No one should ever be a victim of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) estimates that one in 10 people in the United States aged 60 and older have experienced some form of elder abuse.
Putting a loved one into a nursing home is a difficult decision, and you have every right to expect that the facility you chose will give them the attention and care they deserve. Unfortunately, too many nursing homes and long-term care facilities in Illinois fail to meet the standard of care required to keep their residents safe and healthy. This negligence or abuse could severely affect their mental and emotional health and, in the worst instances, could be fatal.
If you suspect your loved one is suffering from neglect or abuse in a nursing home or another elder care facility, it is crucial to act immediately. The Carlinville nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at the Noll Law Office understand that discovering that your loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, neglect, or malpractice can be a devastating experience. They are ready to listen to your story, answer your questions, and provide the guidance and support you need to make informed decisions. If they take your case, they will cover the litigation costs, and you will only be responsible for paying the legal fees if they help you recover compensation.
At the Noll Law Office, their attorneys are committed to helping families hold nursing accountable for their actions. To schedule your appointment and learn more about how they can help, call them today at (217) 414-8889.
Types of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Nursing home abuse can take many forms, including physical, emotional, and financial. Some of the most common types include:
- Improper Medical Care
- Resident Neglect
- Breach of Contract
- Resident-to-Resident Abuse
- Physical or Emotional Abuse
- Financial Exploitation
What Are the Common Causes of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect in Carlinville?
Nursing home abuse and neglect are serious issues in Carlinville and across Illinois. Some of the most common causes include:
- Understaffing – Understaffing is a persistent issue in nursing homes and can significantly compromise the quality of care provided to elderly residents. Inadequate staffing levels often lead to increased employee stress, decreased responsiveness to residents’ needs, and a higher likelihood of accidents, neglect, and abuse. Understaffing can be resolved by offering competitive compensation, hiring skilled caregivers, and maintaining appropriate staff-to-resident ratios.
- Undertraining – Another contributing factor to neglect and abuse is an undertrained staff. Staff who lack proper training might not have the knowledge or skill to manage medical conditions, respond to emergencies, and prevent accidents, ultimately putting residents at risk. To address undertraining, facility owners and managers must invest in comprehensive education and ongoing development programs for their staff, covering infection control, fall prevention, medication management, and other essential topics.
- Lack of Comprehensive Care Plans – Comprehensive care plans are crucial for ensuring quality care in nursing home facilities. These are living documents that outline each resident’s medical, social, and emotional needs. Comprehensive care plans are required by the Centers for Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to promote safety and protect against potential abuse or neglect in nursing home facilities.
Common Types of Nursing Home Injuries
Some of the most common types of nursing home injuries include:
Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are painful injuries that develop due to prolonged pressure on certain areas of the body, such as the back, hips, buttocks, or ankles. This condition is prevalent in patients with limited mobility, such as those confined to beds or wheelchairs. Bedsores can lead to serious infections and other complications if left untreated. Prevention includes regular repositioning, use of pressure-relieving surfaces, and proper skin care.
Dehydration and Malnutrition
Dehydration and malnutrition can seriously threaten the health and well-being of elderly residents. Overwhelmed staff, medical conditions affecting appetite, and cognitive decline commonly contribute to these problems. Nursing home managers should establish rigorous monitoring systems, provide individualized care plans, and promote open communication between healthcare providers, caregivers, and families to ensure the safety and well-being of the residents.
Falls – Fractures and Broken Bones
Nursing home residents are at increased risk of falling due to age, specific health conditions, and some medications. Elderly adults also have more porous bones, making fractures and bone breaks more common. Nursing homes should take measures to prevent falls by providing adequate supervision and assistance.
Head Injuries and Concussions
Head injuries and concussions are serious concerns for nursing home residents. An elderly adult could suffer a severe head injury in a slip, trip, fall, or another accident. The resulting injuries could result in lasting cognitive, physical, and emotional impairment. The risk of falls could be mitigated by taking preventative measures such as proper lighting, clutter-free environments, and regular monitoring. Prompt identification, assessment, and treatment of head injuries is also crucial.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that one to three million infections occur annually in long-term care facilities, resulting in up to 400,000 deaths annually. Proper hygiene, responsible wound care, and timely vaccinations are often crucial in preventing the spread of infections. Failure to prevent or treat infections could be grounds for an injury or malpractice claim.
Medication errors, such as incorrect dosages or dangerous drug interactions, are a serious risk to nursing home residents who might rely on multiple medications for chronic conditions. An error could result in an adverse reaction that could be fatal in the worst instances. To prevent medication errors, nursing homes must have comprehensive systems for medication management, including documentation, routine medication reconciliation, and ongoing staff education.
Back and Spine Injuries
Back, spine, and spinal cord injuries are often caused by falls, accidents, or improper handling of residents. These injuries could lead to chronic pain, limited mobility, and even paralysis. Prevention strategies include safe patient handling protocols, proper staff training, and environmental modifications.
Bed Rail Injuries
Although bed rails should keep residents from falling out of bed and injuring themselves, they could also cause injury or death if improperly installed or poorly maintained. Entrapment falls, and other accidents could result in bruises, fractures, and even life-threatening injuries. Proper bedrail selection, installation, maintenance, and alternative safety measures like lowered beds or floor mats could minimize the risk of these accidents.
What To Do If You Suspect Your Loved One Has Been a Victim of Abuse or Neglect
As a caring family member, it is crucial to be aware of the signs of abuse or neglect. When visiting your loved one, look for the following:
- Pressure ulcers or bedsores
- Sudden loss of weight or malnourishment
- Withdrawal from family or agitation
- Unexplained bodily harm like fractures, bruises, or sprains
- Frequent illnesses or infections
- Alterations in demeanor
- Interactions that are hostile or uncooperative
If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse, it’s crucial to take immediate action to ensure their safety. Depending on the situation, you may need to contact law enforcement to investigate the matter, since some instances of elder abuse and neglect will be criminal offenses.
To report nursing home abuse in Illinois, you can contact the Illinois Department of Aging or check the Illinois Department of Health website for a list of agencies that accept such reports. You can also reach the Central Complaint Registry Hotline by dialing (800) 252-4343. Please note that these agencies are not emergency responders, so if your loved one is in immediate danger, call 911.
Once the emergency is resolved, it’s important to seek assistance from a skilled and experienced Carlinville nursing home abuse lawyer. An attorney could advocate for you and your loved one throughout the process, guiding you through each step necessary to hold the responsible party or parties accountable for their actions. With the help of an attorney, you could seek justice and compensation for your loved one’s suffering and ensure that other vulnerable seniors are protected from similar abuse and neglect in the future.
How To Choose The Right Nursing Home Abuse Attorney to Handle My Case?
Selecting the best nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer can be challenging. Finding an attorney with experience with elder care laws, medical litigation, and negligence laws in Illinois is essential. Asking the right questions is crucial when choosing a nursing home abuse lawyer. Some key questions to consider are:
- How many years has the attorney been litigating nursing home cases, and will they personally handle your case, or will they delegate it to an associate attorney?
- Will the attorney explain medical records to you and assist you in filing an abuse and neglect complaint with an agency?
- How many depositions or trials has the attorney conducted?
- What percentage of the attorney’s practice is dedicated to nursing home abuse claims?
What is the Nursing Home Abuse Case Process?
If you suspect your loved one has been the victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, once they are safe you should contact an Illinois Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer like those at the Noll Law Office. Your lawyer will thoroughly investigate the situation, gathering evidence to show the extent of the wrongdoings and how they have affected the victim.
Your lawyer could file a demand letter and negotiate for a fair settlement that considers the losses the injured resident has incurred and will incur in the future (like medical treatment and rehabilitation for bedsores, broken bones, and other injuries, for example).
If a settlement cannot be reached, filing a lawsuit and seeking fair compensation in court may be necessary. Throughout the process, your attorney will provide guidance and support, answering any questions you may have and keeping you informed about your case’s progress. They will work tirelessly to obtain the compensation and justice you and your loved one deserve.
How Do I Know If I Have a Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect Case?
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45) provides legal rights and legal recourse to nursing home residents. This act applies to for-profit and non-profit facilities but excludes hospitals, childcare facilities, assisted living facilities, facilities operated by the federal government or the state of Illinois, and other excluded facilities.
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act addresses various issues, including licensing, enforcement, violations, and penalties, as well as the rights of residents, such as the right to be free from abuse and neglect, manage their finances, choose their doctor, access their medical records, refuse medical treatment, and more.
Understanding the signs of nursing home abuse is crucial for protecting elderly citizens who may have trouble speaking up about their mistreatment. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can make it even more difficult for them to communicate about abuse. However, knowing the common signs can help keep your loved ones safe.
Look for signs of physical injuries, such as unexplained bruises, broken bones, head injuries, and bedsores. Neglect could result in poor hygiene, soiled bedding, dehydration or malnourishment, and medication errors. Emotional changes like sudden personality shifts, agitation, withdrawal, fear, and frequent crying can also indicate poor treatment.
If you suspect your loved one is suffering from nursing home abuse, take immediate action to protect them.
How The Noll Law Office Will Help
Over the years, the attorneys at the Noll Law Office have provided compassionate and aggressive representation for nursing home abuse victims and their families. The firm has successfully represented clients throughout Central Illinois against some of the largest nursing homes and insurance carriers. With a proven track record of success, the Noll Law Office is dedicated to upholding the rights of victims and their families even when facing powerful adversaries.
Unlike other law firms that prioritize marketing over client care, attorneys Daniel Noll and Sarah Noll personally handle each case they take. They investigate claims thoroughly, provide compassionate counsel, and fight aggressively for their clients at the negotiating table and in court. They understand the devastating impact of nursing home abuse and neglect on victims and their families and are committed to seeking the full and fair compensation they deserve.
The initial consultation is always free, and you won’t pay anything for their services unless and until they win your case. You can trust the experienced nursing home abuse lawyers at the Noll Law Office to be your advocates, so call them today at (217) 414-8889 to discuss your case without any risk or obligation.