Elder Abuse


Elder Abuse Takes Many Silent Forms

It is an unsettling fact that an elderly person can be neglected or abused in a nursing home or other convalescent facility. Nursing homes, by nature, are entrusted with the responsibility of caring for our elderly or infirm; people in situations where they cannot protect themselves.

Placing a loved one in a nursing home is an emotional experience, for the soon-to-be resident as well as the family who has to make a decision to entrust the well-being to the nursing home.

It’s a sad fact that nursing home negligence or abuse happens too often.

Illinois law helps protect residents against abuses or negligence occurring in nursing homes or other facilities that cater to take care of our elderly family members.

Illinois has passed the Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45). The Nursing Home Care Act creates a cause of action that residents (or their legal representatives) can use to seek compensation for injuries suffered at the hands of negligent or careless nursing homes. This Act is premised on the idea that nursing home residents have certain rights, and that injury caused as a violation of those rights are compensable. For instance, the Nursing Home Care Act recognizes such residents’ rights as:

  • Being free from neglect or abuse

  • The right to manage one’s finances

  • The right to private visit sand communication

  • The right to be treated by a physicians of your choosing

The resident is also entitled to sue under more common causes of action such as negligence, recklessness, international or negligent infliction of emotional distress, and even battery and assault. Some of these actions may even border on criminality.

There are certain things to look for and consider if you believe that a loved one is not being properly cared for by nursing home employees. Some signs of abuse are obvious, but many are more subtle or blatantly covered up. Consider the following patterns:

  • Unexpected agitation, emotional withdrawal, lack of interest in things or activities that a loved one used to enjoy

  • The onset of depression when it did not exist before

  • Unexplained weight loss, lack of interest in eating or drinking

  • Tripping, falling, or losing balance (especially if there is a pattern of this happening more than once

  • Bedsores

  • Suggestions from the nursing home staff that medication should be substitutes, changed or otherwise altered

  • Stolen or missing items

  • The lack of substantive information or documentation when quested by the resident or loved ones about the cause of the resident’s injury or change in situation

  • Complaints from your loved one that “something” happened but they can’t remember what it was; that they are unhappy, uncomfortable, or other cries for help or assistance.

The effects of a nursing home’s negligence can be devastating for the resident and their family. “Damages” can be everything from discomfort, to problems that will affect the individual for the rest of his or her life. Indeed, horrible cases resulting in death abound.

Kaplan Law Offices, P.C. is an experienced law firm with seasoned attorneys to appreciate the pain and turmoil a resident and his or her family goes through when faced with nursing home abuse or negligent. We can help.

There are limited time restrictions in filing a suit against a nursing home. Call us for a free consultation.

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