Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Springfield Explain Your Rights and Options If You Suspect a Loved One is a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse in Illinois
Although most long-term care facilities and nursing homes appropriately care for our loved ones, unfortunately, statistics show a darker side. According to global statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1 in 6 individuals over the age of 60 will experience some form of abuse in the next year. In the United States, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) adjusts those statistics to 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60, however, they also add the caveat that only an estimated 1 in 24 cases are actually reported to authorities. Even though most people do not think that this could happen to their loved one, right here in Illinois it does happen; there are quarterly violation reports provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) that indicate troubling conduct in our local facilities. That’s why if you suspect a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse in Illinois, it could happen to you, and it is important that you take action right away and contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in Springfield like those at the Noll Law Office.
Unlike other nursing home abuse law firms, the Noll Law Office has compassionately represented victims and their families in many different types of serious or catastrophic personal injury cases. This includes nursing home abuse cases, wherein victims and their families have suffered permanent disability or been wrongfully killed by nursing home abuse, neglect, or other negligence in a nursing home or long-term care facility. Their experienced nursing home abuse lawyers in Springfield can help you and your family navigate the complex legal process, weighing your options and taking actions that can recover the compensation that you and your family deserve. To learn more about how the Noll Law Office can help you, contact them today to schedule a free case evaluation at (217) 414-8889.
Signs of Nursing Home Abuse
It is always troubling to think that a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. Thus, it is further difficult to even being to ask questions or challenge healthcare providers over the care of a loved one. But there are some signs that you may be able to rely on to detect abuse and neglect, which you can then go speak with law enforcement or an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer who can take over the investigation for you so that you can focus on your loved one.
Some of those warning signs include the following:
- Unexplained injuries, especially those that are “hidden” by clothing, such as on the upper thigh, inner arm, stomach, sides, or private areas where it is less likely to be detected
- Fire-based burn injuries (like a cigarette or lighter burns)
- Bruises, contusions, or related injuries
- Broken bones that are caused by repetitive falls (which can be a sign of abuse, such as pushing a resident down or mishandling them, but also a sign that a resident is a fall risk and their needs are not being met to prevent that, which is negligence on the nursing home’s part)
- Thermal burns, including “sock” burns which is when a person’s extremity is dipped into a very hot liquid which causes a continuous burn, or splatter burns, which are circles or blotches of thermal burns caused by a hot liquid being poured on or flung at a resident
- Pulled hair, chipped teeth, or bite wounds
- Withdrawal from a resident, including refusing to eat, drink, or engage in normal activities
- Depression or anxiety on behalf of a resident
- Inappropriate conduct that is uncharacteristic
- New STIs or injuries to private areas
- Blood on clothing, bedsheets, or towels
- Refusing to get out of bed or leave the room
- Lack of communication
- Poor hygiene including recurring infections, and
- Other troubling conduct, injuries, or behavior that should be investigated by an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer.
What Should I Do if I Suspect a Loved One is a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse in Illinois?
First and most importantly, if you suspect that a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse in Illinois which may result in imminent harm or death, call the police right away. Anytime the life of a loved one, or even for that matter any other resident at a nursing home, is in imminent harm, always call the police. Let them immediately take the appropriate action to protect the rights of a loved one or another resident. Do not delay.
But, as in the case of most instances of nursing home abuse and neglect, most times a resident is not in imminent harm of disabling injury or death. Rather, the abuse or neglect is continuous and, although causing extreme harm, it is unlikely a resident is going to be permanently disabled or wrongfully killed in the near future. However, it is important to understand that most instances of abuse continue to escalate and can get to that point, which is why it is important to take the next steps if you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect in Illinois.
Collecting Evidence to Support Your Case
As you begin to suspect that nursing home abuse and neglect may be occurring against your loved one, you should begin to document it. This includes discretely collecting evidence, such as the following:
- Photographs or videos of your loved one’s injuries
- Keeping a log journal of what you observed and what date
- Asking your loved one for any details that he or she can remember, and either video-recording it or keep it in a log book/journal
- Taking photographs of any damage to a room, clothing, or personal possessions
- If there are suspicious purchases or financial issues, gather that evidence too (financial abuse is very common and often is part of physical or emotional abuse)
- If possible, check visitor logs with your loved one to ensure that a third party is not signing in to see him or her under the false claim that they are a friend/family member
- Anytime you observe a dangerous condition at a facility (such as a cord out in the middle of the floor or an uncleaned spill), take a photograph of it and then report it
- Ask to review your loved one’s medical chart and information, if you have permission or power of attorney (which you should ask for from your loved one)
- When providers come into the room, take note of their names and write it down in a book, particularly if a loved one seems guarded, nervous, or concerned around them, even if your loved one will not tell you otherwise, and
- Continue to remain vigilant of your loved one’s care.
What to Do First If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse – Preferred Option
If you suspect nursing home abuse or neglect of a loved one, you have several options. Although you can submit a complaint or report to the Illinois Department of Public Health, which will conduct an investigation and come to a finding, that is not the best first step. Although this office is likely going to be a step in your process to obtain justice for a loved one, if you do not provide enough specifics or if the agency does not come to a favorable conclusion (often because of a lack of facts or information), that could actually harm your nursing home abuse case in Illinois.
Rather, the best first step is to speak with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer in Springfield. That’s because most personal injury law firms, like the Noll Law Office, will offer a free case evaluation and consultation. If they suspect abuse and think that you may have a case, their compassionate and trained staff may conduct a more thorough case review to determine what may be going on at your loved one’s facility.
If it turns out you do not have a case, or there may be insufficient evidence to prove the abuse or neglect, an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer can give you some advice on how to handle the situation. They may also give you some other warning signs that may be specific to your case to look out for, which could indicate nursing home abuse and neglect (and therefore you should contact them again). All of this is without any upfront cost to you, as even if the Noll Law Office investigates your case but ultimately does not accept it, there is no cost to you or your family. There is also no adverse report, like what could happen if you contact law enforcement or the Illinois Department of Public Health, which could affect your case because all case evaluations are private and confidential.
Call Our Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers in Springfield if You Suspect a Loved One is a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse in Illinois
Not only is nursing home abuse and neglect illegal and a tortious wrong, but it is also unethical and unacceptable. There is never a good excuse for nursing home abuse or neglect, and do not let a nursing home administrator, staff member, or facility-related staff member try to justify these wrongful actions. If you suspect that a loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse in Illinois, contact the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers in Springfield at the Noll Law Office for help today.