Choosing a nursing home is one of the most difficult decisions you may have to make for an aging family member. It’s never easy to watch a loved one grow old and require long-term or round-the-clock care, but in many cases, the best way to help your elderly family members is to find a great nursing home that offers the medical and physical care they need, especially when you are unable to do so.
However, there’s a great deal of stigma that comes with nursing homes, due in no small part to the widespread reports of abuse and neglect in many facilities. This doesn’t mean that all nursing homes are bad places, but it does mean that when you look at particular facilities, and even after you’ve selected one, you should be on guard for any signs of abuse or neglect that is suffered by residents.
An important part of being able to spot instances or signs of nursing home misconduct is understanding the difference between abuse and neglect, and how signs of these two things may be evident in a nursing home resident.
Nursing home abuse occurs whenever someone deliberately takes actions that lead to harm or injury to a patient. The four main types of nursing home abuse are listed below, along with a brief description of how an abuser could be taking advantage of an elderly resident.
- Physical abuse. This could include hitting, punching, pushing, shoving, or any rough conduct that is intended to harm. Older patients are particularly vulnerable to physical abuse, because they cannot fight back or defend themselves. Signs of physical abuse often appear as unexplained bruises and injuries.
- Emotional abuse. This abuse is any negative or degrading language or treatment that is designed to erode a nursing home resident’s self-worth and emotional health. Be aware of any changes in mood or personality, as these could be signs of emotional abuse.
- Financial abuse. Because most nursing home residents live in the facilities full-time, caretakers may have access to their personal documents and records, and could use this access to steal money and other valuables. Financial abuse also occurs when someone tricks or threatens an older resident into giving them money and possessions.
- Sexual abuse. This includes any inappropriate conduct or sexual act forced on a resident. Signs of this could include blood on clothing, bruises, or other unexplained physical markers.
Neglect can be either passive or active, depending on the intent involved. In active neglect, the nursing home staff or facility itself actively fails to provide proper care for a resident. This could include keeping residents in unclean or unsafe rooms, failing to meet patients’ basic needs of food and water, and failing to provide proper medical care.
Passive neglect often occurs when facilities are understaffed, and can include forgetting to visit a patient, or forgetting to deliver medicine and food to a particular room. Both active and passive neglect involve not meeting a resident’s physical and emotional needs, and can have devastating consequences. Signs of neglect include poor hygiene, malnourishment, bedsores, and weight loss.
Take Action: Contact a Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Right Away
If your loved one has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, call your Chicago nursing home abuse attorney now. Nursing home abuse is a serious crime, and the team at Jackowiak Law Offices is ready to get you and your family members the compensation you deserve, and hold the abusers responsible.