser is usually someone the elderly or disabled person trusts such as a spouse, child, grandchild, or caretaker. Even professionals like financial planners, fiduciaries, and nursing home staff member have been caught defrauding or stealing from vulnerable residents in the past. In the majority of these types of cases, the victim of financial abuse does not even know he or she is being exploited.

Examples of Financial Abuse That Can Occur in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

Institutional financial abuse occurs when an institution such as a nursing home, assisted living facility, rehabilitation facility, or other healthcare organization purposely steals funds from a resident. Some nursing homes have been found guilty of overcharging residents for services in order to bring in more profit. Other examples of nursing home financial abuse include:

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Illinois nursing home neglect lawyersThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, in any given year, almost three-quarters of all nursing home residents suffer a fall. Furthermore, many of these patients fall more than once per year. While a slip and fall may not be injury-causing to a young, healthy person, seemingly minor falls can have serious consequences for someone whose body is weakened by illness, injury, or old age. Sadly, falls cause around 1,800 nursing home resident deaths each year.

What Causes Falls?

People staying in nursing homes generally are there because they are at least partially unable to care for themselves. For some residents, this is due to a mental incapacitation such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Other residents are recovering from major surgery or other invasive medical procedures. Many nursing home residents experience muscle weakness or gait problems. These factors can make a person much more likely to slip and fall. Sometimes, hazards such wet floors, incorrect bed height, poor lighting, and inadequate equipment further increase risks of falls.

CDC Says Many Falls Go Unreported

Approximately 36 percent of preventable emergency room visits by nursing home patients are caused by falls. An average-sized nursing home—one containing about 100 beds—generally reports about 100 to 200 falls a year. Unfortunately, the CDC says that this information may not accurately reflect the number of falls actually happening in nursing homes across the country. Realistically, many falls are never reported, so the real number is likely to be much higher.

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