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Illinois nursing home abuse attorneysIt is estimated that just under half of the U.S. population will live in a nursing home at some point in their lives. However, widespread issues like understaffing and inadequate staff training continue to plague care facilities across the country. Tragically, some nursing home residents are even intentionally harmed by the very people who are supposed to protect them. Research shows that elderly and disabled individuals living in long-term care facilities like nursing homes are at an increased risk of physical abuse as compared to those who live at home. If you suspect that your loved one was abused, do not wait to take action.

Spotting Nursing Home Resident Abuse is Often Difficult

Residents being slapped, punched, pinched, or otherwise intentionally physically harmed is a direct violation of state and federal law. No resident should have to put up with this type of mistreatment and the facilities that allow such behavior should be held accountable for these despicable actions. Unfortunately, the nature of many illnesses afflicting elderly people makes it hard to recognize when a resident is being abused. Dementia and other illnesses affecting memory and cognition can prevent residents from reporting abuse. False accusations of abuse may result from residents who become confused or paranoid due to Alzheimer’s disease and other medical conditions. Nevertheless, every allegation of abuse should be treated as if it were true and investigated thoroughly.

What Can I Do If My Loved One Was Abused?

If your loved one was abused while living at a nursing home, take immediate steps to protect his or her safety. Next, consider your legal options. Nursing home staff may face criminal charges for intentionally harming a resident, however, the criminal justice system is not the only legal avenue available to you. A civil lawsuit against the nursing home facility may also allow you to hold the nursing home answerable for abusing your loved one. Furthermore, a nursing home injury lawsuit may prevent similar behavior at the facility in the future. You or your loved one may also be entitled to financial compensation for the damages resulting from the physical abuse. Compensation for additional medical bills caused by the resident’s injury as well as compensation for your loved one’s pain and suffering may be available. If your loved one passed away because of the abuse, compensation for funeral and burial expenses may be available.

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IL abuse lawyerNursing home abuse and neglect are tragically commonplace in Illinois and across the United States. It is difficult to know for sure the exact number of nursing home residents who are victims of abuse because many residents are unable to report the mistreatment they suffer. However, in one study, 44 percent of nursing home residents surveyed reported being abused while living in the facility. If you have a loved one living in a rehabilitation facility, assisted living facility, or nursing home, it is important to be vigilant for signs of abuse and neglect.

Physical Abuse Can Leave Physical and Mental Scars

It is hard to imagine someone hitting, pinching, kicking, or otherwise intentionally harming an elderly or disabled person, but physical abuse does happen in some long-term care facilities. Some nursing home staff become frustrated or angry when residents do not comply with orders or are otherwise obstinate. They may intentionally hurt the resident as a form of “punishment.” Unexplained bruises, lacerations, or other signs of trauma, as well as psychological symptoms like fear and anxiety, may be signs that a resident is begin physically assaulted. In some cases, the perpetrators of physical abuse are other residents at the facility.

Mental or Psychological Abuse Can Be Just as Harmful as Physical Abuse

Psychological, emotional, or mental abuse can be just as damaging to a resident’s wellbeing as physical violence. Examples of emotional abuse include mocking a resident, intentionally scaring a resident, embarrassing a resident, disallowing reasonable privacy, and other actions intended to demoralize or upset a resident. Recognizing mental abuse can often be tricky. Residents who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other cognitive illnesses may become confused and accuse innocent staff of abusive or threatening behavior. However, it is essential to fully investigate any claim of mistreatment.

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Illinois nursing home abuse attorneysResearch shows that nursing home abuse and is startlingly common across the United States. It is hard to believe that anyone would be intentionally cruel to an elderly or disabled person—let alone someone the individual has been assigned to care for—but it does happen. Sadly, many instances of abuse go unreported because residents are not physically or cognitively capable of reporting the mistreatment. If your loved one is living in a long-term care facility, you may worry about whether he or she is being treated with the care and respect he or she deserves. There are several warning signs that families should be on the lookout for that could indicate that their loved one is being harmed in a nursing home.

Red Flags of Physical Abuse and Sexual Abuse

Although many studies have been conducted to better understand nursing home abuse, the true extent of the problem is still unknown. In one survey, 44 percent of nursing home residents reported being abused at a facility, and 38 percent reported witnessing other residents being abused. Physical abuse includes kicking, hitting, punching, slapping, and other acts of physical violence. Sexual abuse includes unwanted sexual contact, sexual assault, and indecent exposure.

Some warning signs that a nursing home resident is being physically or sexually abused include:

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Illinois nursing home abuse attorneysIf you have a loved one who is currently living in a nursing home, you expect that the facility will provide a high level of care based on your loved one’s needs. Many nursing home residents, as you probably know, are already dealing with a wide range of physical, mental, or behavioral conditions that necessitate the around-the-clock care that nursing homes provide. For some residents, however, things are made even more difficult. Sadly, physical abuse is not unheard of in nursing homes, and such abuse can be extremely serious.

Physical Abuse by Staff Members

It is no secret that staffing is a problem in many nursing homes. Chronic understaffing has long been associated with significant drops in employee morale, as well as concerns regarding proper training and patient care protocols. In short, far too many nursing homes are left with staff members who are overworked, underpaid, and, often, ill-equipped to handle their patients. Unfortunately, some staff members take their frustrations out on their patients.

According to research compiled by the National Center on Elder Abuse, more than 50 percent of nursing home staff admitted to the mistreatment of their elderly patients. While two-thirds of these admissions reportedly involved neglect, this still means that about 17 percent admitted to physically mistreating patients under their care.

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